Dan Holford’s review published on Letterboxd:
“No one’s made a good Stab movie since the first!”
I think Scream might now be my favourite horror franchise? It’s certainly the most consistent at the very least. Another ten years since the previous movie in the franchise, and another ten years for the makers of the film to decide what to lampoon next. This time it’s ‘requels’, poking fun at movies that use nostalgia to hide unoriginality, thankfully while it is full of nostalgia, it feels more like a loving homage that helps add to the story than take away. It certainly helps that I’ve watched the others in the franchise in the space of a week, it made this one feel like nice icing on the cake.
The first of the movies to not be helmed by Wes Craven, instead directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpen and Tyler Gillett. It’s clear that they have a lot of love for Craven’s movies, slotting in their own ideas and originality while also allowing the references to the past be plentiful. The mystery, while closely ties to that original movie, still pulls the rug at times, plenty of twists and turns to the story, and a reveal that still came as unexpected to me. There’s some good direction here, none more so than when the smaller moments of horror/slasher that comes in play. A great building of tension, leading to atmospheric moments before brilliantly realised kills. The more practical effects here making each kill feel brutal.
The film never loses its self aware charm. It’s so utterly self aware that it’s almost breaking the fourth wall at times. Having ten more years of modern horror and new tropes to tease and play around with. That meta commentary of belated sequels and how fans react to their favourite childhood movies coming back for reboots is fun to play with. The fact that this film plays out like Scream’s version of The Force Awakens shouldn’t work, but it absolutely does. Keeping the referential humour a high point, but never forgetting to fall back into the horror elements when needed, there’s a good balance struck between both.
The combination of familiar faces from the original, coming together with a cast of new characters works better here than the other sequels. This new cast are likeable, mostly well established and developed, and add to the story. We’re not totally focussing around Sidney this time around, she’s a big factor, but not the driving force. It’s still fun to see Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox and the ever lovable David Arquette still all be on top form, but the film doesn’t let them outshine the new cast. Melissa Barrera, Jack Quaid, Jenna Ortega, all these fresh faces add some fresh feeling to the movie, and every one of them is excellent in their roles. The villain is super fun here too, with perhaps the most meta motives imaginable, but the film sticks with it and it works.
I really liked this one a lot, an extremely fun slasher movie. Another sequel that sticks the landing and manages to be a meta comedy and also rather tense, and interesting mystery. Can’t wait to revisit this one alongside the others in another ten years when the inevitable Scream 6 appears!