Scream ★½

Risible. Scream for the Netflix algorithm by way of The CW. I enjoyed Ready or Not, but these are absolutely the wrong directors for this franchise. One of my biggest gripes with Ready or Not in retrospect is how Matt Bettinelli-Olpin & Tyler Gillett did not utilize the architecture and geography of the house to create set-pieces and instead made the lazy choice to take the narrative outside, and their inability to properly establish spatial geography especially sticks out like a sore thumb here given a huge reason why the set-pieces in this franchise are so effective is because of Wes Craven’s eye for atmosphere and geography.

But as much as the absence of Craven is felt, even more felt is the absence of writer Kevin Williamson. Not only was everything this attempts to do already done with far more precision and thoughtfulness in SCRE4M, but the writing in this is utter dogshit and completely lacks bite, instead opting for toothless lines of dialogue (“Elevated Horror!,” “Mary Sue!,” *references to Rian Johnson and 4chan!*) you’d find in a thread of tweets. It’s a film that wants to criticize the idea of a legasequel while falling into nearly all of the exact same trappings. Even worse is the new characters — including Sam Carpenter, the film’s lead — have all the interiority of cardboard, which is a big problem considering Sidney Prescott and co. are hardly in the film. This is not helped by Melissa Barrera’s inability to act, and no, it’s not just her character because she was not good in IN THE HEIGHTS either.

Not without merit, including a terrific performance from Jenna Ortega (phenomenal in THE FALLOUT, which is streaming on HBO Max), some cool kills, and despite being frustratingly underutilized, it’s certainly nice to see Neve Campbell in this role again, but this is overall dire and easily worst Scream entry. If this is really the creative team continuing the Scream franchise from here, then yikes.

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