Sunday, October 8, 2023


Movie Name:
Year of Release: 2022
Director: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett
Starring: Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette, Melissa Barrera, Jenna Ortega, Jack Quaid, Mikey Madison, Jasmin Savoy Brown, Mason Gooding, Sonia Ammar, Marley Shelton, Dylan Minnette, Skeet Ulrich, Kyle Gallner, Chester Tam, Heather Matarazzo, Reggie Conquest, Brooke Barnhill
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 5
Watch it on Amazon

Synopsis and Review
After the unexpected success of their feature "Ready or Not" (which featured Samara Weaving and Andie MacDowell), the directing team of Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett got tasked with bringing this new iteration of the franchise to the screen. The script comes courtesy of the underrated James Vanderbilt (who wrote the script for David Fincher's superb "Zodiac", but also the scripts for Marc Webb's take on "Spider Man") and also Guy Busick who worked with the directors previously on "Ready or Not". The narrative takes place twenty-five years after the original killings in Woodsboro. Tara Carpenter, herself a high school student, is home alone when she's attacked by Ghostface, which she barely survives. Her oldest sister Sam, who lives in Modesto, is informed of what happened by one of Tara's friends, and decides to come visit Tara alongside her boyfriend. Sam has an encounter with Ghostface in the hospital when she's visiting Tara. She tells Tara the reason she left town is due to uncovering the truth of who her father actually was, Billy Loomis, one of the original killers. Sam and her boyfriend visit Dewey who has since divorced Gale and is no longer working for the police. They ask for his help which he reluctantly agrees to. The high schoolers friends of Tara, alongside Sam, her boyfriend and Dewey figure out the logic behind Ghostface's approach, and what's the plan for tying this new generation with the original targets of the killing spree. However this understanding doesn't prevent Ghostface from attacking again, this time around killing Dewey. His death brings Sidney back to town, but Ghostface remains undaunted, and as Sam, Tara and Richie attempt to leave town, the last surprises may still be left to be uncovered.
With the passing of Wes Craven, the torch of the "Scream" franchise went to a different creative team, with this film in particular losing a bit of the humor, filmic references, and high school context that have been a staple for the series. This new version of "Scream" ties its DNA to the characters of the original series, but at this point just barely, while weaving a plot that once again places an array of disposable characters at the mercy of a brutal killer who stops at nothing to achieve its goals. While Sidney, Gale and Dewey still bring the depth and gravitas to the series, their presence is now largely supporting to this array of new characters who are once again somewhat truncated in terms of personality and motivation, though some of them are seemingly impervious to the worst punishment you can inflict upon them. The film lacks some of the mix of dark humor and violence Wes Craven was so good at staging, with this particular chapter falling more under a slasher type of feature, more so than any of the previous chapters who referenced that precise type of film genre. It's a film that doesn't necessarily add much to the mythology of the series, and by pushing its central characters to the background, it also removes much of the emotional connection the series actually had with its audience. The cast tries their best at keeping the momentum going, with Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette continuing to bring a layer of maturity and weariness to their characters, while the newest generation sadly does not have quite as much to work with. The production team is solid, in particular Brett Jutkiewicz's cinematography. It's a watchable, though minor installment in the series.