Directors: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett
Starring: Melissa Barrera, Jenna Ortega, Jack Quaid, Dylan Minnette, Mason Gooding, Jasmin Savoy Brown, Mikey Madison, Sonia Ben Ammar, Marley Shelton, Courteney Cox, David Arquette, and Neve Campbell
Movie length: 1 hour 54 minutes
Like the original Scream, this installment isn’t shy about acknowledging what it is doing. The events of the first movie were made into a movie (called Stab), which became a franchise (that got played out) and the characters constantly talk about it. They aren’t ‘in the movie’ but they are able to talk and act like they are, because Ghostface basically follows the established movie rules.
Aside from its meta commentary, the Scream series, this one included, feels different than other horror movies because it doesn’t take itself too seriously without veering into pure parody. It knowingly uses jump scares (thankfully no cats knock things over, which is way overused), but also uses the knowledge that we know about jump scares to hit us with some epic non-jump scares, sometimes repeatedly until there is finally a jump scare. The cinematography in these scenes is very well done, with perfect camera placement. Scream is more fun than other horror movies because it is a mystery beyond how everyone gets killed. This movie is loaded with hints, misdirections, and red herrings. Finally, there are some genuinely funny moments in the movie, which feels odd given how violent it is.
The acting is solid enough to ensure you care about many (but not all) of the characters, which I find to be essential to enjoying a slasher movie. Neve Cambpell slides back into the role of Sidney Prescott like a comfortable sweater and David Arquette puts in a good performance. Ghostface is an interesting villain because he lacks supernatural powers and he has a great creepy voice. Generally, the Ghostface killer is just someone who is obsessed with Sidney Prescott’s story and wants to stab a bunch of people as opposed to someone who seemingly can’t be killed (I’m looking at you Halloween).
Scream isn’t perfect, but it is a worthy addition to the series, Horror fans will like it and will appreciate the commentary on horror movies and franchises in general. I don’t think you need to have seen all four previous films, but I do recommend seeing the original before watching this one (If you saw it years ago, that should suffice. This movie is rated R for good reason. There’s plenty of cursing, tons of stabbing (and you really see it), and gallons of blood. There is no end credits scene.
If you’d like to hear my review of the movie with Tracey in podcast form, here is the latest episode of Through the Lens: https://anchor.fm/darren-shulman/episodes/Scream-Review-e1cu5g2
Scream is now playing in theaters in the United States.
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