'Scream': a remarkable fifth installment that expands and honors the legacy of the legendary Ghostface franchise

The first ‘Scream’ may be liked more or less, but what no one can argue with is that it was a revolution for horror films in Hollywood, causing a brief resurgence of the slasher, a subgenre that had swept through the 80s. Wes Craven y Kevin Williamson managed not to disappoint with ‘Scream 2’, but the third installment noted the absence of the writer and the saga seemed to die there.

We had to wait 11 years for the first attempt to revive it, still with Craven behind the scenes and with Williamson again taking care of writing it. ‘Scream 4’, a very estimable continuation that, unfortunately, was as successful as expected. That left us without a fifth installment with them back at the controls, which became impossible after Craven’s death in 2015.

After a bit fortunate to continue squeezing the franchise on television, this Friday, January 14, 2022, ‘Scream’ arrives in theaters, the first film in the saga in which none of the main architects of the original had a great weight in its development -Williamson does participate but only as an executive producer-. Luckily, that has not meant that we are facing a bad installment of the saga. And it is true that it is not the best, but it is not the worst and also gives what it promises.

a good reminder

This franchise has always been marked by self-awareness, by its attempt to play with the common places of this type of proposal and offer a healthy cross between suspense and comedy. All this seasoned with other ingredients to offer us a whodunit that always seeks to surprise the viewer.

All this is also present in ‘Scream’, where it openly flirts with the usual tendency of Hollywood towards requels, those films that continue the story of the original but at the same time come to tell a fairly similar story. Despite the absence of Randy’s character, the rules of horror movies are also discussed here again, and, how could it be otherwise, the past is again essential in the construction of history.

That means that in addition to the already announced returns of legendary characters from the saga such as Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox) o Dewey Riley (David Arquette), there are also multiple connections to the past, not all of them equally fortunate. In fact, there is an essential one for the construction of the story itself that works well as an idea, but not so much when the script of James Vanderbilt y Guy Busick go back over it to see how it affects one of the main characters of ‘Scream’.

Scream 2022

However, it is still a small toll to pay to build a film that really feels like one more installment in the saga and without relying more than necessary on the already known characters. All of them have a reduced presence on screen and I think it is a success in order to give more entity to the new generation of protagonists. That does not mean that ‘Scream’ has a different energy whenever Sidney, Gale or Dewey appear on screen.

Around that we have the usual presence of Ghostface as a relentless murderer but who enjoys his own by giving his future victims a hard time over the phone. There the movie is perfectly identifiable without falling into mere repetition, which may have been helped by so many years of waiting between one film and another.

Lights and shadows of ‘Scream’

Scream 5 Escena

In fact, as a suspense film, it is quite competent at handling the identity of possible suspects, often flirting with situations similar to those of the first installment and then handling them in its own way. And that the work of Matt Bettinelli-Olpin y Tyler Gillett is perhaps too reverent to Craven’s rather than focus more on the virtues they displayed in the highly entertaining ‘Wedding Night’. There are small deviations, but there is a lack of spark and personality.

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Nor is it something negative to want the film to seem as much as possible one more of the franchise, especially in these times marked by hatred towards those who dare to do something different with that franchise they love so much, but it is striking. Partly because then they haven’t even recovered Marco Beltrami, regular composer of the saga,

Scream Melissa Barrera

For the rest, the meta touch is still there and cheers up the function in more than one moment, especially in a scene that directly pays homage to the original film twice at the same time or in small comments here or there. humor is well integrated even in the resolution of the film itself, although it is fair to say that the franchise tended to get ahead of it at that point -the whole influencer theme of the fourth installment would not acquire a comparable dimension until years later- and here it comes at the right time.

Something less inspired is in its most dramatic facet, but that’s not surprising in this universe either, just as it’s also true that it’s a film that can hardly scare anyone who isn’t especially squeamish, but that was already part of the series. There is some shock mark of the house and that’s it. Nor did I expect anything else.

In short

Scream Dewey Riley

‘Scream’ is a welcome resurrection of a franchise that, with the exception of its television adventure, never sank so low that it didn’t go ahead with it. He also returns trying his best not to repeat himself too much, to surprise the viewer, make him have a good time and, incidentally, get more than one laugh out of him. Mission accomplished.

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