After 25 years, the new Scream is proof that Ghostface can still pack a… stab? The new film is an absolute blast, riding crisp, smart writing that combines the nostalgia of what has come before with the infusion of fresh talent present here. This is how you return to Woodsboro.
Ghostface returns and begins targeting a group of local teenagers as they fight to stay alive while a secret bubbles to the surface that draws hints of Woodsboro’s bloody history. As a lifelong Scream fan, any attempt at a sequel, reboot, or new entry draws concern as the original trilogy is so beloved and hyper-focused on Neve Campbell’s Sidney Prescott. Diverging from her and what started it all has proven not to be easy. Luckily the writers behind 2019’s hit Ready or Not (James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick) are up to the task with sharp writing that takes the spirit of the first film and mixes in fresh faces with a new twist that injects the franchise with adrenaline. Melissa Barrera is a worthy successor to Campbell’s Prescott, carrying an air of mystery around her in every scene. The young additions of Mason Gooding, Mikey Madison, Dylan Minnette, Jenna Ortega, Sonia Ammar, Jasmin Savoy Brown, and Jack Quaid are all solid in their respective roles that are reminiscent of past characters, but all serving a specific purpose here. The only one that faded into the background was Ammar’s Liv who wasn’t given much to work with, but as you come to suspect every character as the killer at one point or another, it doesn’t hurt the overall product.
Scream is an intelligent meta commentary on the state of horror films and larger fandoms, often drawing laughs for how the writers nail every piece of the dialogue and for the film’s ability to not only recognize where the franchise came from, but play with it. You’re along for the jokes as an audience, not the butt of them, while it juggles your expectations when it comes to what is playing out on screen. Sure, there is some cheese thrown in there, but that is built into the DNA of Scream. In addition to Campbell’s return, Courtney Cox and David Arquette serve natural roles that are refreshingly natural, yet not overblown. How refreshing to see Sidney with kids and a husband (offscreen)! Mix in an elevated level of gore from Ghostface’s attacks and you have a film that will appease all audiences, franchise fans and not alike. The writers and directors (Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett) simply get it; Wes Craven would be proud. One can’t help but feel that this is a set-up of things to come and I am already excited for the next trip to Woodsboro.
Scream hits theaters this Friday.
Photo from Nerdist