Scream

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It's interesting how cinematic trends have allowed the "Scream" franchise to continue and flourish since the turn of the millennium, keeping the series ever-relevant. After a surprisingly solid return with 2011's "Scream 4," a clever take on the popular trend of horror remakes that polluted the silver screen in the 2000's and 2010's, the franchise is once again resurrected with 2022's "Scream." And this time, the film's sights are firmly set on the modern fad of the "soft-reboot" or "requel."

Twenty-five years after the original murder-spree, the town of Woodsboro is rocked again when a new "Ghostface" attack occurs, cripplingly injuring a young woman. Soon enough, bodies begin to pile up, and it becomes clear that there's a dark, twisted pattern to the murders... and that everyone targeted shares deep connections to the past...

As always, the film's sharp meta-commentary shines brightly. Heck... even the title is essentially a giant meta-joke about how modern sequels simply recycle the title of the original (2018's "Halloween," 2011's "The Thing," etc.), which sadly seems to have flown over a lot of people's heads. There's a reason it isn't called "Scream 5," guys. Targeting soft-reboots is a clever way to modernize the franchise, and it supplies the fodder for many jokes, gags and shocks. There's also some genuinely interesting insight offered on things like toxic fandom, which has become a serious issue over the last ten years, in addition to some fun friendly jabs at elevated horror. (If you're an A24 fan like me, you'll definitely get some hilarious self-deprecating laughs.) It's nice to see these things cleverly addressed in a film.

The cast is genuinely electrifying, and lend a lot to the proceedings. Newcomer Melissa Barrera steals the show as our new lead Samantha - a woman with a dark secret who is drawn into the conflict. She's the beating heart of the movie and is absolutely excellent. Fellow newcomers Jenna Ortega, Jack Quaid and Mikey Madison also fare very well. But special props go to Mason Gooding and especially Jasmin Savoy Brown as two people closely related to the late Randy Meeks, and who very much take his place in the story. They are an absolute blast and a half.

Not to say our returning legacy cast aren't amazing, because they absolutely are. It's certainly nice to see Neve Campbell receive a career-resurgence as of late, with roles on popular shows like "House of Cards" and in big-budget movies like "Skyscraper." And she shines yet again as Sidney Prescott, reminding us just why we first fell in love with her back in the 90's. Here's to hoping we'll see a lot more of her in the future. Courtney Cox is also wonderful as Gale Weathers, and is just as deliciously slimy and weirdly likeable as ever. While she's mainly focused on producing and directing since the end of her underrated series "Cougar Town," she slips right back into the role. But surprisingly, David Aquette is perhaps the most interesting of the three returning heroes. Arquette has had one of the most bizarre and unconventional Hollywood careers perhaps of all time... he's worked consistently and has his fingers in everything from acting to producing to directing to hosting... but it's almost always weird, strange personal projects or things made exclusively for cult audiences. But his turn as former deputy Dewey is outstanding, as the character takes a decidedly darker turn this time around. And it makes me hope that Arquette gets more serious mainstream acting gigs in the future, because he knocked it out of the park.

Directorial duties are handled by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, who made the absolutely delightful and utterly insane "Ready or Not," and they slip right into the role with a sense of class and competence. While nobody will be able to replace the late and great Wes Craven, Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillett are able to guide the film expertly, honoring what came before and injecting some fresh energy into the proceedings. This still feels like "Scream" thought and through... just with a slight spit-and-polish added. Their camerawork and sense of pacing are top-notch, and the way they handle the suspense and humor is pretty much pitch-perfect for the material. And they're quickly becoming a force to reckon with in the world of horror.

In the end, I really can't praise 2022's "Scream" enough. It's a fantastic new installment that honors what came before while taking the series on some interesting new directions. As a life-long horror fan, I was thrilled. And as someone who has loved the series since I saw the first film's broadcast cable premiere back in the 90's, and who essentially grew up with the original trilogy, I was completely and utterly satisfied.

"Scream" easily earns a near-perfect 4.5 out of 5. (Rounding up to a 5 for MovieMistakes).

TedStixon

Continuity mistake: In the scene outside the hospital, when Gale and Sidney try to make the protagonist reconsider her plan to leave, Courteney Cox's hair changes position in front of either shoulder several times between shots.

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Trivia: As a bit of fun, the principal cast reportedly had a "movie night" midway through shooting on Halloween, 2020 where they ate popcorn and watched the original 1996 "Scream."

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Question: How does Richie know that Samantha sees visions of her dead father? (01:36:00)

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