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Arts + Life


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“You know that part in horror movies?”

Multiple times in this new Scream, a character shouts that statement and goes ahead to fulfill the expectation, such as answering the phone only to be confronted by a very bad voice that has wielded a knife or two in his time or going alone into a basement. So goes this successful requel or remake or reboot or sequel, whatever, to the 1996 Wes Craven slasher monument, Scream. Only no Wes this fifth time, and no problem this time.

Not only is Scream an enjoyable horror movie on its own, but it also enfolds other slashers like Halloween with a deft touch by directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett and writers James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick. Scream lampoons the slasher genre, with its ready-made tropes, in a way that freshens the genre while still being slavishly derivative.

It’s a meta-take on the endurance and popularity of films that titillate and horrify while they induce appreciative laughs, just as my buds and I screamed out in delight in an almost empty auditorium (it was matinee and COVID time, after all).

Solidifying the connection with past Screams and other relics is the return of immortal players like Neve Campbell as heroine Sidney Prescott, Courtenay Cox as TV anchor Gale Riley, and David Arquette as former-sheriff Dewey Riley. These three veterans show the skills of seasoned actors, by contrast with the much greener slasher fodder like sisters Tara (Jenna Ortega) and Sam (Melissa Barrera). The vets viscerally connect the past to the present.

The meta-satire of the genre and mixing time and formula could have been overly complicated but turns out to be a felicitous gathering reminding us of “elevated” horror classics like The Babadook.

Have fun with family and friends at your local theater. Don’t be afraid--Scream (2022) makes you anxiously await the next ingenious requel: “Would you like to play a game?”

Scream (2022)

Directors: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin (Ready or Not), Tyler Gillett (Ready or Not)

Screenplay: James Vanderbilt (Independence Day: Resurgence), Guy Busick (Ready or Not)

Cast: Neve Campbell (Scream-1996), Courteney Cox (Scream-1996)

Run Time: 1h 45m

Rating: R