Scream: new characters, new rules, new killers – discuss the spoilers | Horror films
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WWhat’s your favorite horror movie? If you came of age in the ’90s, chances are this was Wes Craven’s 1996 slasher Scream, not only because it was (and still is) a true masterpiece , but because it happened during a decade where the quality of horror movies was scarier than the content.
Scream was a rare horror movie that existed in a world where people actually watched horror movies, so trying to avoid getting stabbed meant being hyper aware of the rules that underpinned the genre, brutally instilled by two fanboy killers. The series proceeded with predictable diminishing returns but, for a slasher franchise, the sequels were still smarter than most, creating a fairly detailed universe of interconnected bloodbaths and the inevitable movies based on them (the knowingly miserable Stab franchise) . A decade after the hugely underrated fourth chapter, Ghostface is back in Scream (the same title being a jokey reference to a theme from the film although really more of a way to appeal to a wider audience outside of the finalists of Scream), but is his or her return out of creative necessity or just commercial inevitability?
Here is a very spoiler-rich discussion about Nu Scream:
The open cold
Ever since Drew Barrymore remembered the details of Friday the 13th and found her outside as a penalty, the quality of a Scream movie has been judged in the first 15 minutes, a grisly kill that sets the tone to what comes next. Scream 4 exceeded our expectations with a fun cold opening within a cold opening within a cold opening, leading to speculation about how the new chapter might do something even wilder, increased stakes and rewritten rules. But while some predicted that maybe one of the OG pincushions might be at risk, what’s most surprising at the start of Scream 22 is how simple everything is.
The setup is a reminder of how it all started with You and Yes Day, teenage Jenna Ortega as Tara, the Casey-shaped sacrificial lamb, perhaps less recognizable this time around but still responding to Ghostface issues. There are minor tweaks – the questions are about the Stab franchise rather than IRL slashers, it’s being tracked by both landline and smartphone – but the most notable change is that, for the first time in the series, the first victim actually survives the attack…
The reason is that Tara was actually just bait to lure her sister Samantha (Melissa Barrera of In the Heights) to Woodsboro, with her boyfriend Richie (Jack Quaid of The Boys) mostly unaware of the trauma. which has haunted the city ever since. the original murders. Samantha is a reformed feral child who left town after raising hell and never returned. The killer soon contacts her, teasing that he knows her secret, which we discover is an unhappy family connection: Samantha is the illegitimate daughter of Billy Loomis (Skeet Ulrich), one of the original killers. It’s a fun and goofy connection, and one that fits the franchise’s delightfully soapy mythology very well, but, in misjudged fanservice, Ulrich frequently appears to Samantha as a vision, urging her to lean on. his murderous legacy.
Samantha then becomes the final new girl, but with one upside — she could also be a killer — a setup not too dissimilar to the fourth film’s positioning of Sidney’s niece Jill as the fake heroine who turns out to be the villain. She’s not the only new actress with a connection to the past. Tara’s group of friends includes Randy’s (Jamie Kennedy) niece and nephew who died in the second film and Judy’s (Marley Shelton) son who was introduced in the fourth. The ties between old and new inevitably lead Samantha to…
The Legacy Cast
They may be injured on foot, but it’s a wonder that three Scream survivors even walk, having faced various Ghostfaces in each of the previous films. One of the smartest touches in 2011’s Scream 4 was setting up the structure for a reboot with a young cast ready to take over, but then killing them all off as victims or villains (“Don’t don’t fuck with the original,” Campbell jokes at the end, echoing widespread reboot fatigue at the time). Here, there is less cohesion between the young and the old, the latter especially, sometimes criminally, wasted. First we find Dewey (Arquette), who now lives in a trailer, has retired from the force and only sees his ex-wife Gale (Cox) on his morning show. He’s brought back into the drama by Samantha, craving advice on how to survive, which leads to an update to the “here are the rules” speech that advises her not to trust her boyfriend (more on this later). subject later) and that the pattern is somehow related to the past.
We also reunite with Judy, a minor character from the last film, and Randy’s sister Martha, which allows for a small scene with Heather Matarazzo who appeared in the third (an easter egg later showing a YouTube link to an interview with “Survivor Kirby Reed” also confirms that the fan-favorite from Scream 4, played by Hayden Panettiere, is also still alive). Dewey reluctantly calls Sidney to let her know, which allows us to learn that she now has children and is married to Mark (who we can assume is Mark from Patrick Dempsey from Scream 3) but urges her to stay away. After Scream 4 survivor Judy is killed along with her son Wes, we then see the return of story-hungry Gale, who shares a poignant scene, albeit within the larger context of the repetitive series, with Dewey. – additional emotion because of the off-screen story shared by Cox and Arquette. But any chance of a romantic reunion is reduced when…
The great death
It had to happen for a while. Every new Scream teases the death of one of the old ones (the trailers for 4 suggested it was Gale’s turn) and after the main trio’s last minimal scenes were marketed, it was taken for granted that someone had to go. But as the only returning actor to have any character texture this time around, it’s a shame Dewey is the one who ends up on the chopping block. It’s an efficient way to do it; a murder in a hospital hallway that sees the killer stab Dewey in both the front and the back simultaneously, boasting chillingly that “it’s an honor” to be the one who can murder someone also infamous (violence seems more harmful than usual). But it sucks some of the energy out of the film, leaving Gale and a returning Sidney to mope before being thrust into the climax…
In the final act, the characters are all drawn to the house owned by Billy’s accomplice Stu, the location of the first film’s lengthy bloodbath finale. It’s where Tara’s best friend Amber (Better Things star Mikey Madison) lives and where she’s hosting a boozy and ill-advised memorial for their friend Wes. The teenagers party through the heartbreak while beginning to wonder which of them might be the killer (this is by far the most paranoid of the Screams so far). There are notable callbacks to the original – Amber goes to the garage for a Tatum-style beer while Randy Mindy’s niece (Jasmin Savoy Brown of the Yellowjackets) reenacts her uncle’s drunken horror flick – but they mostly serve to remind us how little we know or care about undeveloped teens this time around, despite performing strongly across the board. There are too many and they have too little to do, which is why when killer #1 is revealed – Amber – he’s met with an “Oh…that one” shrug.
Madison is doing well, recycling her manic shtick from Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, but the impact of her betrayal of BFF Tara is less of a stab and more of a slight scrape. Then, in another encore, Killer #2 is unmasked – Richie, the scream queen’s boyfriend back to being villainous. Quaid’s rantings are a bit repetitive but in between there are a few decent half ideas, all explaining the how and why…
So while previous Screams have satirized sequels, trilogies, and reboots, this time it’s the “requel,” also known as the legacy sequel, when older characters return alongside new blood. , explained by Mindy earlier in the film. What’s motivating the two killers this time around is the fury with the eighth Stab movie that pissed off fans by completely jumping the shark, giving Ghostface a metal mask, a flamethrower and a sleeveless t-shirt. . Stab superfans Amber and Ritchie met on Reddit and concocted a plan to fix the show’s course. If they enacted a more faithful kill streak, the next Stab movie would be forced to tell that story instead, saving the franchise. The real bad guys, then, are toxic fans (“How can fandom be toxic?” asks Ritchie), something anyone who’s spent at least five minutes on the internet will agree with, and even if the writing is a bit heavy (Stab 8 directed by Rian Johnson after all the hubbub of The Last Jedi is a bit too much), it’s always a smart way to justify a return to Woodsboro.
Yet, despite being aware of the rules of a sequel, the writers aren’t quite able to follow them very well. What made Force Awakens such a hit was the well-calibrated mix of old and new, but here the original cast members are left out so much that they ultimately feel like reluctant cameos. Gale and Sidney are truly lost and while Campbell and Cox manage to conjure up magic through their lengthy character histories, they’re almost superfluous in the messy finale (shooting Gale as soon as she arrives is a really bad idea) . Their survival at the end seems to mean less to the creators than the survival of the newbies, all seemingly ready for the next chapter (essentially doing exactly what Scream 4 ridiculed). Strong box office start suggests there’s more to come – but what next?
Scream: new characters, new rules, new killers – discuss the spoilers | Horror films
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