Friday, January 14, 2022

Movie Review: Scream (2022)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Captures the heart of the franchise with scares and laughs
Cons: Pacing at the beginning biggest of several nitpicks
The Bottom Line:
Ghostface has returned
Equal horror, comedy
Excellent sequel

“You Ready?”  “For This?  Never.”

I’ve been obsessed with the Scream franchise for years.  Kind of funny for someone who tends to read cozy mysteries, right?  So when rumors started up about a new movie in the series, I was cautiously optimistic.  My optimism continued to grow as I started to see the previews.  I couldn’t wait to see what was going to happen in the new Scream, so I headed out to the theaters for the Thursday night previews.

Just like in real life, it’s been twenty-five years since the original attacks in Woodsboro, and someone has decided to mark the anniversary by donning the Ghostface mask again and going on a killing spree.  The newest group of teen targets all seem to be connected to the originals in some way.  That connection is enough to get the survivors of earlier attacks back in Woodsboro again.  Who is the killer?  Who will survive the latest attacks?

Yes, I’m being very vague in my teaser above.  I’m trying hard not to have any spoilers, and really, this is Scream.  What about the above did you not suspect was going to be the case as soon as you heard about it?

Yes, the main trio of Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, and David Arquette are all back as Sidney, Gale, and Dewey.  Also returning is Marley Shelton as Judy Hicks, the deputy from Scream 4.  The rest of the cast are all fresh meat, I mean new characters who are facing Ghostface for the very first time.

So, what did I think?  I liked it.  I really did.  This is easily the best movie in the franchise since Scream 2.  It has those Easter Eggs that fans of the originals or fans of the genre (even casual fans like me) will immediately get.  There were a couple of those moments I think I was the only one in the theater who got, but that’s okay.  It was cool that they were there.  Could some of those moments have been tone down?  Yes.  A few of them definitely felt forced.  But what I found forced might be your favorite Easter Egg.  That’s a minor complaint.

One reason I love this franchise so much is that I love the returning characters.  It’s always great to catch up with Sidney, Gale, and Dewey.  I have loved watching their relationships grow as the series progresses, and that was true once again here.

And the new characters?  I wish we’d had more of a chance to get to know them before they died.  That was one thing the original couple of films got right was making these characters real so we care about the outcome.  I’m not blaming the actors, who are all fabulous.  It’s a script that is trying to do a bit too much.

Speaking of which, I felt like the early scenes in the movie were rushed.  Some of those scenes were where we were supposed to get to know those characters, so that’s part of my problem.  It also felt like the story was rushing a bit early on because it knew it had to hit certain notes.  But as the movie got into the second half, it relaxed.  Oh, I didn’t as the movie still had me tense.  But the pacing was better as the movie was allowed to breathe a little bit.

The movie got my adrenaline going for sure.  Yes, there were some fake jump scares, but there were also some truly tense scenes that were well done and kept my eyes glued to the screen.  Heck, I was engrossed in the film, and the it was over all too soon.

Of course, this is a Scream movie, and it is rated R for a reason.  There is plenty of violence and language, so keep that in mind before you decide to see it.

I’d heard there were all kinds of twists in this film.  I figured that might have been hype, but they did manage to get in some twists that surprised me.  Don’t get me wrong, I saw a few of the plot points coming early, but there were many others I didn’t expect along the way.  I appreciate that.

I already hinted at this, but the comedy was there as well.  I laughed multiple times, and the commentary on films of today was spot on.

I was raised in Santa Rosa, the area where the original Scream was filmed.  As a result, I do get a little frustrated when they try to pass another part of the country off as Woodsboro.  It just isn’t quite right.  I think all fans will feel the same way with a few places they tried to recreate, but maybe I’m just being too picky.  Either way, again, this is a minor issue.

On the other hand, I noticed that when characters called from Woodsboro, their numbers were listed from the 707 area code.  Yes, that’s the area code for Santa Rosa.  I love that little nod.

I left the theater satisfied, and I think fans of the franchise will be as well.  I am already looking forward to watching Scream again and wondering where they might go with a sequel.

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