Scream 2 was the first horror film I ever saw. 11 I was, and I can remember it like it was yesterday, even though it was 23 years ago. My friend and I came across it on one of the movie channels and watched it when her Mum had gone to bed. I admitted it freely to my Mum, who wasn’t particularly bothered, as long as it didn’t upset me too much, which it didn’t, so I sought out Scream 1 as fast as possible and then, my life-long love of horror films started. You’ve probably seen that I have started to dip my toes into film reviews on this blog, and I love that my first horror is a film I have been waiting for months!
I’ve not yet seen one horror film that has scared me.
The Scream films have never felt to me quite like horror. The most accurate description I have heard about these types of films is “slasher”, I think the Scream franchise fits that perfectly. Even though they look dated now, the Scream films were iconic. They even spawned incredibly successful parody films, the “Scary Movie” films. So when I heard they were rebooting the franchise, with a new film, titled just “Scream” but one that would pick up after the events in the last film (Scream 4), I had mixed emotions. Anyone in my generation probably swung between “oh, how exciting” and “don’t ruin a classic”.
After Scream 2, I think the sequels started to lose their way a bit. Scream 2 was great, and the way the plot of the second film tied into the first was quite believable, but then I think 3 and 4 let the fans down and it just felt like the writers were clutching at straws. But then, on the other hand, how on earth were the writers going to reboot the franchise, keep links to the original cast but also make the franchise up to date enough for it to be relevant.
Scream starts with a new group of high school kids. I don’t want to post spoilers but there is a strong tie to the original, which is not only clever, but also doesn’t clash with any of the storylines of the other sequels. It is completely believable and executed well.
But what of our old favourites?
Sidney, Gale and Dewey are all back, which was a great coup for Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, the directors. Once the introductions to the new characters are done, we see what our old favourites have been up to in the years between this film and Scream 4, as the protagonist of this film, Sam Carpenter, seeks out Dewey Riley when she comes back to town after finding out her sister was attacked by Ghostface. The first act, is a typical “Scream” film first act and a short time after is spent filling the audience in on Dewey and Gale’s relationship status, and the fact Sidney has moved away and has kids. It’s commendable the writers didn’t spend too much time on this, because there is so much back story, but it is done in a clever way, where if you have seen the first 4 films you will be clued in, but if you haven’t, no big deal, it’s not such a big of a part of the story that the film wouldn’t make sense to you.
And that’s one of the best qualities of this reboot. You can either watch it as a stand alone film or as part of the “Scream” franchise.
The “Stab” films still, like in the other sequels, serve as a fantastic tool for the films to poke a bit of fun at themselves, especially when someone remarks it’s quite hard to believe Sidney is still alive at this point. They also have a bit of fun with the sheer AMOUNT of sequels some films have nowadays and I think in Scream they are on about the 8th iteration of “Stab”.
One of the things I was the most interested to see was how they adapted the films to keep up with the times we are now living in. The first Scream film was 1996, which was a long time ago, and a lot of technological innovations have happened since then. I mean, we unplug our housephone, so Ghostface would never be a problem for me, but there is some clever use of messaging and location finding apps, characters watching YouTube reviews etc.
I went into watching this prepared to be disappointed, because reboots never tend to live up to their predecessors, but I have to say, Scream was better than I could have ever imagined it to be. The core aspects of the previous 4 films in the franchise are still there. Like the suspense, the twists in the storyline and also the gore, which is what the “slasher” genre is all about. The old characters are delicately woven into the lives of the new characters and each are given the right amount of screentime.
Considering I think of myself as a horror expert, I had absolutely no idea who the killer was and had guessed everyone but the person. If you are a Scream fan you’ll love this. It goes back to the glory days of Scream 2, and the reboot has been a well-needed kiss of life. Even if you are not a Scream fan, and you haven’t seen the previous films, Scream is still a thoroughly decent slasher film, and well worth a watch.
You can watch Scream now on Amazon Prime.
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