Scream 2022 delivers on its title’s promise

This Scream exceeds expectations.

Paramount Pictures

This Scream exceeds expectations.

In my mind when I think of the horror movie genre my mind immediately drifts to what I like to call the Big 5: Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween, and Scream. All of those movies are massive and unique in their own right; however, none of them influenced the entirety of the genre like Scream did. Self-aware, comedic, and dramatic, this thriller introducing the iconic killer Ghostface was immediately a hit. Pointing out horror tropes and quite literally making fun of itself, this movie invented the definition of meta. Fans have always loved the whodunnit premise of the film while also maintaining its horror roots. So if you want a mystery movie that will make you laugh, cringe, and recoil in fear at the same time this franchise is for you.

The new Scream, titled the same as the original, has been anticipated for some time now. Marketed as the return of old characters, this movie is a reunion of the nostalgic stigmas of prime 1990’s horror. With major actors from the franchise such as Neve Campbell (Sidney Prescott), David Arquette (Dewey), and Courteney Cox (Gale Weathers), the movie was bound to be a success. Grossing 33.8 million dollars just in its opening weekend, Scream 2022 has become the latest horror hit surpassing movies of the same genre. When I went to see this movie, I personally loved it. I went in with a notepad to take notes for this review and was so captivated by the story, acting, scares, humor, and Easter eggs that I didn’t write a single thing down. Even though it is early in the year, I can foresee that this modern classic is going to be one of my top five of the year.

The movie opens as all other Scream movies have, with a home invasion sequence. The patented call using a voice changer and the false implications of an impending jump scare have been perfected by this franchise. Jenna Ortega (who plays Tara Carpenter, one of the two main characters of the film), does an amazing job playing a helpless yet strong protagonist at the same time. She is crippled for nearly the entire film and yet is still a strong female character. She is the victim portrayed at the beginning of the film, but unlike others, she is not killed, just maimed. She is stabbed multiple times leaving her in a wheelchair and her hand is lacerated almost to the bone. Yet in a scene in which she is in a hospital having to run from Ghostface, even with her hand virtually unusable she runs from the maniacal killer.

Scream has always been a teen drama. The stereotypical whodunnit, it was just never seen in a horror movie. This movie’s group of teens are less of the oversexualized boring teens and actually have some personality to them. Mason Gooding who plays Chad Meeks-Martin, plays a different iteration of the high school jock. He is waiting to have intercourse with his girlfriend Liv McKenzie (played by Sonia Ben Ammar in my opinion a dry and unrealistic performance). Chad is actually a smart and formidable character whom you can find yourself attaching to throughout the film. Instead of dumb comments like you would expect, he makes genuine contributions to the group’s decisions and conversations.

I have to come out and say there is one thing that I didn’t like about this movie and that is the number of red-herrings and suspicion among the friend group.There are times in which Chad and his sister Mindy (played by Jasmin Savoy Brown) genuinely suspect each other of the killings which to me is just a little ridiculous. These friends have supposedly known each other for years yet they are extremely quick to blame each other for the attack on Tara. When Sam (Tara’s sister played by Melissa Barrera) is introduced into the movie, you wonder why all of Tara’s friends hate her, and in my opinion, the reason that they do isn’t that interesting and takes away from the story. In the history of this franchise, you have characters that stand by one another, and while they have always been suspicious, they have always had reasons to be suspicious, and I find that this movie didn’t portray the reasons as well.

Jack Quaid’s character Richie Kirsch is probably the best addition to the movie. While he isn’t my favorite character he provides some comic relief and some genuine support to his girlfriend Sam. He also is not the stereotypical dumb boyfriend but shows extremely well the dilemma he has over whether to help his girlfriend or to save his own skin. When he is faced with the decision of going to Tara’s friend’s house to get her inhaler and just heading out of town, he genuinely debates with the girls over whether he wants to stay in town. His character just shows you a more realistic portrayal of a random person being placed in this weird situation.

My personal favorite character in the movie is Wes Hicks played by Dylan Minnette (who is an incredible young actor credited for his roles in 13 Reasons Why, Don’t Breathe, and Goosebumps). He is the son of original character Deputy Judy Hick, now Sheriff. (Played by Marley Shelton reprising her role from the 4th and 5th installments). They have an incredible mother and son relationship and he plays the perfect “momma’s boy,” and he is an amazing heart throb in the movie. His juxtaposition from a normal teenager is a refreshing interpretation of my generation. His wholesome and cautionary attitude that he and his mother take on life is interesting to follow. It truly is unheard of to see his friends not absolutely ridicule him for his decisions.

This movie had some iconic scenes that I think will be remembered by the genre forever. One of them being Tara wheeling herself down the hallway being chased by Ghostface. But another I would like to point out is that Dead Meat host James A. Janisse made an appearance in the movie. Janisse has been the host of Dead Meat since early 2017 and his YouTube channel has become one of the largest channels to represent horror in the world. He has interviewed a number of important horror figures such as Kane Hodder who played Jason Vorhees and Heather Langenkamp the star of A Nightmare on Elm St. The use of a Hollywood outsider shows that this movie dived deep into research that is viewed and read outside of Hollywood’s influence.

Finally the last element that made this movie great is the returning characters. Dewey, being the most influential veteran character in this installment, plays a great father figure for the main protagonists Tara and Sam. He is a perfect example of a fallen angel in the way that he has lost his job and the love of his life because of the Ghostface debacles. His redemption is really satisfying to see from a fan’s perspective, and for anyone new to the franchise, they give enough background so that you know exactly what has gone on. Sydney is as strong a female character as she has ever been and is an amazing co-final-girl along with Sam. Her reunion with the infamous killer is the reunion that fans have been awaiting for years. Sydney Prescott is one of the most intelligent and resourceful horror protagonists that has ever graced the big screen. While Gale Weathers has always been a more dainty character, her strength comes through in this movie as well. Her makeup is as well done as ever, yet her skill and tenacity are evident in the way she chases after Ghostface and accompanies Sydney in her searches.

Scream 2022 is an incredible revival of the dormant series that shook the genre nearly two decades ago. Its acting, plot, and overall cinematography make it a modern masterpiece of the original classic. In the past three years, it has become popular for characters in past installments to be injected into the newer versions of franchises and Scream does that perfectly. This is an amazing watch for returning fans of the franchise as well as those who weren’t born in the 90’s and just want an amazing horror flick to spend a Friday night watching.