MOVIESPOP CULTUREScream: Mostly Hitting The Mark

Scream is in one of my top two horror franchises of all time next to the Evil Dead. Though franchise long director, Wes Craven, has passed since the release of the last outing, I was excited at the announcement of a new entry. When I heard that the Ready or Not team was taking lead on this project, I only got more excited. While I’m happy to say that most of this new Scream works,...
Aaron Vaughn4 months ago1189 min
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Scream is in one of my top two horror franchises of all time next to the Evil Dead. Though franchise long director, Wes Craven, has passed since the release of the last outing, I was excited at the announcement of a new entry. When I heard that the Ready or Not team was taking lead on this project, I only got more excited. While I’m happy to say that most of this new Scream works, there are still some important aspects holding it back. 

The Good

There are some impressive performances here. Returning cast members Neve Campbell and Courtney Cox do a pretty decent job returning as their classic characters, but the real standouts are David Arquette, Jack Quaid, and Jenna Ortega. This isn’t really due to specific script or story reasons. There are just certain nuances in their performances that make them stand out. Arguably speaking, the way these performers stand out makes it feel like the wrong people are cast in the leads (more on that later).

Another standout is the meta storytelling. This is something that the Scream franchise has always been known for and it’s still great here. Now we get a look at how a long-running film franchise might try to appeal to new audiences while also getting some commentary on toxic fan cultures. As someone that loves meta storytelling, this really stuck with me. 

The filmmaking here is top-notch. Directors Matt Bettinell-Olpin and Tyler Gillert bring an exciting vision to the series that both stand on its own while also paying tribute to the legendary director Wes Craven. The camera work and editing are also top-notch and might surpass what has been done with the previous films. The sweeping camera movements and nice build-ups make for a thrilling experience. The way that sound cues play in also adds certain emotions that help make this movie. This team knows how to make a movie and I’m excited to see what else they do. 

The Bad

What’s strange about this new Scream is that it doesn’t do that much wrong, but it probably has the biggest misfire possible. The choice of the main character falls very flat. To be clear, Melissa Barrera as the lead does the best she can. The issue is that there isn’t that much to her. Though the film introduces a very interesting idea to the character, the story ultimately fails to make time to do anything interesting with it. I mentioned that the film felt like it had the wrong lead character. This was because I consistently thought that there should’ve been more of the Jenna Ortega character. I admit that it’s presumptuous to claim that the character focus should’ve been different when the filmmakers had specific ideas on what this movie is about. My point is that this mostly minor character stuck out so much to me that I wanted to see her more than the film’s lead. This is a flaw in its storytelling. I should be rooting for the main character, not the one that we see very little of. With that said, as some time has passed since I watched, I have thought about this less. It’s still an issue I have, but it has become less severe with the positives sticking out more in my mind. This is shocking for me because the character has always been so important to me in storytelling. I can see this being a problem for people that like the lead cast of characters from the original films. This is especially unfortunate because the movie does almost everything else so well. But this one element I can see getting in the way for a lot of people. 

Conclusion

Scream might have a very big issue, but the more I think of this movie the more the strong qualities stand out. While its main character falls flat, the meta elements around the story and the filmmaking appeal enough to me to make up for it. While this is still far from my favorite in the franchise (that still goes to Scream 2) and this doesn’t live up to the team’s previous outing (Ready or Not), I can still see myself revisiting this Scream multiple times. If you like the franchise for the cast of characters, you’ll be disappointed. If you like the franchise for the unique set pieces and the meta stories, I think you’ll enjoy this new Scream

 

Aaron Vaughn

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