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SCREAM (2022): A Blood-Soaked Love Letter to Wes & Fans

After a decade away, Ghostface is back to slice up some of Woodsboro’s finest citizens. And while Sidney was the focus in previous rampages, our stab-obsessed villain has his sights set on someone new in Scream. The fifth installment to the slasher franchise sadly marks the first without beloved horror visionary Wes Craven at the wheel, but it still manages to capture his essence with so much to offer fans.

Stepping into Craven’s massive shoes are Ready or Not directing duo Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, who stayed true to the style of the original films and scare methods. That’s sort of the overarching theme of the entire film: respect the legacy of the originals. Whereas in Scream 4 our killers were looking to remake the original, Scream (2022) — aka Scream 5 — is about honoring the first film, but in its own very meta way.

It pays homage to the original differently than the other sequels, many of which are ultra spoiler territory, so I’ll steer clear. The many callbacks and references to the previous four installments are so thoughtfully included and carefully executed, you can sense the genuine love the filmmakers and cast have for not only Wes Craven, but these characters and the fans.

Writers James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick did a great job creating a fresh and clever script that continues building upon the story. I found it to be even more purposeful than the 2011 film, as far as introducing new characters. They brought it to this generation without overselling it or creating caricatures to mimic legacy characters.

With Neve Campbell, David Arquette, and Courteney Cox all returning as the iconic trio, newbies Melissa Barrera, Jenna Ortega, Jack Quaid, and Dylan Minnette step in for the new class of potential Ghostface victims. Or perhaps Ghostface himself. Who, for his part, is having a heck of a lot of fun this time with intense kills. Though not super inventive, they feel brutal and more bloody than ever.

Like with all the Scream films, there’s a meta-commentary on the state of current cinema. The first was about the horror genre in general. The sequel is about, well, horror movie sequels. With the third and fourth taking on final chapters and modern-day reboots. Scream (2022) continues that tradition by speaking to film franchises of the present, discussing the current trend of reboots and sequels that attempt to latch onto the legacy. Even touching on the toxic fandoms that may be part of that.

This new installment to the Scream franchise was certainly a tricky one to navigate, as we fans knew Wes Craven’s absence would be present, though we still craved seeing the iconic mask back in action. It was indeed an emotional film, for several reasons, but it was something that Wes would be so incredibly proud of.

It was also great to be back in an electrified theater, with a group of fans waiting to see their favorite slasher back on screen after ten years. And if they continue with this quality and direction, I have a feeling we’ll be enjoying Ghostface for many more years, because as Stu Macher once said… “it’s a scream, baby!”

Scream is now in theaters

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