Wednesday, January 19, 2022

“The Scream” doesn’t deserve its name

We probably should have known that the new Scream would never live up to its existence when there wasn’t even a satisfying reason why it had the exact same title as the original 1996 movie.

“It wouldn’t be Scream if it hadn’t explored itself completely,” director Tyler Gillett. Empire said last year. “That’s the nature of films. It understands what it is. And this film is no different – it understands what it is and how it fits into the line of Scream and modern horror.”

But in reality, Scream 2.0 does not understand what it is, nor its place in the franchise and the genre as a whole. Rather, it’s a dumb knockoff that’s desperately trying to be a clone of the original film for a new generation, despite not being fresh, smart, or even completely coherent at times. Although, again, it is called “Scream”, but it borders more on shrillness.

What may be his biggest transgression is that he drags the surviving legacy characters along with him. But we’ll get back to Sidney Prescott, Gale and Dewey Riley (Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette) in a bit. The “Scream” reboot – or “requel” as Mindy (Jasmine Savoy-Brown), stunt double for the witty Randy (Jamie Kennedy) from a ’90s movie, tries and fails to explain – focuses on the Woodsboro’s newest breed. teenage victims who fight Ghostface’s insane rage.

There’s Tara (Jenna Ortega), who, like Casey Drew Barrymore in the original film, starts the story with a gripping prank scene and instantly becomes the prey. Her estranged sister Sam (Melissa Barrera) enters, who, despite their long-distance relationship, returns to the city, ready to set it on fire after hearing what is happening to her sister. Sam brings along his boyfriend Richie (Jack Quaid), who has the same vibes of an obvious suspect as Billy from a good movie (Skeet Ulrich), but without any real layers.

Rounding out the list of new cool kids is Amber (Mikey Madison), Tara’s best friend. Wes (Dylan Minnette) is a nice guy. Chad (Mason Gooding) and his girlfriend Liv (Sonya Ammar) are clearly supposed to be the latest version of the carefree couple Tatum (Rose Byrne) and Stu (Matthew Lillard) – that is, incredibly cheerful and seemingly harmless. Mindy is Chad’s sister. Oh, and a lot of these new people, we’re pretty ominously told, though it’s not as important as they seem to be related to the characters in the original in one way or another.

From left to right, Dylan Minnette (Wes), Jack Quaid (Richie), Melissa Barrera (Sam) and David Arquette (Dewey Riley) in the new Scream.

You’d think the last part would be intriguing, especially considering how the 1996 film actually made good use of unseen old characters – like Sydney’s mom – weaving them into its narrative. But no, the weak facsimile of The Scream often does frustrating things, such as introducing theories and concepts, without giving them any real meaning.

For example, phrases like “poison fandom”, “sublime horror” and “Generation Z” sometimes fly out of characters’ mouths and go up in the air, only to land on the ground like little dead quails. These are all interesting things that certainly could have been laid out in the story as smoothly as in the original model, but instead they look like nothing more than hashtags without context.

It’s a shame, actually, because the heightened horror deserves real commentary beyond “I prefer movies like The Babadook over the new, dumber version of Scream.” And if this movie were even half as smart as its characters make it out to be, it would contextualize things like peer pressure, the rage of young white men and rights, and the many menacing themes hidden behind the suburban façade that this movie is based. actually not recognizing.

The problem is that this goofy and goofier version of Scream seems to think the franchise was not about anything like that, but rather a dark, one-dimensional satire about stupid teenagers who watch too many horror movies and mess around with real weapon. . At the risk of sounding like Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep) when she scolds the clueless Andy Sachs (Anne Hathaway) in The Devil Wears Prada for wearing what she thinks is a plain blue sweater, everything is on point. You just have to be careful.

Neve Campbell reprises her traditional role as Sidney Prescott in 2022. "Scream."
Neve Campbell reprises his traditional role as Sidney Prescott in the 2022 film Scream.

Simply put, the Scream replica plays itself in many ways and has a fundamental misunderstanding of its own series. Instead, Gillett and co-director Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, along with writers James Vanderbilt and Guy Basik, are taking an easier path. They reincarnate the original, more interesting characters into this more empty new crop and take them through the same call – almost step by step, right down to the prank of the call to home, the invasion and the escalating bloodshed that is in Act 3, which, like and in the first movie, goes downstairs at Stu’s house.

Funny, this “Scream” is just as light-hearted as “Stab” – the franchise’s coherent movie that dramatizes the events of the first movie. In fact, “Stab” is probably more interesting because it understands that the characters it portrays are real people, while this movie treats them as more than avatars.

That’s why Sydney, the last girl of the original, as well as Gayle and Dewey, are so important in the new film. Not only because legacy characters are, by definition, impossible to kill, but because even in the thankless moments they appear in this movie, they have more texture than any of the new characters. You really root for them. After a certain point, you start not even paying attention to the clumsy plot between the sisters in the new film.

As is clear from the 90s film directed by Wes Craven and The Resurrection of the Matrix, there comes a point when you put aside the self-mockery and really explore and even argue a little with your own core message. This imitation of “The Scream” just doesn’t get through.

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