My initial cinema review of Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett’s Scream was a five-star affair, born of anticipation – built up by my love of the franchise over 25 years, and a genuinely impressive return to the world of Woodsboro. I’ve seen it more than once, and I still think it’s very impressive, but maybe I’m slipping to 4-stars and why? My love for the 1996 original is nothing less than first class, but this one is pretty darn close… so let’s re-visit.
Scream is just as tense on the small screen though, and perfect for Screamathon‘s in the future, as we follow the end of the old legacy, and the beginning of a whole new world. Ariel not included. Based on the characters created by Kevin Williamson, with a screenplay from James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick, Scream is set twenty-five years after those brutal murders that swept Woodsboro. And, obviously, there’s a new killer who dons the Ghostface, to eventually unravel secrets and reasons we’ll learn together.
Led by Melissa Barrera’s Sam Carpenter, proceedings kick off quite quickly after her sister, Tara (Jenna Ortega) has a stab-fest Ghostface encounter. Returning to the town after years away, Sam arrives with her boyfriend Richie (Jack Quaid), as she’s hiding a secret and believes she knows why Tara was targeted. In an unexpected turn of events, we actually learn what it is, and it’s a big one – This early insight is a smart turn on what’s to come and means everybody is a suspect, as we hit the first of many shrewd surprises.
If you’re a Scream fan, I think this has everything you could want. From those meta horror discussions, how we see it in society all alongside a legacy cast mingling amongst the new blood. Best of all, everyone gets screentime and the new key members feel developed and believable. And, of course, the power of Ghostface emerges in the middle of it all. An iconic horror character like this one is always going to have an essence of super-powered but remains conceivably beatable. That element of equilibrium is managed brilliantly.
Scream benefits from the strong ensemble, and it wouldn’t be a Scream film without Neve Campbell’s Sidney Prescott being class as always, and David Arquette’s Dewey Riley and Courtney Cox’s Gale Weathers have their important moments to. We also see the return of Marley Shelton’s Judy Hicks, now the Sheriff in Woodsboro, and her son Wes, played by Dylan Minnette. We’ve also got Mason Gooding and Jasmin Savoy Brown as twins Mindy and Chad, Mikey Madison as Amber, Sonia Ammar as Liv, Kyle Gallner as Vince, and someone else you will recognise, plus crisp, sharp and dark cinematography from Brett Jutkiewicz.
Cutting out too many spoilers, the directing duo nail the finale – to the point of shiver-inducing. With a dash of homage scattered throughout, there are twists coming on all sides, plus a genuine emotional edge that’s entwined with a powerful conclusion that’s violent, funny and strangely rewarding. This is a Scream film that’ll delight, shock, excite and even give you goosebumps, it’s one of the finest in the franchise but, of course, you’ll never beat the original and nor does this intend to. It’s a horror love letter packed full of admiration and invention.
Not all extras can give you everything you want but this small, but effective, selection really celebrates the joy of the entire Scream family. From New Blood interviewing everyone involved, and their love for what went before and what’s to come – including legacy and fresh blood – it’s a genuine joy to see how much passion remains within it all.
Bloodlines dives in further, including Neve’s emotional return to Stu’s house and the replica re-build – and they discuss the nostalgia with that moment. It’s also a hell of a story to hear that the new cast watching the original film next to the sound stage of Stu’s house. I mean, how many of us would love that?
And then In the Shadow of the Master is, of course, celebrating Wes Craven’s undeniable timeless creations. Opening with Wes saying “It’s a good day for a murder, with some good hardy laughs…” – We hear about his energy, his love for the genre, and his connection with horror and consequential influence. It’s all about balancing the humour and the horror. I think that’s the difference with him, the proper process of diving into the characters, as well as stories of him being a wonderful human being, which are lovely to hear from the originals.
The deleted scenes aren’t that different to what we see in the final cut; the Dewey bar scene is a bit longer, ish – and also Dewey in the Sheriff’s officer with Marley, and their chat. There’s also a scene with Melissa Barrera and Jasmin Savoy Brown, before the former heads off to the hospital, but it’s a minor cut.
You also get to re-watch the 1996 Scream trailer, and which I’d forgotten was so spoilery, but it’s more or less there for the recent 4K release of the original. Finally, there’s the hugely welcome Filmmaker Commentary with James, Guy, Tyler and Matt, is also a joy – as you’d expect. It’s a pity we can’t get the legacy cast in there, and some things you’ve read about or might know, but the excitement of being involved, the sequences of filming – and everything that went with recent times, is here. Sit back and enjoy.