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Scream (2022) Review: Taking it Back To The Original Still Creates A Weaker Product

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.


Warning: This Review Contains Some Spoilers for the Scream (2022) film

The 1996 slasher film Scream is easily in my top three favorite movies of all time. It altered the usual style of horror cinema by being self-aware: referencing the traditional tropes and plot points of horror films in the past, and creating a satirical piece that still delivered with gore, mystery, and suspense.

The last film in the series, Scream 4, came out in 2011, so the time feels right for another Scream film to come about – especially giving this recent resurgence of classic horror films like Halloween and Saw. 

The original director and creator of the first four films, Wes Craven, has since passed. So, this 2022 version came in knowingly demonstrating a different style, but promising through its trailers to take it back to where it all began. 

After the original film, however, I haven’t really enoyed any of the other films in the franchise. Much like other franchises, each sequel attempts to harness the same style, tone, and craft of the original – but they always fall short. Additionally, with a strict theme that a slasher follows (which Scream itself even mentions blatantly in its dialogue) much of the formula becomes predictable. As each new film in the series comes out, the audience can guess the structure.

I was extremely hesitant for this film, but due to my love for the original, I knew I had to see it and form my own opinion. 

Let’s start with the fun part first — the criticism. 

Overall, I have to say I really didn’t like this film. All in all, it is rather cheesy, relying on humor to pace the entirety of the film. 

I found the casting to be extremely poor (with the exception of Jenna Ortega and Dylan Minnette) as it often is for teenage characters in horror films. They are played so unrealistically, lacking chemistry and any depth that I find myself not caring about their fate overall. The new leading lady for this film, Sam, played by Melissa Barrera, is extremely weak in her performance. This franchise was at its best with Sidney at its forefront – her maturity and poise is still unmatched. 

Also, the attempt to connect each of these characters to a “legacy character” is an extreme reach and feels so on the nose that it weakens the plot. The original Scream’s friend group felt very natural – amid their flaws, their digs at each other, and their affection. I truly could not picture the friends in this 2022 version hanging out ever. They were not believable in the slightest. 

Lastly, while I appreciate a good cameo, I found myself honestly laughing at the inclusion of Skeet Ulrich throughout the film. It felt corny, flat, and as though it was intended as a strange joke to the audience who loved his performance in 1996. 

Despite my critique, there were several positives throughout the film, however, that did ultimately increase its strength. 

The film definitely brought some freshness to the franchise overall, starting in the very beginning. Any Scream fan will know the structure of the first scene very well – something that was groundbreaking in the 1996 version. A woman, who is alone in her house, answers her phone and talks to someone who is eventually revealed to be a killer in a ghostface mask, who then attacks and brutally kills her within the first 10 minutes. 

That didn’t happen this time. And I loved this movie for that. 

It flipped the very sequences that the Scream series invented on its head and gave hope for the rest of the movie, even allowing this character to live through the entirety of the film. 

Due to the newness overall, it allowed for uncertainty among the audience even down to the big reveal of who is wearing the mask. You could guess from the beginning who it is, but each scene has you reworking it in your mind to where you truly do not trust a single character on screen. 

Where the film truly shines though, in my eyes, is in its references to the other films, but particularly, the original. By bringing it back to the exact setting of all the horror at the climax of the original film, the pace is able to be mirrored in a really beautiful way. The rhythm is recognizable by the audience and there are even shots that, frame by frame, are exactly the same as the original. I really applaud the film for creating something where, as a fan, you know exactly what should come next – but it still unravels it in a way that differs. 

The best is of course reuniting with beloved characters – Sidney, Gale, and Dewey. The trio that has survived all the films up until this point shows their intelligence of the typical patterns we all know. Neve Campbell as always delivers her performance with grace that shines so bright in this style of film. Courteney Cox also comes through with her iconic style and sass, but also showcases a deep emotion that I found rather moving, especially in conjunction with her counterpart David Arquette. 

Additionally, the film is strengthened in the thing that makes the franchise stand out against all others in the first place: its self-awareness. In a monologue delivered by a new character, the concept of a “requel” is perfectly assessed, drawing out the concepts that define the slasher genre and set it apart from deeper and more nuanced horror films. 

Overall, this movie was rather weak and underdeveloped, but I truly did not anticipate anything more. 

While I adore the original film with all of my heart, I am rather exhausted with its recreations and I feel like the original cast is too. They always inevitably do not match the quality of the original and leave me frustrated in the end. It was still entertaining, which is overall a positive, but it is overused. I would be grateful if filmmakers chose to leave this franchise in the past and not continue to redo it. 

If they do though, I’ll certainly go see it. 

Lauren Serge

Ohio U '23

Lauren Serge is currently a junior at Ohio University, majoring in Journalism: Strategic Communication and specializing in Marketing and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. She is the current President and Co-Campus Correspondent for the Her Campus OU chapter. She enjoys writing, biking, spending time with her family, friends, and her dog, as well as catching up on her many favorite tv shows.
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