Flailing like the fish to gut-like on call 25+ years ago to keep IP & meta-edge alive, Scream joins a chronic barrage of gauche legacy sequels & indefatigable franchises corely against its founding principles: worse by audacity to challenge name. 4.2/10.
Plot Synopsis: Twenty-five years after a streak of brutal murders shocked the quiet town of Woodsboro, Calif., a new killer dons the Ghostface mask and begins targeting a group of teenagers to resurrect secrets from the town’s deadly past.
*Possible Spoilers Ahead*
Official CLC Review
Flailing like the fish it first threatened to gut like 25+ years ago to desperately keep the franchise alive, Scream joins a chronic barrage of ~gauche, comprehensively-unnecessary, and diminishing returns legacy sequels for empty box-office platitudes [getting even worse by the shameless, brazen audacity to challenge and besmirch the original’s name: here, betraying and slashing the original IP’s core founding principles of punk anti-franchise-establishmentarianism]. Though it nicely-uses its legacy characters (Sidney stops a new wave, Gale moves on from writing about killers, and Dewey gets a *spoiler* heartbreakingly-tragic, epic, twisted death on-screen), diversity-balances its characters capably acted by a recognizable/resuméd cast led by a brilliant *spoilers* Stu-channeling performance by Jack Quaid, and features some good metaisms on requels, expectation fake-outs, the IQ-heavy thrills of ‘elevated’ horror vs. visceral pulse ones of slashers and blockbusters, and the love/toxicity of fandoms,.. ~everything else sucks.
The kills are absolutely terrible: the worst of any slasher movie I’ve seen in a few years even in its weak-ass opening scene (Jenna Ortega lacks *any* semblance of the X-factor Drew Barrymore had) to its countless survivors Ghostface couldn’t even kill at close-range with no one around him [even with a f*cking gun that wholly-contradicts the entire point of a genre called slashers, not copout easy-kill shooters], apart from Dewey’s and the Amber reveal both so only good because of the jolt of shock-value than by its plothole/stupidity execution. For a franchise founded on meta and in the 21st century, these characters are offensively just as dumb as typical slasher husk-fodder lambs – no security systems or locked doors (not counting the opening scene), the sheriff goes out and leaves her son alone just to pick up food when the killer’s on the loose, they have parties in town, people go out alone at night after GF’s, and Dewey – worst of all – literally has the killer on the floor shot down incapacitated and doesn’t cuff or unmask and turn him in. Yikes.
Though we appreciate the hyperdiverse People Of Color [POC] cast balancing ~every demographic, they handled it terribly in execution: literally only the white characters all get (brutally) murdered or are the killers while every POC escapes/survives miraculously a face-to-face confrontation alone with a Ghostface with absolutely zero reason to spare them. We’re POC ourselves, and hate both tokenism corporate checkboxes, one-dimension characters having to adhere to the politically-correct accreditation rules, and this condescensive x racist notion we are so fragile, we can’t handle seeing even one POC ever do wrong or (even more inexplicably) get killed.. in a horror movie. For a movie with the vexing audacity to say Scream 4 sucked, it literally proves it right and prognosticable: they warned us the only way to survive a slasher film in the 2010’s-on was to be POC or LGBTQ+.. just like all survivors are here. Hmm, playiong into the new-age modern horror movie clichés/tropes it screams at you it’s subverting. Sure, the Scream films have always featured social commentary: from ’96’s sex liberation and white male angst to Jada’s opening scene adlibs on black horror movie characters to III’s proto-MeToo exposition on Hollywood to IV’s scarily-spot-on analysis of fame and a generation willing to do anything to anyone for it (*I don’t need friends, I need followers*).. but those were handled with nuance and not as obvious as taking 2 seconds to do a head-count and see all of the murder victims or murderers are of one color. POC being racist back just because we can now isn’t exactly good revenge: one that does nothing but fuel further hatred and division making the world blind when the demographic clearly targeted will predictively get fight back and rebel against an otherwise-great, organic, natural use of what could’ve been a groundbreakingly-diverse cast.
Finally, there are eye-rollable basic s/requel decisions throughout to make the film far from the epic meta godsent jesus second-coming it believes it is: the same house, setting, dual-killers, and even multi-exact kill/background recreations in a film that basically copies 90% of the original and can’t survive without it. Oh, and a terrible to decision to basically have not one,.. or two,.. but THREE Sidney Prescotts or new-Sidneys now. Who wrote this? There is too much Scream material to continually justify new half-baked paper films in this franchise: almost all of them better, especially on TV: Scream Queens (best Scream IP project of all-time: better killer, new setting outside Woodsboro perfect for slashers: f/srat college houses, and entirely different tone balancing just as much comedy with horror), or even MTV’s Scream (far more involving TV version of the IP with the best reveal, 2nd best opening kill perhaps even tied with the original it modernizes, and kills). Please, lay Ghostface to rest already – we’re going to be sick if we ever see one more reference/challenge to the originals or step foot in Woodsboro again. We’re sorry, Wes.
Official CLC Score: 4.2/10