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Review: 'Scream' reboot parodies Hollywood reboots

Wes Craven’s horror franchise stabs its way back into cinemas in a satirical look at the horror film industry

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"From blood-splattering kills to making fun of typical Hollywood tropes, 'Scream' has long defied the typical conventions of horror while establishing a devoted fandom in the process." Illustration originally published Jan. 18, 2022.


The "Scream" franchise has always acted as a satirical look at not only the state of the horror film industry but also the film industry at large.

From blood-splattering kills to making fun of typical Hollywood tropes, "Scream" has long defied the typical conventions of horror while garnering a devoted fandom in the process.

The debut film in the franchise, released over 25 years ago, was a commentary on slasher films, poking fun at the cliches of horror movies, establishing tropes that characters would  follow.

The theme was so successful it has remained consistent throughout the franchise. 

The second movie acted as a commentary on sequels and on common industry trends at the time.

In the famous opening scene of "Scream 2," two Black characters are seen attending the premiere of "Stab," the "Scream" franchise's meta stand-in for the events of the first movie.

The characters playfully discuss the lack of representation in horror movies and how Black characters are often treated as expendable and killed early on in horror flicks.

The couple is then brutally murdered by the new Ghostface killer, providing a perfect example of the dark humor on display in the "Scream" franchise.

With standout practical effects and tense bloodlust-induced chase scenes, the Ghostface of "Scream" (2022) kills his victims with unforgiving brutality. 

One scene in particular uses stunning practical effects to deliver a kill straight to the jugular, with Ghostface's knife bulging out of the side of one of his victim’s neck.

The newest "Scream" continually displays brutal and over-the-top killings while also delivering a meta commentary on Hollywood as a whole, much like its predecessors.

With the original director Wes Craven's passing in 2015, the "Scream" franchise was handed off to Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillet, directors of the 2019 thriller flick "Ready or Not." 

The duo pays homage to Craven’s original franchise while ushering in a new generation of characters and viewers.

Jenna Ortega plays Tara Carpenter in the film, taking up the mantle of the new protagonist, which was previously Sidney Prescott, played by Neve Campbell. Her sister Sam Carpenter, played by Melissa Barrera, serves a similar role as the new leading lady.

While Ortega gives a pretty solid performance as Tara, Barrera struggles with the weight of carrying the "Scream" legacy on her shoulders.

With Barrera giving the same emotional beats, facial expressions and characterization throughout the film, it's difficult to get attached to her character.

Ortega displays a wide emotional range, convincing the audience of her pain, uncertainty and terror. Barrera struggles to show much more than a constant state of surprise. 

This poses an issue as the two women are the emotional base of the film's plot, carrying the more dramatic scenes. 

But the new characters don't take all of the spotlight from returning stars, an idea Mindy Meeks-Martin, played by Jasmin Savoy Brown, points out directly to viewers.

Her commentary focuses on "rebootquels," a term coined by Meeks-Martin in the film, and talks about the Hollywood formula for rebooting a franchise in the modern age.

With a seemingly "new" reboot hitting screens almost monthly, it seems as though recycling old franchises is the best way to make a quick buck in the film industry.

Meeks-Martin discusses using legacy characters like Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia in "Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens" as tools to bring back old audiences while telling a new story.

And "Scream" (2022) does the same thing.

Franchise frontrunners Dewey Riley, played by David Arquette, Gale Weathers-Riley, played by Courteney Cox and Sidney Prescott, played by Neve Campbell, all make a return.

The trio acts as veterans for the new "Scream" generation, guiding it through the ins and outs of the Ghostface killings and the rules needed to survive. 

The rest of the cast is fairly solid, with stiff acting and a mix of hormone-induced teenage emotion, the actors do their job when it comes to what they are there for — to be killed.

The movie is a solid horror flick. The kills are brutal, the message is relevant and the twists and turns are enough to keep the viewer entertained.


Reach the reporter at trricha2@asu.edu and follow @therrealtristan on Twitter.

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