Review: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin & Tyler Gillett’s SCREAM ’22

I know some of you may disagree, but I’m happy to be back in Woodsboro once again. Despite Ghostface and his iconic voice returning in the third season of “Scream: The TV Series,” all of the elements that make Scream what it really is were missing from that incarnation. As with Michael Myers and his horror series, if The Trinity return for any scary adventure, then I’m planting my ass in movie seat. Scream ’22 is different, though, because not only is it featuring new directors and writers – and their varying styles from the late Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson – but it feels like a different vehicle completely. And I’m here for the change. Scream ’22 has more action than previous installments and it’s certainly bloodier than the previous two. Cheers to the creators who brought the series back to its gory, balls to the walls glory. Here’s looking at you directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin & Tyler Gillett and writers James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick.

Writing this review is going to be incredibly difficult because I don’t like including spoilers in anything I do. However, there’s so much I want to talk about in regard to the plot. 25 years after the mass killing by Billy Loomis and Stu Macher, Ghostface begins targeting relatives of previous Woodsboro victims along with legacy characters. Now, two estranged sisters must work together with Sidney, Dewey and Gale to stop the murderer before they become his next disemboweled masterpieces. Neve Campbell, David Arquette, Courtney Cox and Marley Shelton (and other’s… sorry) return in Scream ’22 alongside series newcomers Melissa Barrera, Dylan Minnette, Jack Quaid, Jasmin Savoy Brown, Sonia Ammar, Mikey Madison, Mason Gooding Chester Tam and Jenna Ortega. Scream ’22 was edited by Michael Aller and features cinematography by Brett Jutkiewicz. James Vanderbilt, William Sherak and Paul Neistein produced with executive producer Kevin Williamson.

I cannot wait for this movie to get a physical release because it’s jampacked with Easter Eggs and homages to the previous four movies. In doing so, I think that Scream ’22 could have survived without the involvement or lesser involvement from The Trinity. The realism and actuality of Woodsboro is brought back to life with such velocity that you would still feel like you’re in a Scream movie without them. The locations, the music, the atmosphere, even the clothes – it all managed to feel like Wes Craven had his hands on this movie in some capacity. The only aspects that are truly different lie with the tone and the picture quality. Scream ’22 looks different than a Wes Craven movie based on style and the tone is darker. While the typical dry humor that fans are drawn too remains intact, Scream ’22 is much more serious than the previous two movies. It gives you the inclination that much more is at stake. Not only is The Trinity getting older and weaker, but Ghostface is much tougher and violent in this movie. It’s probably his most vicious act since the first film.

Not without its faults, Scream ’22 has cringe dialogue at times – especially in regard to its lead character, Sam. I don’t know why a few of her lines weren’t reworked. Also, I fail to latch onto the moment when there’s an abandoned hospital scene or a house party where no one goes outside at all ever scene. I understand these are ploys to get characters alone so they can be slaughtered, but it’s just not realistic with the approach. It’s easy, but not necessarily smarter. Speaking of realistic – and beware slight spoilers – the size of Ghostface in costume compared to his reveal out of costume is laughably different. It appears the killer gains a foot of height and 50 pounds whenever he needs to attack someone. Again, I understand this is a ploy to make him scarier and keep his identity a secret but damn. This time it was glaringly awkward when the killer is revealed. I heard someone in the audience say “that doesn’t make much sense” during the big reveal. Then again, I also heard someone in the audience say “Who’s Wes?” when the memorial showed at the end. Oh and the third act blood bath is kind of lackluster…

My next tattoo is going to be a Ghostface mask, so I may be a little biased, but I enjoyed Scream ’22 and thought it was worth the wait. It came back harder than before, just like Halloween and Spiral did. As with Scream 4, it’s the perfect blend of modern horror and frightful nostalgia. While I didn’t particularly care for most of the new characters outside of Mindy, I did enjoy watching them get stabbed to death. It paved the way for Scream 6 with ingenuity and brutality, and it did so unrelentingly. So many “wow” moments for so many different reasons will be had during your viewing. I laughed, I cried, I said “this is batshit crazy!” and I was hooked from start to finish. Was it perfect? No, but it was certainly a worthy addition to the series. If I had to rank the movies it would go – Scream ’96, Scream 2, Scream 4, Scream ’22 and Scream 3. I can’t wait to see what all of your opinions are going to be on this movie, but I’m giving it a 7.5 out of 10.

Written by Michael Therkelsen

(Senior Editor)

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