‘Scream’ copies much of original, adds new layer of shock value

Public domain image

Public domain image


Emma Newman co-editor-in-chief 

On the surface, 2022’s “Scream” is the fifth installment of the original franchise, but with a large number of new cast members. However, the film, at its heart, is a love letter to the first “Scream” movie. While its new spin, additional plot-twists and cast were entertaining, its heavy reliance on references to its 1996 predecessor made the film predictable and confusing. 

The movie starts out relatively similar to 1996’s version of “Scream,” with a teenage girl getting attacked by a mysterious stranger in a white Ghost Face mask. However, the movie quickly differentiates itself from the original by revealing that its protagonist, Sam Carpenter,  played by Melissa Barrera, is the daughter of Billy Loomis, the main villain in the first “Scream” movie, and is being targeted because of her lineage.

During the movie, the characters constantly say that the film’s villains are trying to recreate Stab 8, which is a continuation of the fictional “Stab” franchise from the first four “Scream” movies, as a “requel,” or a sequel to the original series that contains elements of a reboot by revisiting the original plot. This phrase is a sort of “wink” to the audience that explains what this “Scream” movie is attempting to accomplish. 

The idea alone is a brilliant one: in theory, by mixing together the best elements of the first movie while also containing characters, specifically Neve Campbell’s Sidney Prescott, Courtney Cox’s Gale Weathers and David Arquette’s Dewey Riley, the movie could recreate the success of the first film. 

However, the movie takes this mission too seriously. Throughout the film, the characters practically walk through the exact same scenes. Notably, the dialogue in the opening scene was almost an exact replica of the dialogue in the original movie, and the party at the end was in the exact same house. The film’s insistence on staying true to 1996’s “Scream” made it appear  uncreative and boring to someone who had already seen the original movie. 

On the other hand, because the movie is a continuation of the original franchise, it probably would be equally difficult to enjoy the movie without seeing the original. By focusing so much on the original characters and referencing the original plot in so many instances, the film fails to prove its desire to attract a new audience to the “Scream” movies. 

The movie is largely enjoyable to watch, though, and much of it is actually as entertaining as the movie it was based on. The fight scenes between the villains and the characters, especially the final showdown, are bloodier and have dialogue that rivals the original in its ingenuity. The fact that Sam is the daughter of Billy Loomis also adds a layer of complexity and nuance to the overall plot. 

The best part of “Scream” is the scenes with the movie’s former characters. The references to Gale and Dewey’s former love story are touching, and Sidney and Gale’s chemistry as friends shines through the screen. For those who have seen the original franchise, the former characters elicit feelings of nostalgia and joy. 

Overall, 2022’s “Scream” is both deeply flawed and relatively enjoyable, especially for viewers of the original “Scream” movie. That being said, the best thing for the franchise would be for this movie to be its last because no movie will ever compare to the perfection of the original. 

Highlights rates this movie: 2.5/5