I remember exactly the first time I watched the VHS tape of ‘Panic‘. It carried in its slogan the warning: “Death is out there. Don’t answer the phone. Do not scream. Try not to panic.“. The cover featured an image of the Drew Barrymore with wide eyes and a frightened expression. In the first few minutes, I fell in love with the production, with the impactful opening scene that killed the best-known name of the film’s cast in a brutal, cruel and terrifying way. Despite my young age, I already knew that horror would become a cult classic. And then success came.
The second film was released just a year later and delved much deeper into the Sidney Prescott drama (Neve Campbell), a girl pursued by the figure of a Ghostface – whose story became a hit movie called ‘Stab‘. After a successful sequel, the franchise began preparing its third – and “last” – film, which was supposed to end a trilogy.
However, the entire script of ‘panic 3‘ had to be rewritten and the project ran into several production issues. the idea of Kevin Williamson was to bring Sidney back to a cursed Woodsbooro to witness a new massacre among the young people of the city, but the idea was stopped after the Columbine Massacre – when two young men entered a school and killed several teenagers claiming to have been inspired by movies.
the screenwriter Honor Kruger, from ‘The call‘ was hurriedly called upon to change the scene to Hollywood and bring in adults being chased by the Ghostface during the filming of ‘Stab 3‘, also changing the tone of the franchise and adding much more humor than horror – which made this one the least liked by most fans.
Eleven years later, Wes Craven e Kevin decided to revitalize the franchise with ‘panic 4‘, bringing back the “Legacy Cast” (Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox e David Arquette) for yet another Ghostface killing spree after Sidney returns to Woodsboro to promote his book. What no one expected was that the supposed “new final girl” was, in fact, the psychopath Jill Roberts (Emma Roberts), Sidney’s cousin who would rather have fans than friends. I think the final twist is brilliant, but there weren’t many loose ends or cast left to continue the trilogy and, with the low revenue in theaters, the franchise seemed to have been buried for good, especially after the death of the brilliant. Craven in 2015.
But no successful franchise stays dead long in Hollywood, do they? With the success of the “revival” of ‘Halloween‘, Paramount Pictures acquired the rights to ‘Panic‘ and rightly decided to follow suit. The new terror is a “requel” (reboot and sequel). Entitled just ‘Panic‘, the film brings back its original surviving cast to pass the baton to a new generation, and it delivers EVERYTHING it promises.
Right in the opening scene we realize that the tone of the franchise will be the same as the original work, much scarier and realistic and with less humor. The metalanguage is still present, in a more serious and well-written way than in the previous sequels. ‘Panic‘ continues to recognize his legacy, but understands that cinema has changed in recent years – and he knows how to play with it in a genius way. The jokes involving the so-called “postmodern horror” of films like ‘babadook‘ e ‘Hereditary‘ are hilarious and accurate.
The death scenes are much more brutal and gore, now with a Ghostface even more bloodthirsty that will leave a trail of guts and despair in its wake, in a way far more terrifying than its predecessors. This movie is a love letter to the franchise, to Wes Craven and for fans of feature films and the horror genre.
Tyler Gillett e Matt Bettinelli-Olpin bring wit, suspense and humor in a more elaborate way to remind us how the saga still has the breath to scare us – and managed to convince Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette to return once again. Sidney is more bad-ass than ever, Gale is on a journey to be a better person and Dewey delivers one of the MOST AMAZING scenes in the entire franchise.
The script of this new chapter brings a much deeper and sharper character development than the previous film, making us care about them. And the great success of a horror movie is to make you empathize with the characters so that you suffer when one of them is brutally murdered. And believe me, you will suffer a lot.
We also have the brilliant young cast, which has the super competent Melissa barrera and the wonderful Jenna Ortega stealing the show. Jack Quaid, Dylan Minnette, Marley Shelton e Jasmin Savoy Brown They also deserve due credit for their performances.
‘Panic‘, of 2022, is the second best film in the franchise, right behind the first. It delivers everything it promises and then some, packed with action, shocking deaths, quirky humor and jaw-dropping plot twists. I was a little disappointed with the final big reveal, which could have been better crafted and with a more understandable pace, but that doesn’t affect the production result. It’s the movie the franchise needed to resurrect, setting the tone and bringing in a new group of young stars that are sure to be very appetizing for Ghostface to return in upcoming films.