REVIEW / FILM REVIEW – Eleven years after the fourth installment of the saga, Ghostface is back in “Scream”. As in the previous opus, the killer attacks a gang of young people helped by Sidney, Gale and Dewey. The rules of the killing game have changed, openly assures the film. A promise on which spectators should not count …
Scream : back to basics
Fans of Scream know the song by heart. A house in the small town of Woodsboro, a teenage girl alone at home and an evening disrupted by a phone call with a strange individual. The conversation starts normally, turns to horror movies and panic sets in when the voice at the end of the handset reveals that she is about to slaughter the designated victim. Fifth installment in a franchise that was self-sufficient as a trilogy – before Wes Craven returned to twist the slasher codes for his final feature film – Scream takes up the iconic opening of the first shutter.
But as the victim Tara emphasizes, the only character to arouse any attachment and embodied by Jenna Ortega (who was already the only interest of The Babysitter : Killer Queen), the 90s are far away. Fashion is now inelevated horror, these horror films with a complex subtext, to which Scream would not belong. This introduction thus promises a return to a brutality without name, to murders which try and to a self-analysis offering a complicity with the spectators as well as a delicious irony.
The footage also shows directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett (Wedding Nightmare) understand and appreciate the codes of the saga. The permanent games on the countless doors, the management of space which widens the corridors of a much smaller house seen from the outside to amplify the anguish of the internal pursuit between the killer and his victim, the pain of the blows knife … Everything is there and this fifth part begins rather well, or at least in a classic way if we put aside the fact that the heroine survives. Very quickly, everything collapses.
An over-explanatory scenario
There are many justifications in Scream. Before the essential box “For Wes” which obviously summons the emotion of the fans and tries to make people forget the two interminable hours which have just passed, they reach their climax during a discussion. All the suspects as well as the potential victims are then gathered in a living room and exchange on the operation of the franchise, but also on the interest of pursuing it with a “requel”, association between “reboot” and “sequel”.
Cleverly, the screenplay written by James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick (not Kevin Williamson) tackles the Hollywood-inspired breakdown, the need to bring back iconic heroes and shatter myths. The usual film lover of the band praises without directly naming the film the risks taken by Rian Johnson in Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi.
Risks that Scream does not take at any time, except perhaps during a central murder where only the stupidity of a character who lacks considerably in consistency jumps out in the eyes of the spectator, which completely destroys the symbolic aspect of the act. The rest of the time, the feature just repeats well-known situations by stretching them excessively. Rehearsals have always been at the heart of the saga. However, they assumed their openly comedic leanings and succeeded in thwarting the expectations of the spectators during the performances. Here, it is more the absences of the killer that surprise rather than his appearances, for the most part unsuccessful and rarely causing fear.
Laziness in the service of filthy cynicism
Scream therefore spends more time trying to explain his real purpose instead of proving that he has one. In the third act, a character ensures for example that this time, the story has real issues and that the revelation of the killers is finally surprising.
Stakes and surprises that the spectator keeps looking for once the end could not be more consensual pass. Apart from the development, which again goes through over-explanatory dialogues, of a relationship between two sisters played by Jenny Ortega and Melissa Barrera, the film tells absolutely nothing. No need to wait for anything from Sidney (Neve Campbell), Gale (Courteney Cox) and Dewey (David Arquette), poor props stripped of all substance.
A few minutes later, this same character launches into a speech that ridicules fans too attached to the franchise. What to make fun of part of the audience by hiding behind an irony never mastered, which it absolutely does not hide the cynicism of the company. Scream be happy with badly parody what it represents rather than attacking his time, which nevertheless offered him material. Apart from the centralized closure of a house during the introductory scene, the feature film does not play on new technologies or societal issues, preferring to take refuge behind a facade subversion. And liters of blood are by no means enough to fill the blatant lack of wickedness of this ersatz of its predecessors, who surpass it without any difficulty.
Scream by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, in theaters January 12, 2022. Above the trailer. Find all our trailers here.