Scream (2022), review. Ghostface returns with a sharp knife

A house in the middle of nowhere. The girl lights the fire and prepares to prepare popcorn. That’s when the phone rings: “What’s your favorite scary movie?”the killer asks. What at first seems like an innocent act soon turns into a macabre game where failure is practically synonymous with death. So begins the original Scream movie and so does this remarkable sequel, which not only updates itself to current times, but does so without betraying the classic formula.

In 1996 we all had landlines. The smartphone era had not yet arrived and the Internet was almost science fiction. Over the more than two decades that have passed, communications have evolved. We receive stimuli through screens and we instantly interact with other people: it is the moment of social networks, of appearances and of the immediate.

Under that layer of modernity, that Scream (2022) collects and integrates perfectly, are the same ingredients that made this classic of the slasher. The saga devised by the late Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson returns with a film that follows the rules of the genre, manipulates them and introduces them into the dialogues themselves.

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Ghostface: a mystery, metacinema and humor, what works

The feature film directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett makes mention of other horror films, but at the same time, the metalanguage references the film within the film. In the cinematic universe that has been built, the Stab saga is based on the work of journalist Gale Weathers (Courney Cox) and shapes the collective imagination about what happened in the small town of Woodsboro. Metacinema reaches a higher level when these references touch even the original film.

Sidney Prescott (Neve Campell), Dewey Reley (David Arquette) and Gale herself lived their own horror story in their multiple encounters with the different Ghostfaces. Under the mask, anyone can be the killer, a mystery that articulates the suspense of the script and that is maintained almost until the end. We know that at least one of the people in the circle of friends or relatives of the protagonists is involved, because Dewey himself drops the idea. After all, he speaks with the voice of experience (and with a few stab wounds and scars to prove it).

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In some ways, Sid, Dewey and Gale help the new protagonists navigate the swamplands of suspicion. Twenty-five years after the Woodsboro murders, Ghostface chases a group of teenagers, whom they try to knife to death. Scream’s writers are comfortable with humor and metacinema, and while the dramatic stuff doesn’t always work (for example, the relationship between the two sisters is a bit bland), the whole packs the punch.

Beyond the enigmas and the whys, to a slasher are asked imaginative kills, since in these films, in a somewhat twisted way, the murders are part of the humor. In the movie theater, laughter rang out as the knife pierced the skin of one of the unfortunate teenagers.

The new Scream may be more of the same, but behind the project care and respect for the work is perceived. That is transmitted to the screen and makes this sequel (or recall, as films that continue the story back to the origin are now called) a film as worthy as it is fun, a highly recommended product.

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