The Nineties are back! And so is the defining meta-slasher whodunit of that era. Twenty-five years after the original Scream film was released in 1996, the franchise makes a dazzling return for more slicing, dicing and vicious twists.
Director Wes Craven and writer Kevin Williamson carved out a lasting legacy in the horror genre with their giddy teen horrors, and Radio Silence pick up the knife to affectionately pay tribute to Craven and play with the rules in exciting ways in a hugely entertaining reboot-sequel.
The film kicks off with the obligatory creepy phone call (discussing elevated horror) from Ghostface and a brutal murderous rampage. The target is Tara Carpenter (Jenna Ortega) whose estranged sister Sam (Melissa Barrera) returns to Woodsboro on hearing about the attack. She’s joined by boyfriend Richie (Jack Quaid bearing a distinct resemblance to Pacey Witter from Dawson’s Creek) to suspiciously point the finger at Tara’s close-knit group of friends. Mindy (a superb and spirited Jasmin Savoy Brown) is the new Randy, her brother Chad (Mason Gooding) is the jock dating pink-haired Liv (Sonia Ammar), Amber (Mikey Madison) is Tara’s best friend and Wes (Dylan Minnette) is the ‘Edward Snowden’ of the group. Kyle Gallner also appears as a dirt-bag stalking Liv. The talented Gen Z actors are joined by returning cast members Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, David Arquette and Marley Shelton.
If you watch all the Scream films today, they reflect the popular culture, fashion, technology, music (Nick Cave’s ‘Red Right Hand’ thankfully returns) and attitudes of the time. They’re like little horror time capsules; some hold up and some absolutely do not (ahem! Scream 3 and death by fax machine).
Here, the screenplay written by James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick cleverly taps into the current culture, targeting aspects of film fandom with humour, razor-sharp digs, as well as direct references to conversations dominating social media. Directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett whip up a tense and delightfully wired ambiance, delivering a gleefully violent slasher and the best Scream film since the original.
Scream is out in cinemas on 14 January