If you’re uncertain whether Scream (2022) is another disappointing attempt at modern horror, look no further than this spoiler-free review. As of late, it’s not a stretch to claim that the horror films that come to cinemas have been rather stale, with many weak sequels and uninspired, unimaginative entries.
The first Scream film came out in 1996 and has since sparked several sequels which dabbled in a meta-commentary of the horror genre. 10 years after Scream 4 was released, the fifth film, Scream which shares the same title as the first film, is back and ready to offer yet another jab at the current state of horror films.
Does the film manage to live up to its franchise’s wittiness, or does it suffer from the same pitfalls as many recent horror films? *cough* Halloween Kills *cough* Carry on reading this spoiler-free Scream (2022) review to find out!
Scream (2022) takes place 10 years after the events of Scream 4. We follow a new cast of characters mixed in with some of the protagonists of the older films. I was a bit iffy on how the film strings together the new and old cast, but it takes shape pretty well later on.
While the film starts off on the right foot, I couldn’t help but feel that the large cast’s sole purpose is just to increase the body count. There is not enough screen time for each victim to get attached to them. The film attempts to do that, but doesn’t go anywhere with the shallow character development. That’s not to say that the murders aren’t fun to watch, though.
While the plot is predictable enough that it’s easy to guess who dies and whatnot, where the writing shines is in the dialogue. For fans of the older films, the gags and the jabs at the horror genre are impeccably executed and not pretentious like in Scream 4. The film even pokes fun at itself and its prequels. Overall, there is almost never a dull moment seeing the characters gain self-awareness.
Horror and Acting
Make no mistake, the horror aspect of the movie is pretty solid. While there’s nothing too memorable or unique, Scream (2022) builds suspense pretty well. While characters occasionally commit the same mistakes and clichés that the film criticizes, the fear and the struggle of the victims are palpable. It’s not heart-thumpingly scary, but at least it’s not boring.
One horror element of the film which left much to be desired was the sound. The sheer frequency of the sound effects does take away from the suspense somewhat. The spooky sounds which play before the climax of a suspenseful scene give them away, which feels annoying at times.
Surprisingly, as a horror-slasher, Scream (2022) isn’t as bloody as you might think. There are still some visceral scenes and gore here and there as warranted by its 18+ age rating, but it’s not a gorefest. Characters bleed, but not all over the place.
For this spoiler-free review, I had the opportunity to watch Scream (2022) ahead of the theatrical release of the film in Malaysia. Sadly, if you’re watching this movie in Malaysia, you’re going to miss out quite a bit. I’ve counted about 5 or 6 moments where the sound and visuals are cut out entirely in the opening sequence alone.
While censorship does get a little less frequent as the film progresses, it’s still pretty annoying. While cutting out swears and curses are distracting, the worst offender is the censoring of the murder scenes. If you’re in it for the bloody bits like me, you’ll be thoroughly disappointed. Though, the blame isn’t on the film, it’s on the Malaysian Censorship Board.
Scream (2022) is without a doubt, one of the better entries in the franchise’s 26-year history, which is a rarity in today’s current climate of subpar film reboots and revivals. There’s suspense and smart commentary on the genre—the two big things that a Scream movie should have, and it nails them down.
While the film is rough around the edges here and there, it’s still an enjoyable watch overall. There were several moments when other cinemagoers burst out laughing due to references that were made. While it won’t be the 2022 horror film to beat, I’ll still highly recommend it to fans of Scream.
Commentary on the horror genre is on point
|Poor character development|
|Suspense is built and executed well||Overused sound effects|
Malaysian censorship detracts from a lot of the good parts
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