How ‘Scream’ (2022) Compares to it’s Predecessor


Delaney Hallahan, Managing Editor

Since the release of the first movie of the ‘Scream’ franchise in December of 1996, fans have debated over the idea of a sequel being produced and whether it would ruin the original plot or enhance it. Twenty-Six years later, fans are left with four sequels, a short Television series, and a brand new movie that came out this year, January 14th of 2022. Baring the same name as the first film, ‘Scream’, the 2022 box office hit surpassed its previous film’s box office sales in just one week, according to an article in Forbes by Scott Mendelson, “Scream once again topped the daily box office on Thursday with $1.4 million, a drop of 5% from its $1.55 million Wednesday gross. This means that Scream (aka Scream 5) has passed the unadjusted $38.18 million domestic cume of Scream 4 in just a week.”

Although the anticipation and excitement caused ticket sales to fly the first week of showings, fans were quick to take to the internet to speak their minds. As a Scream fan myself, I had to see this film the minute it came out with my other horror fanatic friends, most of them enjoyed the movie (without seeing the previous four films) whereas my fellow Scream franchise friend was thoroughly disappointed. I would like to explore and dig deeper into the horror tropes of the Scream franchise and dissect why I believe fans were left with a knife in their heart. This is a formal warning that there will be spoilers inside of this review to leave a fair analysis without leaving out major plot points, I strongly urge you to give this flick a watch since it is an entertaining horror film by itself.

Before we dive into analyzing this film, I would like to mention the talented cast involved, many fresh faces were introduced in this one film alone along with the return of some recognizable names. On the rise teen actress, Jenna Ortega (Tara), is a new name in the horror community. Ortega, previously a Disney Channel star, has found herself in multiple horror flicks this year like ‘X’ an A24 film released in March, and ‘Studio 666’ featuring the Foo Fighters, released in February. Melissa Barerra (Sam) plays Tara’s sister along with her quirky boyfriend played by Jack Quaid (Richie). Returning cast from the original Scream (1996) is Neve Cambell (Sidney Prescott), Courteney Cox (Gale Weathers), David Arquette (Dewey Riley), and drumroll, please…Skeet Ulrich (Billy Loomis). Unfortunately, Matthew Lillard (Stu) was not involved in this film however he did show support for his fellow actors on social media.

A quick mention of Dylan Minette (Wes Hicks) is needed since he is this film’s equivalent to Drew Barrymore. For those unfamiliar, Drew Barrymore was the poster actress for ‘Scream’ (1996) playing Casey Becker, the opening kill. Any and all media produced for the original movie featured Barrymore in promo photoshoots, interviews, and trailers which pulled people in to see the film, eventually, these movie-goers would see that Barrymore is only in one scene at the very beginning of the film. Similarly to Casey Becker is Wes Hicks. Knowing Minette as front-man for the indie band ‘The Wallows’ I knew this casting would pull an audience, however, I did not expect Wes to be one of the only characters with depth and charm to be killed suddenly and with little to no explanation as to why. But I guess that’s just how ‘Scream’ does it.

The relationship of the killers in the first film is a reaching concept, but the idea of Stu acting as he was peer pressured (whether he was or was not) creates a more realistic perspective for teens who seem strong and confident in their destructive decisions but when true conflict erupts they fall apart. It especially highlights toxic relationships like Stu’s and Billy’s, the ringmaster and the follower whereas the killers in the 2022 film were bland and not believable. Not to mention the reveal was pretty obvious due to the dialogue and the actors’ approach. It was definitely not the acting ability that was bad, but rather how the actor had processed the script and how they decided to present it. The original reveal was shocking, whether you guessed whodunnit or not it leaves you gasping as Stu pulls out his voice effect box and as Billy exposes his true intentions with Sidney.

 The motive of the new killers is sudden and felt lazy. You’re murdering this poor victim’s family because you didn’t like the movie sequels based on their torment? So a crazed fan takes matters into their own hands is the motive. The fact that I am writing this review only proves the point of the movie’s critique on the horror community (though, of course, I will not become a crazed fan and do destructive things. But I digress), people will take things way too far and even pressure writers to change how they approach a film. This topic has been covered by many writers and filmmakers like Stephen King in ‘Misery’. I understand what the writers were trying to do but it simply came off as making fun of the horror community and not as clever or philosophical.

Now, a simple conclusion to this review would be to answer the question, “Should you watch this film?” and the answer is…yes. Overall it is an entertaining horror film that definitely holds your attention for the one hour and forty-five-minute runtime, it still contains classic cliches and tropes from horror movies while bringing in new actors and impressive gore effects. When it comes to comparing the 2022 film to the rest of its parenting franchise, I cannot help but favor the original film and the few following it. The acting is superior in the first films, with shock factor, and little to no plot holes. However, in the 2022 version, the plot is lost in the gory kills with little to no motive. The killers were way too obvious and not in an ironic way.

 If you’re a long-term horror fan you might find this film a fun addition to its franchise but beware of the exaggerated irony and cliches that may leave an unsatisfying taste in your mouth. Definitely watch the first film from the ‘Scream’ franchise if you’re looking for an introduction to horror films. Please don’t be discouraged after this review, It’s my job to over-analyze as a ‘Scream’ Fanatic. A mildly satisfying end to the story and a fun throwback to the films that frightened and comforted us. I cannot wait to see these actors continue their careers, though I may push this one to the back of their resumes. So please dear reader, tell me… “What’s your favorite scary movie?”.