The original Scream is one of my very favorite movies, with each sequel entertaining me less and less while at least being somewhat enjoyable still even by 4. I've been hoping for the reviews to convince me one way or another on how much of a priority I should make this new film, and I swear every time I read a positive one, then I see a negative one, positive, then negative. Which fortunate critic will knock me off of this see saw in either one direction or the other?

Expand full comment

Two personal Scream-related tidbits for you: 1. Keith and I met in New York City at the junket for Good Will Hunting and Scream 2 in New York. I had never been to NYC or a junket (the latter we'd give up pretty quickly-- very unseemly), and I just happened to sit next to Keith at the screening for GWH. As two Midwestern cinephiles, we hit it off well and chatted all weekend. (I knew Keith by his byline, since my roommate subscribed to The Onion print edition by mail.) I was in grad school at the time in Miami FL, and The Onion was looking for a writer to head up the A.V. Club in Chicago, where they were setting up shop in 1998. I did not get that job, but I was able to freelance for about a year and a half while working on my M.A., and I was brought up in '99. Anyway, Keith and I bonded over being the only people in the room who were ho-hum on GWH, though I confess to coming around on it (a little bit) since. 2. At the Scream 2 junket, I learned an important entertainment journalist lesson: Never tell the talent what you actually think of a movie, even when asked. Courteney Cox wanted to know what I thought about Scream 2 and babbled out my mixed feelings about it as politely as I could. Then when it came time in the roundtable for me to ask a question of her, it did not get an expansive response to say the least. (Though it's possible I was simply inept at my job.)

Expand full comment

Scott, I don't know if you've seen THE EMPTY MAN but I finally caught up with it over the weekend, and it's the breath of non-franchise fresh air your review is SCREAM-ing for. The horror genre's MARGARET!

Expand full comment

I thought that there was more going on than the recycling that this review talks about. Spoilers ahoy (I’ll try to keep them vague).

Eg the way that the film’s title- far from being an indicator that it’s embarrassed about being a sequel - is part of the commentary on soft fan-service reboots like Halloween 2018 and The Last Skywalker; the theme of intergenerational trauma and guilt, which pushes an obsession that runs through Wes Craven’s entire filmography in a new direction; the way it plays with audience expectation, eg two characters in the movie foolishly go into the basement alone at different points; what happens to them?

And **major spoilers here involving the ending**

I wouldn’t call what happens to Tara just a new wrinkle. Every other slasher series is about the killer, while Scream has always been about the survivors. This takes it a step further, as well as writing off the villains as losers destined to be forgotten. The way that the casting & eventual fate of one character explicitly references & critiques a recent “change the real-life ending” movie is part of this.

It’s not a perfect movie but it’s hardly The Dream Child or A New Beginning in terms of series exhaustion.

Expand full comment
Jan 14, 2022Liked by Scott Tobias

"There may be more than one way to skin a cat, but the number is well under five" Haha, YES. Awesome.

I watched all the Scream movies for the first time last fall, and feel that there is one good movie, and 3 adequate re-workings of the exact same thing. I enjoyed running the series, which means that *sigh* I am part of the problem and will definitely watch this one if it is competently made and reasonably entertaining.

Expand full comment