Full disclosure, I love three out of four of Wes Craven’s Scream movies. Ghostface is my default Halloween costume, I quote the first one frequently, and many of my friends have heard some rendition of my “Scary Movie shouldn’t have made fun of Scream because Scream is already a much better parody of horror movies” rant. And I’m not even against remakes, sequels, or spin-offs, but… when Spyglass announced they were making another Scream movie, I wasn’t thrilled. Here’s why.
Making Scream 5 Is a Mistake
Different Brain Trust
Very few horror franchises are as synonymous with their director as the Scream movies are with Wes Craven. Craven didn’t stick with “The Hills Have Eyes” or “Nightmare on Elm Street” for the multitude of sequels and remakes, Sean Cunningham never directed a “Friday the 13th” film where Jason Voorhees was the villain, and James Cameron only really directed “Aliens.”
However, to date, every big-screen Scream film has been directed by Wes Craven, and everything Scream has been written Kevin Williamson. The same brain-trust has been essential in creating the Scream universe. That’s why, for better or worse, all four movies have the same feeling.
I personally really liked Scream 4, though I wish they would’ve ended it differently (I hate to promote a website I don’t profit from, but here’s an article I wrote about that very subject years ago). However, it didn’t do really well in the box office, and the rumored second trilogy quietly disappeared. So I guess my question is, if the brilliant minds of Williamson and Craven couldn’t make Scream 4 a box office hit, why would it succeed without them?
Missing the Point?
Scream is so brilliant because it is a functioning horror movie that makes fun of horror movies. It’s predicated on two things. Firstly, a masked man that calls his victims before he kills them. And secondly, on the cliches and tropes of the slasher genre. Neither thing is really relevant in 2019.
Firstly, nobody really talks on the phone anymore. That’s the most millennial thing I’ve ever typed, but with a multitude of social media apps capable of sending messages and videos instantly, it would be hard to imagine a realistic movie where several teenagers are constantly talking on the phone. This is something the fourth movie struggled with.
And secondly, slasher movies aren’t really in vogue. It seems like most horror films either drift towards dark comedy (Ready or Not, Happy Death Day 2U), thought provoking allegories (A Quiet Place, Us, Get Out), or good ol’ clowns (It, and It: Chapter 2). Making fun of a genre that isn’t really relevant seems pointless, and like a questionable financial decision.
The Bottom Line
So without the original geniuses that made the cutting-edge series, during a time when staples of the franchise are irrelevant, after it’s already been proven the franchise doesn’t have the box office power that it once did, why make this movie? It’s not even a cash-grab, because as established, the last film barely made any money.
I’ll never complain about more Ghostface content, but it feels like Spyglass will have to totally reinvent the series to make it profitable, at which point… why do it at all? I don’t know, I’ll probably go see it, but I just don’t understand how it’s still relevant in 2019.