Jan. 18, 2022

Horror Reboots Are KILLING Me!

Horror Reboots Are KILLING Me!

"Warning: This article contains full SPOILERS for the latest entry in the Scream franchise"

"Stop ruining my ending!!" This is an actual line spoken at the tail end of the latest Scream film by one of the killers (yes, killer-S, it's a Scream film, there's always two), and as I'm watching, it's hard not to sympathize with his plight. The ending of this movie was a boring attempt at a love letter to Wes Craven's original film that lacked any originality or fun. 

The same can be said for most of Scream 5's almost two-hour run time. A good movie is within it, somewhere in the deep dark depths. Unfortunately, it didn't make it to the screen, which seems the case with most horror/slasher reboots or requels, as we learned the phrase tonight. Franchises that we loved as kids from the 80s and 90s are trying to stay relevant when in reality, they should wind up like the victims we watch get sliced and diced: dead and buried.

Before we talk about Scream, there's no franchise more guilty of this than Halloween. I mean, deadly serious here; how many more fucking times can they bring Michael Myers back? At this point, possessed nor not, he's a damn geriatric. No one wants to see Jamie Lee Curtis try to take him out for the 800th time. If I'm anyone of reason or importance in poor fucking Haddonfield, I'm stealing a drone and blowing him up to pieces. Done, end of the franchise.

This in itself is a shame. Even before the latest reboot of Halloween, Rob Zombie was onto something with his. Despite his first entry being a shot-for-shot love letter of John Carpenter's original film, it was done so damn well that it didn't seem like there was any possible way for him to fuck it up. His remake remains one of my favorite horror films to this day. 

Who knows what happened with Halloween 2, because other than its opening act, it's a wild trip of a film that is both boring and unnecessary.

Unnecessary. That's the buzzword of this article. Why?

Because of the sequel/requel/reboot/franchise revival. Just like Richie is saying as he's trying to kill his girlfriend Sam in Scream, Hollywood doesn't have an original fucking idea left, so we wound up with yet another Halloween reboot, this time as a sequel, with new characters and... 63-year-old Jamie Lee Curtis. I don't mean to be ageist, but these are slasher films, and no one...no one asked for them. Their reputations and scores throughout the internet speak for themselves.

My thoughts exactly Jamie, my thoughts exactly 

Before we continue, what's a requel, you ask? As per a google search, a requel is "a movie which revisits the subject matter of an earlier film but is not a remake or a linear continuation of its plot.

Where does Scream fall in the reboot or requel categories? Does it fit into either? On paper, it's supposed to be a reboot. Unfortunately, the fifth entry in the franchise ends up just feeling like a sequel. Sure, the new characters are interesting, most notably the lead Sam (Melissa Barrera), the daughter of the OG Ghostface Billy Loomis. 

Even with that bombshell dropped early in the movie, the new Scream doesn't go anywhere cool with it. Sure, Sam goes apeshit on her former boyfriend, now mass-murderer in Scream's final moments, and says something along the lines of, 'don't mess with the daughter of a serial killer,' but that line is never truly earned. Of course, they're not going to make the daughter of the original Scream ghost face the killer in the new one.

Sam (Melissa Barrera) is a great and complex character, but a wasted opportunity for something greater.

And that's Scream's most significant issue. The film, while its characters who are all superfans of the very meta Stab movies preach how Hollywood doesn't take risks and how all the sequels to Stab sucked, are asking you by almost breaking the fourth wall to trust that Scream 5 isn't doing that when it fact, that's precisely what they're doing.  

In fact, Scream is more a remake of the first film, meant to pay tribute to its creator, the late great Wes Craven. Even one of the leads in the movie is named Wes (And he's NOT the killer?!). But would Wes Craven have been happy with this film? I'm not so sure. Scream treats its audience like a bunch of idiots. David Arquette's Dewey straight up tells the audience who the killer is less than midway through the film. And just a few minutes after that, something so unforgivable in a movie trying to keep viewers guessing who the killer might be takes place.

Ghostface doesn't kill Richie. 

In this instance, he (or she actually) doesn't even attempt to kill him. Just a light cut on the arm. Jack Quaid doesn't do himself any favors here acting-wise, either. He is so twitchy for the rest of Scream that it becomes so obvious that you just want the movie to end. And when Richie and Amber (Sam's sister's best friend) reveal their motives for killing everyone, they're so incredibly dumb that I almost walked out.

Maybe I psyched myself out for the latest Scream film. I'm a massive fan of the first couple of movies. Seeing all the positive reviews for this one made me think that the twists and turns had to be something new and exciting.

I walked into Scream with the deep belief that Sidney Prescott, the hero of the original films, was going to end up becoming Ghostface. It would have been original, it would have made some sense contextually, and it simply would have been fresh. Hell, it could have even been Dewey. He left Gale, was forced to retire as Sheriff of Woodsboro. He said it himself, he's been stabbed nine times. There's motive.

Speaking of missed opportunities...

Sidney being the target of four of the movies before this one is enough to make anyone snap. And the fact that she's a mom makes it even more shocking and tragic if it is her. 

What we got instead was a movie that's way too meta for its own good. What we got instead was a movie whose main characters pandered to their audience with fan service that went way too far. What we got instead was a Scream film that had an awesome effects budget with little heart.

And therein lies the problem with all recent horror/slasher films. They're all lacking originality, and they're all lacking heart. You can't have a killer rip out some tweens heart if there isn't one to begin with. For Wes? 

It should have read, Sorry, Wes." I'd say see you in two years for the almost guaranteed Scream 6, but I won't be in the audience.