Scream (2022)

Full Disclosure: I guessed about 60 percent of the plot before I even saw a frame of the film. I didn’t see the trailer, just the poster. I used a rule they didn’t talk about in the film. And jeez, the first half of the film was just one character after another explaining the rules of the movie they’re in. It was relentless, the meta commentary.

Anyway, I solved the mystery with the Murder She Wrote/Columbo rule. I won’t say what it is, but you can look it up. I apply this rule to every mystery I watch and it’s right 90 percent of the time.

When the original, ingenious Scream came out, it set-off a spate of self-aware mediocre horror movies. And the new self-named (as I said so, so meta) requel, the self-awareness and Meta commentary, after a while, drags the film down. Funny thing, the more traditional horror elements—the kill scenes, the red herrings and the tone and pacing—were all solid and created some decent scares. There’s a good straight ahead horror film buried in Scream’s over cleverness. They made fun of jump scares and ‘elevated horror,’ but do deliver on the meat and potatoes horror set-ups. However, the film thinks it’s so clever, they basically tell you who the killer is and wink at it.

One of the characters even announces the beginning of the third act. Ugh. The movie is so self-aware, it became hard to be lost in the movie and, hey, I generally am OK with a movie being somewhat Meta (because the film medium kind of has meta baked-in), but this movie should have been set in Facebook’s Meta-verse it’s so meta.

Thing about horror movies, yes, they may have some rules to survive one, but horror as a genre is designed to break those rules to make genuinely great horror movie.

There’s so much to like in Scream: the pacing, the kill set-pieces, the actors and much of the pre-built world with a sense of legacy. And a lot of the horror movie references are clever Unfortunately, Scream doesn’t have one genuine, non self-aware moment in it’s whole runtime. There are two decent twists I didn’t see coming. Also, apparently land lines still exist and a CGI Skeet Ulrich is the most horrifying element.

And, in horror tradition, most of the high school students remain in their mid-thirties.