Almost every major horror franchise has arguably gone on for too long, and the law of diminishing returns inevitably sets in before the series eventually gets rebooted or remade. There might have been a TV spinoff that ran for three seasons, but Scream managed to avoid devolving into similar territory or have the studio try and cash in on the brand’s popularity by launching an all-new version.
The slasher genre was in dire straits when Wes Craven’s postmodern classic arrived in 1996, simultaneously embracing and deconstructing the established tropes with a wink and a nod towards the audience. Soon enough, a string of identikit and vastly inferior imitations were everywhere, but Scream has always remained the cream of the crop.
A decade after the last movie, the gang are now getting back together for a fifth outing, with shooting currently underway and the latest installment set for release in January 2022. In a recent interview, though, star Neve Campbell admitted that she had no idea that the franchise would go on to become so enduringly popular when she first played Sidney Prescott a quarter of a century ago.
The first Scream, none of us were anybody. Courteney Cox was only in the first year of Friends. I was in the first year of Party of Five. Matthew Lillard, David Arquette, Jamie Kennedy, Rose McGowan. All of us got these careers afterward. We were just young and innocent. I remember sitting around a bonfire and thinking, ‘Do you think if people see this movie that there might be a Halloween costume? Nah!’.”
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All four movies so far have received generally solid reviews, with the third entry the only one that doesn’t hold a Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and following Craven’s passing in 2015, new directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett will be looking to deliver a worthy sequel that both enhances and lives up to the legacy of the franchise. Having finally been convinced to sign on the dotted line and reprise her career-defining role, Campbell will be keen to pull out all of the stops as well and make sure that her return to the Scream universe proves to be more than worth the wait.