After the 1980s had been dominated by iconic serial killers Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger, all of whom starred in a glut of sequels that respectively ran the Halloween, Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street franchises into the ground, the slasher movie was on its knees by the mid-90s, with fans having lost almost all interest in what was formerly one of horror’s most popular subgenres.
That all changed when Scream arrived in 1996, as Wes Craven teamed up with first-time screenwriter Kevin Williamson to deliver a smart, scary and self-aware postmodern classic that revitalized the entire concept of the slasher. The story started off with a shocking opener that saw Drew Barrymore, comfortably the biggest name in the cast, get killed off in the opening scene to show that the rules of the game had changed.
Scream is widely regarded as one of the most influential horror movies of the last 25 years, and went on to launch a hugely popular franchise. The fifth installment has now finished shooting and is set to hit theaters in January 2022, with Ready or Not directors Tyler Gillett and Matt Bettinelli-Olpin crafting a continuation of the mythology that will pay tribute to Craven’s work.
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In a recent interview, producer William Sherak revealed how 2022’s Scream has been designed to cater to both longtime fans of the series and new audiences that wouldn’t have even been born when the first movie came out, explaining:
“Our goal is that if you’re in the younger zone of getting into horror and you haven’t seen the original Screams, this should deliver what that did. And I think that’s our tie-back. As opposed to going into story points of how we do it, it really is that we tied to develop a movie in the Scream franchise where if you’re a huge fan like all of us of the original Scream, it delivers what Scream movie should deliver. And if you haven’t seen any of them because you’re 19 years old or 17 years old whatever it is, and it came out a while ago. It should hopefully feel like what that felt like back in the 90s. And deliver that experience of true horror mixed with some fun that gives you an entrance point into really loving the genre going home.”
Horror sequels have always been a mixed bag, but this particular franchise has largely maintained a solid level of quality across the four entries so far, and with the new directors having already shown plenty of skill and talent in subverting the tropes of the genre before in Ready or Not, Scream stands every chance of living up to the reputation and precedent set by Craven’s beloved movies.