‘Scream’ directors had to escape from ‘director’s jail’ to make the movie

scream
Image via Paramount Pictures Studios

Scream is now in theaters and continues the franchise’s reputation for witty and tense horror with a deep knowledge of the genre. One of the best things about the new release is how it refers to more recent movies like The Babadook and It Follows, perhaps hinting that the traditional slasher is getting outdated.

The movie was made by filmmaking collective Radio Silence, consisting of producer Chad Villella and directors Tyler Gillett and Matt Bettinelli-Olpin. They had a big hit in 2019 with Ready or Not, though have now explained that they had to painstakingly restore their name with studios after an early flop.

Speaking with Collider, they said 2014 found footage movie Devil’s Due landed them in “director’s jail”:

“We got this big break! I mean, we were gonna make a studio movie and that was the most exciting thing in the world. I remember literally having a conversation where we were like, ‘We’re getting the opportunity to make a studio movie.’ Just take everything out of it. Just to have had that experience as a movie fan is just incredible. And then to have it not be embraced with open arms, as you so kindly put it, I think it toughened us in a lot of ways. Our next movie after that was Southbound and it was this nice back-to-basics thing. ‘Director’s jail’ is very real, no matter what anybody says. [Laughs] We weren’t making another studio movie and we had to go prove ourselves again.”

But just because audiences and critics don’t like a movie doesn’t mean it doesn’t have fans, and they credit Devil’s Due with landing them Ready or Not:

“You never know in the moment what the outcome will be in the future. We found out on Ready or Not that the reason Tripp [Vinson] and Jamie hired us to direct that movie is they loved Devil’s Due. And they called the studio and asked how were we to work with, and everyone that we worked with, these people that I told you we have really close relationships with to this day were like, ‘They’re incredible. You should absolutely work with them.’ And we never thought in a million years that Devil’s Due would be responsible for us getting to be involved in one of the greatest projects I think we’ll probably ever work on, Ready or Not.”

After two back-to-back hits, it appears the directors have secured a get-out-of-jail-free card for the time being. Scream has grossed $85 million against a $24 million budget in its initial 10 days, and, like most horror films, will also likely have long legs on digital rental and streaming.

All this may mean a new killer will be under the Ghostface mask in the future. Star Neve Campbell has said that there are “always more stories to be told in Woodsboro” and indicated she’d return for further sequels. Here’s hoping confirmation isn’t too far away and the same writing and directing team gets the gig.

Scream is now in theaters.