In March, the horror film “Scream VI” by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett was released – a continuation of the 1990s slasher, filmed by completely different authors. The directors attempt to reinvent the genre and blend all known genre clichés into their new work. One of the main roles is played by Jenna Ortega, the star of the series Wednesday, which airs on New Year’s Eve on Netflix. Film critic Anton Dolin tells what the sixth film about a masked serial killer can offer the viewer.
A risky change for the horror franchise, its current writers and contributors have welcomed it. It’s about changing location. Ghostface now kills in New York, where the surviving characters from the previous reboot movie, released just over a year ago, went to live and study: sisters Sam (Melissa Barrera) and Tara (Jenna Ortega) , twins Chad (Mason Gooding) and Mindy (Jasmine Savoy Brown). The college, where the epidemic of senseless and bloody murder passes the baton, is an open borrowing from Scream 2, the sequel to the legendary first film in the series. Thus, before us again, as the intelligent Mindy teaches the public and at the same time to her comrades, “requel”, a remake-sequel.
The co-writers of the last two “Screams” – director duo Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett and screenplay by James Vanderbilt and Guy Busiek – are talented students and teachers themselves. They simultaneously pass a maturity exam and demonstrate a masterclass in reinventing material inspired by someone else (the author of the original Screams and a major figure in pop culture in the 1990s, Kevin Williamson, continues to executive produce the franchise).
It’s funny to think that the idea of working together goes back to the plot of the first “Scream”, replayed many times in the sequels: the killers acted in tandem and that’s why they were elusive. In fact, the original Scream trilogy was invented by a duo: postmodern horror master Wes Craven and young Williamson.
The sixth chapter of the endless saga has new creators. Does it follow that the coordinates given will change? The kill and survival rules here are copied from the original, but also reinvented – as we are now inside the franchise. So, explains the same Mindy to us, absolutely anyone can be a victim, yes, in principle, a killer. The main thing is to surprise the viewer. For a horror series to live, its characters must regularly go insane, mindlessly repeat fatal mistakes, and regularly die. But also to survive, despite many injuries, hardly compatible with life in real life.
The New York setting, thanks to which we finally separate ourselves from the city that has entered mythology, allows us to try out fundamentally new movements. For example, a murder in the middle of a crowded street or an attack by a maniac with a knife in a convenience store. Even in the park during the day one does not feel safe: the famous image of “loneliness in the crowd” finds fresh forms in the sixth “Scream”. The strongest scene in the new image is the parallel journey of two groups of friends on the New York subway at the height of rush hour, in the middle of Halloween. Each car contains a full catalog of monsters and maniacs in disguise, including several “Ghostfaces”. The car rumbles along the tracks, flashes and the lights suddenly go out, everyone is suspicious and seemingly dangerous, and the number of people around is insecure, only making the situation even more threatening. This is a relatively new type of suspense, resetting the system of phobias and screen laws introduced by Scream.
There are also other innovations here. Some of them are impossible to describe without spoilers, and the outcome in “Scream” must still remain unexpected; By the way, this task is adequately solved. You can talk about others.
The opening episode takes the ideology of the franchise to a whole new level. The girl on the date is an assistant professor who teaches film criticism, her specialization is slashers (the role is played by the new “queen of screams”, the Australian Samara Weaving – the niece of Hugo Weaving and the star of horror from the same Bettinelli-Olpina and Gillette). After studying all the rules of the genre, she immediately breaks them, as she doesn’t assume she’s inside the movie. But when “Ghostface” first materializes on the screen, even as the film has just begun, he suddenly takes off his mask and reveals himself incognito, that is, deprives the plot of the detective component. the most important. This is direct public trolling, a violation of an unspoken agreement.
Of course, all of the above is just a prologue to the main action, confusing and happening in a good way. A multi-level postmodern maze of references and quotes, including previous films in the franchise, is a mandatory attribute of Scream. And in this, the denouement is also placed in the space of an old New York cinema, transformed by a maniac into a temple of the “Ghostly Face” and all its incarnations. Here, every detail is iconic, including the soundtrack or the names of the characters (it’s not for nothing that the sisters Sam and Tara are named Carpenter, in honor of the creator of Halloween), some characters are walking reminiscences, which can determine their on-screen fate. Or not, because the most important rule here is to break the rules.
If in the 1990s “Screams” was a tribute to the era – mocking films that both exploited the slasher genre that was becoming obsolete before our eyes and analyzed it, then today’s “Screams” are a more global reflection on the theme of remakes, sequels and franchises that completely engulfed entertainment cinema (on the eve of Scream VI, Shazam 2 was released, in a few days you can watch John Wick 4, etc.). A series of deaths and resurrections of characters of the same type replacing each other turns into a wheel of samsara, paradoxically guaranteeing immortality to the fluid and changing art of cinema. Therefore, the bloody picture is charged with a kind of optimism.
More brutal and dynamic than many of its predecessors, Scream VI commands attention not so much for visual cruelty as for an ingenious mix of familiar and seemingly boring gameplay with moves, tricks and memes. And he does not forget to remind you that the nightmarish events on screen are nothing more or less than cinematic entertainment, allowing you to forget at least for a moment dangers more realistic than an invulnerable killer in a sweatshirt. hoodie and white mask. After all, we’ve known him for so long that we got used to him and almost fell in love with him.