Scream ★★

perfectly innocuous as modern teen slasher, relatively funny and gory when it counts, but every gesture towards being a piece of film criticism or a "legacy" sequel falls pretty flat and ultimately deflated a lot of the positive things i felt about it. some of the new kids are actually quite good (especially mikey madison 👀) but it has no idea how to incorporate them with its old guard characters beyond Force Awakens reverence which it then self-reflexively knows it should be embarrassed about. having no other reason to exist it simply updates all the annoying writing tics of these movies (that were previously tolerable because craven had the visual and sonic wit to pull them off) for an even more annoying era and with little-to-no formal chops to back it up. so much generic, tightly-framed handheld in this! why? craven was the god of the wide, anamorphic steadicam murder setpiece.

spent most of this being mildly amused but not being able to truly get into it beyond a couple well-conceived moments (the savage final girl bit in this is truly great despite the strange set-up for it) and i couldn't really put my finger on why until after. part of what makes these movies work so well for me personally was williamson guiding your brain in one direction with his writerly subversions (like some sort of dorky bullfighter), serving as a distraction for craven to sneak up behind with the genuinely visceral shocks of his horror junkie feedback loop stylization. this movie very confidently plots out and pays lip-service to doing these things but openly struggles to replicate the actual magic of it. again, this is mostly competent from moment-to-moment and its central idea about confronting franchise iconography via toxic fandom is not a terrible one (it was actually supposed to be used in Scream 3 or 4 at one point) and i guess i can't totally blame anyone here for just lacking the secret sauce but idk. disappointing.

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