Thursday, January 27, 2022
Jan. 27, 2022

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Slasher franchise ‘Scream’ back for 5th dose of horror


The fifth “Scream” movie hits theaters today, arriving 25 years after the first film in the franchise brought the slasher subgenre back to its feet. If you’re a “Scream” fan, this film’s release should be honored with a streaming movie marathon of the previous installments. Plus, that “Scream-a-thon” will feel extra meta when taking in the “Stab-a-thon” that’s a centerpiece of “Scream 4.”

Original director and legendary horror auteur Wes Craven helmed all four of the “Scream” movies before his death in 2015, while writer Kevin Williamson penned all but one of the scripts. Each film remains consistent in tone and style, highly self-aware slasher flicks that comment on the specific nuances of the media zeitgeist of the day. Plus, in heroine Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) and knife-wielding slasher Ghostface, it’s a matchup to rival the legendary Laurie Strode/Michael Myers pairing of the “Halloween” franchise.

It’s worth your time to give the original “Scream” films a watch or rewatch before the new one’s release. They’re witty, funny and oh-so-bloody, just like a slasher should be. “Scream,” “Scream 2” (1997), “Scream 3” (2000) and “Scream 4” (2011) are available to rent for $3.99 on all major digital platforms.

Taking over for Craven and Williamson are the team behind the 2019 horror hit “Ready or Not,” directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, as well as co-writer Guy Busick, who teams up with “Zodiac” screenwriter James Vanderbilt for the new “Scream” script. “Ready or Not” is seething with class rage as bloodied bride Grace (Samara Weaving) attempts to survive her wedding night in her in-laws’ sprawling mansion as they play a satanic game of hide and seek. Williamson’s writing style is marked by a wordy, rapid wit, and “Ready or Not” is rife with quips, as well as Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillett’s clever aesthetic, so it should be an ideal match for the material. Rent “Ready or Not” on all major digital platforms for $3.99.

Craving even more? Dive into the filmography of Wes Craven, one of horror’s greatest pioneers. From his directorial debut, “The Last House on the Left” (1972) (stream it on Tubi and Pluto TV), to “The Hills Have Eyes” (1977) (stream it on Tubi, Kanopy and Shudder) and “Nightmare on Elm Street” (1984) (stream it on Tubi or rent elsewhere), he is one of the defining artists that established the rules, conventions and aesthetics of the horror film. He eagerly reexamined those tropes and conventions in his work.