How should a good sequel be made? This new horror film series “Scream 5”, which spanned a quarter of a century and now has its fifth film, has a good answer.
As one of Hollywood’s most influential classic IPs in the 1990s, the sequel to “Scream” returns after 11 years, not only for a “soft reboot” of the story, but also for series starring Neve Campbell, David Arquette, and Courteney Cox. play.
Two weeks after the film was released on January 14 this year, it once ended the “Spider-Man: No Way Home” “Weekly Domination Record”. At the same time, it also received a 76% freshness on Rotten Tomatoes and a good IMDb score of 7.1. Performance.
Under the circumstance that most of the sequels in recent years have shown the appearance of dog tail sequels, this horror film with an investment of only 25 million US dollars has achieved quite good results in terms of box office and word of mouth.
This also puts the sixth installment in the series on the agenda.
Nowadays, when horror movies, especially “hack and slash movies” are almost exhausted, and new tricks are lacking, what kind of weird stories and novel forms can a sequel filmed for the fifth episode be used to attract fans’ resonance and enthusiasm? buy it?
“Scream 5” presents an interesting sample through a series of operations such as tribute to the previous work, self-deprecation, and complaints.
For horror movie fans, “Scream 5” is undoubtedly a welfare work that is full of emotions and directly hits the “surprise” point.
Note: There are spoilers in the text. It is recommended to read the first and latest sequels before reading.
Routines and anti-routines, “the murderer is the person around you”
The first “Scream” was born in 1996, with a cost of $14 million, and finally won the global box office of $170 million. It is a typical case of small and big in horror films.
The reason why it can be so popular, and its influence has continued to this day, is inseparable from the classic “grimace killer” image created in it.
Although this costume looks ordinary and cheap, the design is inspired by Munch’s painting “The Scream”, which has become one of the most common symbols in Halloween culture.
The story of “Scream” is very simple. The beginning of the film is that a high school couple is brutally murdered at home in a small town in California, USA. The murderer is a person wearing an ordinary horror mask that can be bought everywhere.
He clearly enjoys the killing process, preferring to use the phone to intimidate his target first, and eventually cause him to break down.
The film’s heroine, Sidney (Neve Campbell), unfortunately becomes the next target, and her mother was killed just a year ago.
Sidney was alone at home on the night her father was away on business. Because of the news of the tragedy, she planned to stay at a friend’s house for a few days.
Unexpectedly, while waiting for his friend to pick him up, the Ghost Face Killer appeared.
Sidney is not as fragile as she looks, bravely resisting the murderer’s various attacks, and the small town police who arrived in time finally ended everything.
However, the second after the killer disappeared, Sidney’s boyfriend Billy suddenly appeared, and he became the suspected target of Sidney and the police.
Billy was taken back to the police station for investigation. Sidney received a call from the Ghostface Killer not long afterward. Is the real murderer someone else?
After Billy was released, the town had to restore temporary calm, and Sidney, at the invitation of a friend, decided to relax on the party night.
No one realizes that a mad killing is approaching…
Many people see the first half of the film and think it’s one of those kind of serial torture movies that vents boredom, and complains that the murderer’s way of committing crimes is particularly stupid.
In fact, the film is very careful about the ubiquitous atmosphere of fear.
Grimace equipment, as an important prop in the film, is also used by mischievous male classmates, school principals, and even heroines because of its lightness and ease of acquisition. It is not only exclusive to the murderer himself.
In this way, we can see through the creator’s intention, which symbolizes the crazy evil thoughts in everyone’s heart, an outlet for figurative expression.
On the other hand, the slogan of “Scream” is “always someone you know”, which also points out that the crisis encountered by the protagonists comes from the people close to them.
When Sidney and his friends were in distress, they had already subconsciously guessed who was coming, but they only thought that the other party was joking with him.
Therefore, it is believed that the unpredictable betrayal can truly achieve the horror effect of screaming.
One of the great things about the whole movie is that it refers to a lot of classic horror movies. At the same time, the common elements in horror movies are taken out and deconstructed.
For example, Sidney said on the phone that the heroine of a horror movie would only run upstairs stupidly, and when she realized something was wrong, she also made this fatal mistake.
One of the supporting characters is a horror movie fan. When he talked to everyone about the fallacy of “the heroine of a horror movie can only survive if she is a virgin”, the other side is that Sidney is finally going to try her first time with her boyfriend Billy. .
In short, there are many similar scenes and plots, and the lines are not lacking in the frankness of “this is how it is played in horror movies”, and “life is a movie, but you can’t choose the type of movie”. Senior horror fans must have watched it. Can smile.
As for the second to fourth part of the series, the stories also revolve around the heroine Sidney.
“Scream” borrows a lot of old horror movie stalks but there is no shortage of dark humorous bridges, fighting each other between routines and anti-routines.
The movie sets up a character who likes horror movies to constantly complain about these episodes, and the murderer really kills as he said, which strengthens the authenticity of the story and makes the audience look more frightening.
If murders keep happening around you, don’t think about it, the murderers are the people around you. Not only know each other, but maybe also very close!
A tribute to the first movie, fans are the biggest winners
The latest “Scream 5” is 26 years away from the first one, and 11 years away from the last one.
This one ostensibly looks like a traditional sequel, but it’s actually a “soft reboot” of 1996’s “Scream” story.
The film pulls the point of view back to the origin of the series, and invites back to the starring “three little strong” Neve Campbell, David Arquette, Courteney Cox, and the whole process can be said to be a tribute to the first part.
The audience can almost ignore the other three sequels, and after only watching the first one, they can basically understand the stalks that resonate with them.
The opening scene of the film, “Phone Murder of a Solitary Girl,” is a complete remake of the first episode of the series.
The familiar voice of the ghost-faced murderer sounded: “Which horror movie do you like to watch the most?” Then, he deliberately set up a trap with the game mode of answering questions, intimidating the girl step by step, filling the suspenseful excitement, and recreating the terrifying slashing and killing scene. .
The characters in the film are almost all serious horror movie fans who are familiar with horror movie clichés. Through the mouths of the characters, the film has a clear-cut analysis of how the series restarted and how the sequel was shot.
“Restarting a series cannot be completely overwhelmed, nor can it simply continue the filming. There must be something new, but not too new. It must be related to the previous work, try to link with the first one, and it is best to invite the original class. The protagonist returns.”
In order to enhance persuasion, the character even moved out the sequels of many horror film series in the film history to prove his point of view.
Like “Black Christmas” (1974-2021), “Child’s Play” (1988-2019), “Flatliners” (1990/2017), these remakes of the sequels were ultimately unpopular.
And classic series such as “Halloween” “Saw” “The Terminator” “Jurassic Park” “Ghostbusters” and even “Star Wars” will choose to return to the origin of the story and have a close connection with the first one.
While the film bluntly and honestly breaks the method of shooting the sequel, it practices this theory in the film. The return of the leading actor San Xiaoqiang, in addition to brushing his feelings, also makes the old and new versions of the story connect.
The story in the first “Scream” served as a historical backdrop, and this work, along with many classic horror films, was set to be real, breaking the line between film and the real world.
In addition to paying tribute, the “Scream” series of works has also become an object that is constantly mentioned in the new works, and has become an important factor in the murderer’s motive for the murder of the mad fans who are obsessed with “Scream” works.
The “Scream Survival” rule uttered by the characters in the first part – first, no sex; second, no drinking and drug use; third, don’t say “I’ll be right back”.
An interesting contrast is that the film summarizes the new “survival” method through the returning “cop” Dewey: first, never trust your partner; second, the murderer’s motive is always related to something in the past; Third, the murderer was in the victim’s circle of friends.
This is a bit like the “bomb theory” of the suspense master Hitchcock, informing the audience that the “bomb” exists around the protagonist in advance, which is far more exciting than finding the location of the bomb step by step and revealing the murderer.
After the first murder, the film expresses itself through the experience of the “comers”, which is also a way to pay tribute to the previous works of the series and many classic horror films, boldly revealing the crisis code.
As for how the new characters in “Old Wine in a New Bottle” fit in with the classic story routines and transition naturally, the film sets the identities of the younger generations of young people who correspond to the old characters with the first and several others. The ghost-faced killer murders in the sequel are related.
In this way, the new characters stand firm, the old characters all return, and finally, they return to the main scene of the ultimate massacre.
The collision between the old and the new evokes memories and is full of feelings, and together it brings a resonant experience to the audience, especially the fans of the series, that is still suspenseful and exciting.
Derived from the classics, starting from the original story, and returning to the origin of the classics; continuing the routine of the previous work, and reviving the soul through “anti-routine” and “anti-type” methods.
This is also the direction that the two directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, who are loyal fans of the series and who took over this IP for the first time, could think of.
Just like the first rebellious challenge to the bad formula of hack and slash movies that year, the duo conducted an interesting experiment with the horror movie “law of sequel” in their minds in this film, and finally reaped the favor of fans and the market. Not bad feedback.