Scream revitalized the horror genre with its clever, self-aware script that was famous for featuring characters in a horror movie who understood the rules of being in a horror movie. It wasn’t exactly the first time a film had done this – Scream director Wes Craven had actually already covered this ground before in his film Wes Craven’s New Nightmare.
But it felt fresh, and hip, and gave way to a horror movie boom featuring plenty of winking, meta scripts all trying to imitate Scream. It also gave way to several Scream sequels, all of which followed the same formula. Now there’s a new Scream movie in production, Scream 5 (that’s just what everyone is calling it for now; we don’t know the actual title yet). But, curiously enough, original Scream screenwriter Kevin Williamson says that if he could offer advice for the new Scream, it would be to make the film less self-aware.
When you think of the Scream franchise, you tend to think about how meta and self-aware the series was. That was kind of the entire hook – a horror movie that acknowledges it was a horror movie. But could Scream 5 is change things up? During a virtual panel to raise money for charity, (via SyFy) Kevin Williamson, writer of Scream, Scream 2, and Scream 4 (Ehren Kruger wrote Scream 3) offered this surprising advice in regards to making a new Scream movie: “No deconstruction. No self-awareness. Just do the opposite of what we did.” Williamson added: “I do worry that the franchise kind of wears itself out with all the meta and the deconstruction and there’s only so many times you can it. So many people have since then done horror films like it, or in the vein of. So you kind of worry that it’s run its course.”
While Williamson certainly has a point regarding the franchise potentially wearing itself out by doing the same thing over and over again, a Scream movie that isn’t self-aware doesn’t sound like a Scream movie. But Williamson isn’t exactly saying the new film will forgoe this approach entirely. Instead, he said that Scream 5 writers James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick have found a way to make the sequel seem both fresh and familiar: “What I love about the new Scream is that it does take a fresh approach. It’s this beautiful sort of fresh new movie, but it also has this nostalgic factor that runs through it. That to me was a perfect blend of how to do the next Scream. So that was what I was most excited about.”
Williamson also praised Scream 5 directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, who helmed the excellent Ready or Not: “I’m blown away by the directors, and I was really nervous because nobody is Wes Craven. I was really hesitant to even jump on board and be a part of it, and boy am I glad I did because I think it’s going to make Wes proud.”
Star Neve Campbell was also part of the panel, and she added that she, too, was “really apprehensive about doing one of these films without Wes.” However, Campbell eventually signed on to the film after both receiving a letter from the filmmakers and also watching Ready or Not. “I’ve watched Ready or Not, which I thought was so good, so I thought ‘They could do this,’” Campbell said.
I remain optimistic about Scream 5. While I’m not entirely sure what to make of Williamson’s “no self-awareness” comment, I’m a huge fan of Ready or Not, and I’m very excited to see how this all turns out. Scream 5 is set to open January 14, 2022.
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