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Forget Neve Campbell’s Scream 6 bombshell, the franchise died with 5

Chris Weston June 7, 2022

It all began with a phone call…

Drew Barrymore’s Casey Becker is preparing popcorn when she begins to embark on an eerie conversation with a mysterious stranger on the other end of the line.

Unfortunately for her, things escalate from there. Fortunately for horror fans, on the other hand, they were given one of the greatest openings in the genre’s history – arguably in film history as a whole.

Wes Craven had already proven himself a master of his craft with earlier efforts such as A Nightmare On Elm Street and perhaps there was nobody better to skewer the genre. Meta masterpiece Scream changed the game in 1996 and remains incredibly influential.

It’s a cinematic monument and a franchise was about as inevitable as the killer being somebody close to home.

While the original remains the crown jewel of the franchise, Scream 2 is generally well-received while Scream 3 is the most maligned of the bunch despite increased interest in the wake of the Weinstein case. Scream 4 is often praised as a welcome return and reinvigorated some audiences’ passion for the property.

still from Scream trailer, Paramount Pictures

Yet, it took them a decade to offer the fans the fifth instalment. Simply entitled Scream, this 2022 entry was the first not to be helmed by Wes Craven, who sadly passed away in 2015. Nevertheless, the general consensus has been that Scream respectfully honours the original and serves as a satisfying catalyst for more chapters.

However, Deadline reports Neve Campbell (who plays Sidney Prescott) won’t be reprising her iconic role in Scream 6:

“Sadly I won’t be making the next Scream film. As a woman, I have had to work extremely hard in my career to establish my value, especially when it comes to Scream. I felt the offer that was presented to me did not equate to the value I have brought to the franchise.”

Continuing, she added: “It’s been a very difficult decision to move on. To all my Scream fans, I love you. You’ve always been so incredibly supportive to me. I’m forever grateful to you and to what this franchise has given me over the past 25 years.”

It’s sure to dishearten legions of Scream fans the world over, but not me. There’s no danger of her absence killing the franchise because the fifth instalment already did that.

That’s right. I hate Scream.

As somebody who adores the original and genuinely likes the three sequels that precede it, I just can’t acknowledge what others have seen in Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett’s franchise revival.

It’s not fun or charming, nor is it half as smart as it thinks it is.

The legacy characters feel like cardboard cutouts, only resembling their former selves by way of appearance. They’re mannequins; clay figurines moulded by little more than hollow nostalgia.

Bringing back characters you’re familiar with isn’t enough when you fail to remind viewers why they fell in love with them in the first place. The new characters simply aren’t entertaining enough to stand in for them either.

Prey | Official Trailer

Prey | Official Trailer

I must admit I honestly stopped caring who the murderers may be about halfway through and, when the reveal came, I was so glad I did. That reveal, for me, is the final stab in the franchise, and it almost feels like that was the purpose of the movie; but no, a sixth entry is incoming.

Now, that’s not to say I can’t grasp what the film was going for. Scream instalments have always intelligently yet accessibly offered commentary on movies themselves, whether that’s poking fun at sequels, trilogies or, in this case, franchise revivals, going back to an obsession with the original, and toxic fandom.

However, Scream’s approach to taking aim at “requels” is so utterly redundant because it simply conforms to the formula every step of the way, mocking the very thing it is. You’re actually providing audiences with a comprehensive lesson in how lazy your movie is. It’s not smart. It’s a sign the franchise has run its course and Scream shouldn’t have been made.

Whatever surprises Scream 6 has in store, being any good would definitely be the biggest one.

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Chris has a First Class Film and Journalism (Joint Honours) degree from De Montfort University and previously studied film at A-level, making him HITC’s resident movie guy. Chris's passion for all things cinema has been with him from a very young age and he has written for a number of publications, from Taste of Cinema to local sites. He has been with HITC for a five years, exploring the world of film and television while looking out for the latest titles to excite and inspire audiences.