My first thought upon hearing about Scream VI was “Why give this one an actual number, yet just give last years “requel” the same exact name as the 1996 original (and wouldn’t that technically make this one just Scream 2 all over again?!)?” Yet that personal pet peeve of mine was really nothing in comparison to how low this franchise has actually sunk. Like many others, I had hoped the New York setting might help reinvigorate some life into this tired franchise; boy was that nothing more than wishful thinking though.
This outing finds sisters Sam and Tara Carpenter (Melissa Berrera and Jenna Ortega, respectively) from last year’s outing replanted and studying in the Big Apple, only to find (Uh-oh!) there’s another killer after them. Everything that unfolds from there is either cliche or predictable, made all the more worse by having to endure this mess with obnoxious supporting characters played by some of the most unlikable actors in the series to date. Neve Campbell was wise to step away from this mess, and Courteney Cox and Skeet Ulrich – the only two faces to return from the original – don’t do much to add to this mess.
The only bright spots are few and far between; the “intro kill” with a blind date setting features some inventiveness (and one very easy-on-the-eyes appearance from Samara Weaving), and the subway scene actually offers some intense moments before being yet just another let down (like the film itself).
Overall, the acting and dialogue are both atrocious, and everything meant to come as a “surprise” is merely eye-roll inducing. The far-fetched, preposterous ending is the final icing on the cake, so beyond believable it’s an insult to any reasonable intelligence. One of the characters actually sums it up best themselves after being stabbed when she utters, “Fuck this franchise.” I couldn’t agree more; after this entry, I’m officially done with the Scream films, too.
I went into the new Scream relaunch/reboot (requel?) admittedly not expecting much at all. But to my surprise, it was actually a much more enjoyable ride than I had imagined; far from a cinematic masterpiece by any means, but an improvement over its past two disastrous predecessors combined nonetheless (they couldn’t just seriously throw a “5” at the end of the title though?! Come on, stop taking yourself so seriously Hollywood).
In this round (which directly follows the events of 2011’s Scream 4), a new group of Woodsboro teens, many with their own unique connections to the original town killings, become the targets of yet another Ghostface killer (or killers?), with estranged sisters Sam (Melissa Barrera) and Tara Carpenter (Jenna Ortega) at the center of it all. When Sam and her new boyfriend Richie (Jack Quaid) enlist the help of former sheriff Dewey Riley (David Arquette), it quickly leads to more faces from the original reuniting and coming to the rescue, including Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) and Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox). Even Skeet Ulrich is somehow able to make a brief return as Billy Loomis, but I won’t elaborate any further to avoid spoiling anything.
Long time fans of the series should appreciate all the sly references to the original (as well as other Wes Craven films, including A Nightmare on Elm Street) thrown in, while younger generations should appreciate the more modernized take. The acting isn’t always the greatest, and the gore is at times excessively over the top and unnecessary, but again, this is far from Shakespeare here.
All in all, what directors Tyler Gillett and Matt Bettinelli-Olpin have assembled here is a fairly spot-on homage to Craven’s original work (“For Wes” is promptly displayed over the end credits), and at times I found myself so lost in the plot, I honestly felt like I was that kid sitting in the theater with my friends back in the ’90s all over again. This ship finally seems to be steering in the right direction again; let’s hope those calling the shots keep it that way.
Although I was lucky enough to speak with two of the key factors of 13 Fanboy on behalf of Rewind It Magazine last year – Actress Dee Wallace, and Director/Writer/Actress Deborah Voorhees – I still only had a vague understanding of what to expect from the film. But almost immediately after sitting down to watch it, I completely understood what the filmmakers were trying to achieve with this one, which was to simply bring back the basic, root elements to a horror movie.
Without giving away too many details, 13 Fanboy follows fictional versions of real-life horror film stars (mostly alumni from the Friday the 13th series) such as Kane Hodder, Judie Aronson, Lar Park Lincoln, C.J. Graham, and Tracie Savage (among others) and newcomer Hayley Greenbauer, as they are stalked (and in some cases, slaughtered) by an obsessive fan with plenty of ‘whodunit’ -ness done in perfect fashion (Corey Feldman also makes a notable appearance as a sleazy producer). Extremely meta in its delivery, it’s part Scream, part Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, and for the most part, all fun (something hard to come by in the genre these days).
The gore is there, but it’s not over-the-top/unnecessarily violent. And although it might lack the big budget of such Hollywood blockbusters as the the recent Halloween Kills, it more than makes up for it with heart and atmosphere. And there’s almost no effort to weave in comedy, which can be “okay” if done correctly, but often overused in horror films these days. In short, 13 Fanboy is the perfect late night fright flick to watch in the dark with your significant other (or even by yourself), especially this time of year.