It's difficult to overstate Wes Craven's impact on the horror genre, dating back to his earliest films, which is what made Scream in 1996 all that more effective, knowing the ways in which the narrative found ways to poke fun at tropes that he had inadvertently helped popularize. Craven would go on to direct the next three sequels in the series, all of which contained self-referential humor that was a signature of the series. The new Scream comes from directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, who recently pointed out that they'll continue to reflect the world of genre films with their effort, with Jordan Peele's work being one of their points of reference for the new film.
"I think one of the things we can say is that when [writer] Kevin [Williamson] and Wes created the first Scream, horror movies were kind of a fringe genre in a lot of ways," Gillett shared during the film's Virtual Production Press Day. "It wasn't a wildly mainstream style of storytelling. And now, in 2020, and for the better part of the last decade, horror films have really been on the rise. And so there's certainly a bit of that conversation in this story, but to what Matt had said, one of the amazing things that I think is just naturally packed into the DNA of what a Scream movie is, is added. It's about what's happening right now. There is a large conversation within this film that addresses the conversations that we're all having in our lives about entertainment and media and the genre specifically."
Bettinelli-Olpin added, "We've talked about Jordan Peele's body of work a lot, because what he's doing is the closest thing to something that we hope to do, and that we love in terms of, tonally, where it's fun, and it's about something, and it's exciting, and it's not just one thing. We talked about the visual style of Us a lot when we were talking about this, because it captured something very honest and organic while also feeling like a big, fun movie, and to be able to do those two things simultaneously and have an indie vibe that's also a big, fun, popcorn movie... That's what, to us, Wes Craven mastered with Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream, where he's able to walk that line, and that's the newest thing in that lineage for us."
Since a Scream film wouldn't be a Scream film without a number of twists and turns towards the reveal of a film's killer, or killers, producer Chad Villella pointed out that mysteries played a major part of the film's development.
"I think, even though we talk about the modern horror movement, too, I think what Scream does is [swing] that pendulum back and forth between the modern horror, and then we go back to the classics and we watch Murder on the Orient Express and The Last of Sheila," Villella detailed. "Movies from the '70s that were great, that you might not fully ... think about moving it forward, but Scream is aware of it all, and it always has been. And I think it's taking that comprehensive knowledge and pushing it forward further and making that accessible for a modern audience is what the fun of a Scream movie is."
Throughout the history of the franchise, the films have also found clever ways to pay respects to famous horror films, often by the way of pointing out how characters in those films did the exact wrong things in similar situations. The filmmakers promised that their film will also have plenty of Easter eggs, though they might be tougher to spot than in previous entries.
"That's what we love about it, is there's always something hiding there for the biggest fan, and we've already done a lot of planting, tons of little, fun Easter eggs, mainly for film buffs," Bettinelli-Olpin confirmed. "We never know if anyone's going to actually pick up on any of them or if they're just for us, but it's fun to have that conversation with the audience as you go."
The new Scream is set to hit theaters on January 14, 2022.
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