The fifth Scream movie is hitting theaters on January 14, but with the current state of the franchise, it’s best for it to be the concluding chapter.
Scream 2022 is set to hit theaters, and it should be the conclusion of the long-running slasher franchise. First debuting in 1996, Scream breathed new life into horror movies with its sharp commentary on slasher movie cliches. The success of Scream led to three sequels, all helmed by returning director Wes Craven before his passing in 2015, along with an MTV series of the same name, which ran for three seasons from 2015 to 2019.
While the newest Scream looks to be the first significant commercial success of 2022, the franchise itself has seen better days. To be sure, Scream has had some significant gaps in between its last few installments, Scream 4 itself having debuted all the way back in 2011. The series also has managed to avoid rising to Fast & Furious heights of ridiculousness, which considering how long it’s been around to follow the story of Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) would be quite easy to drift towards.
Despite this, Scream is also a franchise far removed from the time when it struck a chord with audiences. The world and cinema have both changed a lot since the franchise was at its peak, and the latter most certainly in the case of horror movies. While Scream could well be a compelling entry in the series, the franchise also needs to find a point to make its final bow. Here’s why Scream 2022 should be the one to do that.
Scream’s Satire No Longer Has The Same Impact
When Scream first debuted, its self-awareness was a novelty among horror movies. In particular, Randy (Jamie Kennedy) laying out the rules of horror movie survival made the audience feel like they were more actively participating in Scream. The franchise also wasn’t afraid to point out its own plot holes and conveniences, such as Sidney deriding slasher movie heroines for running upstairs from psychotic killers to get trapped and then doing just that less than five minutes later. Scream was great at riffing on both itself and horror movies writ large, but decades hence, that’s another story.
With four movies and a television series over a quarter-century, Scream’s mileage just isn’t the same as it once was. The cell phone gimmick in particular dates the original greatly and just doesn’t have the same smoking gun quality anymore. Furthermore, even if Randy were still around in Scream, adding more rules of surviving sequels, trilogies, or reboots would undoubtedly begin to feel forced. While Scream’s satire has lost much of its punch, the series has also seen a downturn of another sort.
The Popularity Of Scream Has Seemingly Waned
Scream was an out-of-the-blue success when it arrived in December 1996, while Scream 2, hitting theaters less than a full year later, managed to keep its magic going very well. At the same time, Scream 2 was the point where the franchise arguably peaked, with Scream 3 and Scream 4 seeing a more mixed reception than their predecessors. Additionally, Scream 4, despite bringing a few new ideas of its own into the story, was also the lowest-grossing installments of the series, failing to re-invigorate the Scream franchise after a then-eleven year hiatus.
A few years later, Scream was rebooted with the eponymous MTV series, which took more of a horror anthology approach. With the third season serving as its own reboot of sorts, the Scream series ultimately didn’t launch the franchise into a lasting second life. In all, the post-Scream 2 entries in the franchise haven’t caught on in the same way their predecessors did, which indicates that the newest Scream might be better off closing the book on the series.
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