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REVIEW: 'Scream' rehashes more than you care about horror films

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There must not be a coronavirus problem in Woodsboro. When action switches to the hospital in “Scream,” no one is filling the beds, crowding the floors or even keeping the lights on.

Instead, the characters are so caught up in their own world, there’s no room for the outside to seep in.

Termed a “requel” (as one of the characters so bravely offers), this is a deep dive into the touchstones that made the original film (and its sequels) a hit with fans. It has the random killer (in a Ghostface mask and black shroud that wouldn’t be hard to spot), plenty of stray clues and a herd of new and “legacy” characters who muddy the waters with intel.

If anything, this “Scream” is too stuffed with backstory to really be enjoyed by newcomers. Just when you see a character who looks vaguely familiar, someone steps in and tries to provide years of background. It’s a lot, particularly since it all boils down to the old cat-and-mouse game.

Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette slip in halfway through, giving this unnumbered “Scream” its horror cred. They’re not the current killer’s immediate target, just veterans who get in the way.

The first to answer the call (on a landline, no less) is Tara Carpenter (Jenna Ortega), a high schooler who lives in one of those homes with too many accessible windows. She survives, which prompts her sister, Sam (Melissa Barrera), to rush home with her boyfriend Richie (Jack Quaid) and see if they can’t figure out who’s behind it. Sooner than they can round up the usual suspects, two more are killed and we’re faced with more exposition than a World’s Fair. Stray characters talk about the ties to the original Ghostface and what that might mean to everyone. Among those interviewed: Dewey Riley (Arquette) who cracks the door for the other legacy stars.

Directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett then start offing people at a rapid clip. At a party, Ghostface gets his best numbers. But why?

That’s the question that lingers throughout the return visit. Even with all the background, it’s never clear why Woodsboro hasn’t tried to learn from its past. When the numbers mount, you’d think someone might have sounded the alarm, told kids to avoid parties and closed in on likely Ghostface haunts.

No, that doesn’t happen. Nor do the big three get much of a return visit. They have a chance to repeat greatest hits but this “Scream” talks itself to death.

When the truth comes out, you’ll wonder why Cox’s TV station even bothered to cover the story. Like Ghostface, it’s a yawner.



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