The legendary Scream slasher film series has always been a first of sorts. Back when Kevin Williamson and Wes Craven first shook up the holiday movie season back in 1996 — Scream hit theaters just five days before Christmas — the film was unlike anything that had been seen before. It paid homage to the horror films before it that became classics in the ’70s and ’80s — The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Halloween, and Friday the 13th being the big three — while also satirizing, revamping and completely reinventing the slasher category altogether.
The Queen Latifah-produced reboot titled Scream: Resurrection premiered as a three-night event on VH1 this past week, adding a fresh take on the series and introducing a whole new shade to the slasher genre.
Films like I know What You Did Last Summer, Urban Legend and The Faculty soon followed after Scream, featuring similar plots and a specific look for its leading stars: always teenagers, either in high school or college, predominately white and having a psycho run around gutting his or her way through the whole ensemble until the “Final Girl” wins in the end and unmasks the killer once and for all — well, at least until the sequel. Scream ending up having four of those.
This version marks a fresh chapter in the Scream television series that aired on MTV from 2015 to 2016 until going on a three-year hiatus, and even brings back the Ghostface mask used in the films which originally wasn’t approved for use in the TV series. Many changes are made this time actually, including a new cast, new setting in Atlanta and a new twist on the “whodunit”-style plot, but there’s one major detail that gives Scream: Resurrection something of a first status once again: a predominately Black (and surviving!) leading cast.
“Just like witnessing a Black Ariel in Disney’s upcoming remake of The Little Mermaid is important for the culture, seeing us survive in horror films is equally as impactful to see in Scream: Resurrection.”
Scream: Resurrection is campy at best — the death scenes aim for thrills more so than eye-squinting gore — but the cheesy, oftentimes comedic nature of the characters makes it an entertaining watch overall. Long gone are the days when the words “Hello, Sidney” sent chills down your spine, but casting premiere Hip-Hop and R&B stars like Keke Palmer, Biggie’s son C.J. Wallace, Mary J. Blige, Big Boi, Terrence J and Tyga was definitely a highlight to see on film. The “Final Girl” theme is switched up as well, with all of the survivors this time around being Black. Keke makes for the standout performance, carrying on Brandy’s survivor legacy from I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (rocking braids too at that!) and even playing a huge part by (Spoiler!) being the one to actually put a bullet in the killer in the end. Just like witnessing a Black Ariel in Disney’s upcoming remake of The Little Mermaid is important for the culture, seeing us survive in horror films is equally as impactful to see in Scream: Resurrection. We’re just glad they got it right this time around.
— Scream (@VH1Scream) July 11, 2019
Unfortunately, the technical problems with Scream: Resurrection — uneven plot, choppy acting and less-than-eventful killer reveal for starters — are strong enough to validate its current 40% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but there’s still something oddly nostalgic about this reboot. Maybe its the return of the Ghostface mask or even Roger L. Jackson, the voice actor you hear over the phone in the original films, but it’s definitely worth a watch for diehard fans and casual horror heads alike. Students of the slasher genre, well, you’re more likely to cringe rather than scream.