Scream (2022) – Review

Dead Northern reviews the greatly anticipated fifth instalment in the slasher film series below.

There are SPOILERS AHEAD, you have been warned!

One fateful night Tara Carpenter (Jenny Ortega) is all alone at home texting her friend Amber (Mikey Madison), convincing her to come over. But all of a sudden the landline starts ringing, at first the slightly off-kilter banterfull conversation is innocent, that is until we hear that iconic low, scratchy octave ask Tara “would you like to play a game?”. And just like that Scream is BACK! 

In 2019 when filmmaking duo Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett announced that they would be taking the bull by the horns and brazenly tackling the fifth instalment in the Scream franchise, many fans were beyond thrilled that Ghostface would be continuing their rampage. The man, the myth, the legend Wes Craven who created the franchise sadly passed away in 2015, leaving behind an unbeatable legacy. Could Scream even continue without the helm of Craven? Well, let’s find out… 

After twenty-five years since a string of savage murders erupted in the small town of Woodsboro, a new villain takes on the identity of Ghostface, leaving a bloody trail amongst the unlucky residents. Scream’s next generation serves a purpose. They are all connected to previous characters, including Woodsboro’s own movie expert Randy Meeks (Jamie Kennedy), Sheriff Judie Hicks (Marley Shelton), and everyone’s favourite partners in crime, Stu Macher (Matthew Lillard) and Billy Loomis (Skeet Ulrich). 

The original Scream jostled with the postmodern boom that 1990s films thrived in. It’s this combination of self-referential treatment mingling with meta-cinema that facilitated the quick ironic humour that the franchise is known for. Across the previous films, every joke about sequels, franchises, fandoms, actors, and the Hollywood cycle has been done. Nothing else could possibly be added. Here’s where writers Guy Busick and James Vanderbilt regenerated the already embellished one-liners. Many of the filler characters have extensive movie knowledge, allowing for hysterical tirades about how devoted horror fans don’t want increasingly popular “requels” (reboot-sequel) to be a stand alone story with no continuing context- à la Black Christmas (2019); alternatively, franchise-enthusiasts want a connection to an original legacy. Just as Amber states “you can’t have a bonafide Halloween without Jamie Lee”. 

The film exchanges with the audience directly, transfusing the fourth wall with reality. These rants about movie rules are precisely aimed at the viewer, making quips about how obsessive diehard fans are to please. Almost digging at those who’d immediately shun this new entry before even giving it a chance. Of course, many chuckles were had at the numerous easter eggs and mention of the fictional in-house ‘Stab’ movies, but the film’s strength doesn’t derive from the humour which will eventually fade after a couple of watches, instead the cardinal prizewinner is the unyielding brutality of the kills. Throughout all five films, this one takes the lead as the most shockingly savage and graphic film to date. Casey Becker (Drew Barrymore) has one of the franchise’s gnarliest deaths. Whether or not she can continue to hold the top spot is now another issue. Ghostface slices and dices their way through bodies with ease, not holding a single ounce of remorse, nor does the camera shy away from the direct insertion of their gleaming hunting knife. 

As delightful as it was to see Sidney (Neve Campbell), Dewey (David Arquette), and Gale (Courteney Cox) step back into their stomping grounds, the film’s main protagonist Sam who was fantastically portrayed by the very talented Melissa Barrera was indeed a breath of fresh air. Her natural ability to be both vulnerable and fiercely strong allows her to stand beside the genre’s greatest final girls with ease. Joining Barrera is her on-screen boyfriend Richie Kirsch, played by Jack Quaid, who is the receiver of the film’s best jokes by far. Lurking alongside the stellar performances is the factor of unexpectedness. Not a single soul is safe. Scream isn’t the first and last franchise that sheds characters as and when needed, however Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillet truly don’t have a whiff of compassion at all for who gets to survive and who gets to die. The ever looming threat of death loiters over every character’s head, legacy or not…

Much praise has seen the light of day in regards to the film. Yet, there does seem to be a general critique floating around about the lack of scares. Horror is subjective, there’s no denying that. What works for one person will almost never work for the next, but within the last couple of decades, horror has evolved and changed. As controversial as it is, horror cinema does not have to make your blood run cold or have you quaking in your boots to be considered ‘good’ anymore. Scream raises the threat level and creates admirable tension, despite the fact that it didn’t have me terrified to turn the lights off. Although the 1996 original did give me the ‘heebie jeebies’, it wasn’t intended to be blood-curdling terrifying.

This instalment playfully mocks pestering film bro’s who mention the term that makes my eyes roll- “elevated horror’. When asked what her favourite scary movie is, Casey replies with John Carpenter’s infamous Halloween (1978), whereas Tara answers with The Babadook (2014), a fantastic film in its own right. But what comes next is Tara’s betrayal of the genre. She disavows typical horror as pure schlock and guts. Almost directly commenting on how elevated horrors wouldn’t stoop to the level that slashers do, opting instead for emotionally developed, politically enamoured narratives. 

It is with this boldness and knowingly critical lens that Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillett shine. They know how to rinse inside genre jokes and make fun of their own attempt of recycling an already perfect classic. The Scream franchise has always managed to tiptoe between not taking itself too seriously, whilst still not becoming a total parody. Scream (22) captures this essence with ease, making it a solid and welcomed entry into horror’s most unique franchise.

Curiosity Corner

Dead Serious Chat – From Our Friends At DeadHappy

Ever wondered what you’d really like to happen when you die? There’s a deathwish for that…

If there’s one lesson to be learned from watching thousands of horror films is that those characters could really do with some life insurance. Flesh eating zombies, vengeful birds, xenomorphs bursting out of chests… they don’t have it easy.

And although we are very unlikely to die in one of those elaborate ways, there are even worse horrors to be had… like being buried in a scratchy sweater or Barbie Girl blasting out of the speakers as your final goodbye.

Life: 100% mortality rate

… Unless you’re known as ‘She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed’ (no, your wife is most likely NOT immortal but good question!) or have ways of brewing an elixir of immortality, chances are you’re not going to live forever. Yet, despite this over 80% of people have nothing written down about their deathwishes. It’s sad to think four in every five ghosts will leave their own
funerals in disgust. We’re not prepared to sit around and let this happen.

Happy ghosts all around

The DeadHappy deathwish option allows you to express exactly what you want to happen when you die and weave those wishes into your life insurance policy – whether it’s sending your mates on a paranormal expedition, throwing a Halloween themed wake, or leaving
some money to pay off that mortgage. That way you family knows exactly what to do with your payout and you move into the afterlife as a happy ghost.

And just imagine how many vengeful ghost hauntings could be avoided if we all left things exactly as we want to!

Get me covered

*Zombies, vampires and other members of the not alive, ever living club need not apply.


This week in horror – News round up 13.12.20

This weeks horror news round up comes from Grace at Film Overload!

Halloween Kills officially rated R, with Michael Myers promising a bloody Halloween

After the beloved Halloween franchise was rebooted in 2018, David Gordon Green was immediately signed to make another two films to continue Michael Myers’ sick game of fulfilment. And it seems that the upcoming Halloween Kills will bring us one of the most graphic entries throughout the entire series. The film has officially been rated R by the Motion Picture Association, which will not be suitable for anyone under the age of 18 due to violent images and grisly content.

The highly anticipated sequel will continue from where its predecessor left, with us following Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) as she battles the unstoppable Myers alongside Haddonfield residents in a vengeful mob style hunt. Also making an appearance are the characters of Tommy Doyle and Lindsay Wallace (Anthony Michael Hall and Kyle Richards) who featured heavily in the original 1978 as the children who Laurie babysat on the night where it all started.

Hocus Pocus 2 confirmed for a Disney+ release

Fans of the classic Halloween favorite rejoice as the long awaited Hocus Pocus 2 is finally announced. Since 1993 the Sanderson sisters have become cult classic characters, with the film garnering quite the successful reputation. Adam Shankman (Rock of Ages and Hairspray) is set to direct, alongside Shankman is Jen D’Angelo (Workaholics) who will be responsible for writing the sequel. Speaking of sequels, whether or not this will be a direct sequel with the story from the original being directly continued or not is yet to be revealed. But what we do know is that Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy will reunite once again to wreak havoc upon the town of Salem.

Shudder brings the festivity to horror, with both Joe Bob Briggs and Creepshow Christmas special

Shudder embraces the Christmas season with both ‘A Creepshow Holiday Special’ and ‘Joe Bob Saves Christmas’ premiering on Shudder this December. Creepshow fans were given an animated special for Halloween, which generated mixed responses, but with restrictions easing the upcoming holiday special will return back to live-action filmmaking.

In a trailer released earlier this week we get a glimpse of all the chaos that ensues, with the plot revolving around one long segment ‘Shapeshifters Anonymous’. The story follows a troubled man seeking answers over his unusual situation… Greg Nicotero’s Creepshow Holiday Special premieres on Shudder on December 18th.

Festive horror is a difficult subject to tackle, so why not have the legendary Bob Briggs go through the best and the worst of the bunch in The Last Drive In Christmas special ‘Joe Bob Saves Christmas’. Little has been released about what films will be discussed, but firm contenders could be Black Christmas (Bob Clark, 1974), Silent Night, Deadly Night (Charles Sellier, 1984), and Christmas Evil (Lewis Jackson, 1980). The special premieres on Shudder on December 11th.

Neil Marshall’s new periodic horror ‘The Reckoning‘ set for a February 2021 release

Neil Marshall shook the horror genre with his incredibly influential film The Descent (2005), and his natural talent for creating claustrophobic environments plagued by evil forces is continued with his latest film The Reckoning which is set in early 17th century Britain; a time where both the plague and witch hunts were rife. Suitably the film follows a young woman as she is accused of being a witch after her husband’s passing.

Marshall carefully evokes terror through utilising the natural environment’s dark aesthetic to exaggerate the horror and provoke a sense of atmospheric inescapable dread. If the early rave reviews from Fantasia International Film Festival 2020 are anything to go by audiences are in for a treat for its release both theatrically and via VOD in early February 2021.

This weeks article comes via Grace from Film Overload, you can check out more of her work here.


Dead Northern – Covid 19 update


We have decided to pause ticket sales for this years Film Festival for the next few days to monitor how any of the further COVID restrictions will impact the festival.

There is likely to be amendments to this years schedule and so we will be contacting ticket holders to update them as the situation develops.

Look out on our website and social media later in the week for updates.

Thank you all for your support, and stay spooky

Josh, Gareth and Rick


Dead Northern is back this Halloween: 2020 Festival schedule & tickets coming soon…

Dead Northern presents Harrogate’s only horror and fantasy film festival coming this Halloween.

Following the great success of last years event taking place in the atmospheric West Park Church, the team at Dead Northern are putting on a social-distanced horror and fantasy film festival in the haunted Victorian ball room of the Crown Hotel this Halloween.

The week long event will kick off with a series of mini fringe events at various venues throughout the town in the build up to the horror film festival.

Highlights include Harrogate’s only ghost walk which is exclusive to the festival, a rare opportunity to view a selection of independent short and feature films as chosen by the Dead Northern film committee, plus classic horror film showings such as The Poltergeist all in the haunted Crown hotel.

A Halloween celebration not to be missed on Saturday night: celebrate From Dusk till Dawn in true vampire biker style at a themed evening at the Old Empire Theatre (now Cardamom Black restaurant), including a live film showing of the Tarantino cult classic From Dusk till Dawn with dinner and live entertainment.

The entire film festival will be compliant with the government guidelines surrounding COVID-19 and pre booking is essential.

Tickets will be available to purchase very soon.

We are offering priority booking to our mailing list subscribers, so make sure you are signed up to be amongst the first to get your hands on tickets.

Keep an eye out on our facebook page, Instagram and Dead Northern website for further announcements.


Halloween Kills – release delayed to 2021

David Gordon Green and John Carpenter released a statement yesterday (8 July 2020) announcing the release of Halloween Kills has been pushed back a year to October 2021 due to the current Coronavirus pandemic and its effect on cinemas worldwide.

This sequel had been eagerly awaited by horror fans after the release of Halloween (2018), was a clear return to form and set the stage for the latest trilogy.

See below for their full statement.

Jamie Lee Curtis took to social media to express her sadness in the one year delay:

I am as disappointed as you are. Mostly because the movie the David has created from the characters that John and Debra created Is a masterpiece. Prescient and powerful. I promise you it will be worth the wait.

John Carpenter took to twitter just hours later to reveal the first tease trailer for Halloween Kills. This may just keep you hyped during that long wait – take a look below: