Over the weekend I was able to see Scream (2022) in the theater. I haven’t seen a horror movie of any kind in the theater in quite some time, so I was excited for the treat. At the same time, as a writer I was concerned the script would be a mess. After all, so many movies these days seem to be written by people with the emotional depth of a puddle. As I expected from the trailers, the production elements were top-notch, so no surprise there.
When it comes to the plot, I’m not going to spoil anything in case you haven’t seen Scream yet, but I will say there’s a fair bit of good, not overdone, fan servicing in the movie. In other words, if you’re up-to-date on the franchise, you’ll get some good chuckles and such. And like previous Scream installments, this one is very aware of its status as a sequel (actually a requel, and they get into that) and the potential pitfalls such an endeavor faces. That was one of the things I really enjoyed about the other Scream movies, the smart commentary on not only the horror genre but Hollywood in general. With so many in Tinseltown lacking self-awareness these days, it’s refreshing to see such a thing portrayed in a modern film.
Scream had plenty of nostalgia but didn’t use that as a crutch, a risk so many requels (that’s a cross between a reboot and a sequel) run afoul of, which was one of my biggest concerns. The script kept me guessing, didn’t fall into lazy clichés (but did play off our tendencies toward them), and ultimately was an enjoyable addition to the franchise instead of just some dumb money grab (which it delightfully mocked at the same time). If you’re a Scream fan or just love scary movies, see this one, but watch the other Scream movies first so you get everything going on.
I also recently finished Werewolf Cop, a novel by Andrew Klavan. Yes, the title sounds cheesy, like it would be some hard boiled cop noire with plenty of melodramatic werewolf transformation scenes. There was a tinge of that, enough to make it enjoyable, yet the book is more about sacrificing one for a greater cause. It was deeper than I was expecting and for that I was pleasantly surprised. At the same time, the novel was light enough to make for a quick, entertaining read. Klavan’s writing style is economized, allowing you to not get bogged down in overly grandiose explanations or irrelevant side tangents. If you’re looking for something a little different, you might want to consider Werewolf Cop. I was glad I did.
Finally, if you have Amazon Prime, you should check out The Bray Road Beast, which is free to watch. It’s a documentary about the Bray Road Beast, a humanoid-canine many people in Wisconsin claim to have seen for a long time. I’ve written about this and similar folklore in the past, but this documentary digs pretty deep into the topic, so I think it’s great for people who aren’t that familiar with this tale as well as those who are.