I have watched the film twice now. I was apprehensive on writing a review after just a single viewing given there is quite a bit to process. After having seen it twice, it is definitely not perfect; but for me the highs hit really high, and the lows really don’t go that low and there’s very few of them. Right now, it is safe to say it’s my favorite sequel in the franchise, so far anyway.
This new entry is probably the one that captures the tone of the original the best without becoming predictable but still being modernized to our current culture. In that way, it is almost the perfect 'requel' (a term coined in the film). That is, a sequel that essentially reboots the franchise while still being well connected to its origins. The suspense was very edge-of-your-seat and the deaths felt more brutal even if the amount of gore isn’t really excessive. And i think that just speaks to how well it was directed overall. There are definitely some strong choices story-wise and characters-wise. Some of them were just decent choices, but others were quite excellent; overall averaging to great.
The identity of the killer(s) might not be completely unexpected, but the script is smart in showing you how no one is safe at all and raising the stakes quite high. And speaking of, there are a few quite strong gut punches. No spoilers obviously, but I was shocked and even teared up in one occasion. Thankfully those are earned and it strengthened the story and characters. I can tell the killer(s) motivations will be very hit or miss with audiences. They really resonated with me given the current state of our culture in general, but I can see some being put off by them.
The original cast is handled quite well too even if they’re not in it for the majority of the film. But the amount they are in it is not wasted one bit and they really squeeze everything they can with the time they do get in the film in great ways. The new comers are pretty solid. Ortega was pretty great and Barrera was good too. She wasn’t perfect, and perhaps has room for improvement in her acting, but she did an overall really solid acting job nonetheless. At first glance she might seem like Syndey's 'replacement', but the script and story are careful enough to show she is her own character trapped in the middle of these serial killings.
Overall, Scream (2022) is quite surprising in various great ways. It is tons of fun (just like the original) and it is a very well layered story that works at different levels just like the first one did. The humor might not be as pronounced, but unless you have certain expectations in that regard specifically, I do not think this hurts the film. The directing is very strong as well. Maybe a small notch below Wes Craven's, but that is already a tall order to even just match (let alone surpass), and I think if they do another sequel (which they probably will given the early box office results), they definitely have potential to match his unique style. Taking everything into consideration, I really do think this is the best sequel we have gotten thus far. It really earns its place in the franchise and leaves room for even more (and hopefully great) sequels. Highly Recommended.