Scream Directors Share How the Reboot Channels Wes Craven and Jordan Peele

Scream Directors Share How the Reboot Channels Wes Craven and Jordan Peele

The latest film in the Scream franchise has wrapped production. And surprise! It’s called Scream. In a new interview, sequel-reboot directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpen and Tyler Gillet share how their film is not just a tribute to the slasher genre that Wes Craven helped bring to life decades ago — it’s also a tribute to how much horror has progressed since then.

Original Scream writer Kevin Williamson revealed on Twitter that the new movie, written by James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick, was officially wrapped and would be called Scream (instead of Scream 5, as it’s technically the fifth film in the franchise). In a statement, Williamson celebrated the wrap and said: “I’m excited for you to return to Woodsboro and get really scared again. I believe Wes would’ve been so proud of the film that Matt and Tyler are making.”

It’s a movie facing a lot of pressure, as horror reboots can be a tricky subject, but the directors say they’re up to the challenge. In an interview with Geeks of Colour, Bettinelli-Olpen and Gillet talked about the joy of continuing the Scream franchise with a brand-new film — almost 25 years after the series started and more than a decade after it ended. The first Scream movie, directed by Craven, cleverly spoofed the slasher films of the 1980s while simultaneously igniting the slasher movie craze of the ‘90s. Bettinelli-Olpen noted how hard he, Gillet, and the writers worked to pay homage to Craven’s (deadly) eye for horror...while keeping their gaze on how horror has changed over the decades since Scream debuted in 1996.

“[Craven’s] entire body of work is so important to us as filmmakers, and as fans — and especially Scream, like Scream and Nightmare on Elm Street are two of the most like influential movies to us in our lives. And it’s almost impossible to separate that from any of our work, let alone Scream,” he said. “But then, one of the things that’s so important to any Scream is how it speaks about the current state of horror and how it evolves horror, and hopefully, moves it along. That is just baked into the script that Jamie [Vanderbilt] and Guy [Busick] wrote, and it’s something that we’re bringing to it as filmmakers.”

Bettinelli-Olpen specifically noted Get Out and Us director Jordan Peele as a major player in the new Scream’s more modern influences. He said they studied Peele’s body of work, both visually and narratively, as part of their attempt to make sure this fifth film in the Scream franchise wasn’t stuck in the past. Their movie might be a tribute to screams gone by — with actors like Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, and David Arquette set to reprise their original roles — but the filmmakers want to make sure it’s still looking to the current and next generations of horror films. In doing so, he said, the movie kind of winds up paying even more homage to Craven’s legacy.

“What [Peele’s] doing is the closest thing to something that we hope to do and that we love — in terms of, tonally, where it’s fun — and it’s about something and it’s exciting,” he said. “We talked about the visual style of Us a lot when we were talking about this, just because it captured something very honest and organic while also feeling like a big fun movie. To be able to do those two things simultaneously — have a kind of an indie vibe that’s also a big fun popcorn movie. That’s what to us, you know, Wes Craven kind of mastered with Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream, where he’s able to walk that line.”

Scream is set to come out on January 14, 2022, although that date is subject to change because of the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic. On a separate note, Peele himself is getting ready to pay tribute to Craven with an upcoming remake of The People Under the Stairs, which was announced just last month.