Scream returns — and takes toxic fandom to task

'Scream' gets clever, and meta, about fandom

(Image credit: Illustrated | Paramount, iStock)

There aren't many horror franchises where one of the biggest questions you have going into a new installment is what it will have to say about the genre itself. But that's become the case with Scream, the meta-horror series that started with Wes Craven's 1996 masterpiece of the same name, and which revived the outmoded slasher genre while at the same time deconstructing it, breaking down its tropes, and subverting them in a way audiences had never quite seen before.

The horror genre, of course, has changed radically — not just since Craven's original in 1996, but since the last Scream sequel in 2011. Perhaps more importantly, the culture around movies has changed quite a bit, too. We're now living in a world in which entitled fans build entire identities around hating new franchise installments that don't live up to their childhood fantasies or are allegedly "too woke" because there are minorities in them — to the point that they'll even harass the cast and demand the films be erased from canon and remade to their liking. 2022's Scream has a lot of fun calling out that kind of toxic online fandom in a way that feels perfectly in the spirit of Craven's original series, even if some unnecessary repetition of the franchise's past holds it back from true greatness.

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Brendan Morrow

Brendan worked as a culture writer at The Week from 2018 to 2023, covering the entertainment industry, including film reviews, television recaps, awards season, the box office, major movie franchises and Hollywood gossip. He has written about film and television for outlets including Bloody Disgusting, Showbiz Cheat Sheet, Heavy and The Celebrity Cafe.