This article contains spoilers for Scream 6Amid a wildly successful opening weekend, Scream 6 directors Tyler Gillett and Matt Bettinelli-Olpin spoke recently on how the film’s opening scene both shattered expectations while still ringing true to the franchise’s origins.
The franchise built around the 1996 slasher classic Scream is known for its violent and bloody opening scenes that usually set the tone for the entire film, often bringing in new characters or killing old ones. The convention of the mysterious phone call from a horror-loving stranger ending in a bloodbath for the recipient is a signature Scream move, which the franchise has become known and parodied for.
In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, Gillett and Bettinelli-Olpin admitted they were a bit surprised initially by the choices for the Scream 6 opening scene made by screenwriters James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick. “Obviously, it was the first thing we read when we read the script,” says Gillett. “There is a standard that’s been set by these movies that the opening, as its own little contained short film, has to achieve something really specific, and set the tone for the rest of the movie, and also has to live up to what exists as the openings in the lineage of this franchise. This one for us was the most surprising and shocking.”
The Scream 6 opening scene features a film professor, Laura Crane, played expertly by horror fave Samara Weaving (Ready or Not), awkwardly awaiting a Tinder date in a Manhattan bar. While the initial phone conversation with her impending date turns to horror movies, a not-unexpected move considering her profession, the scene ends in an alley where she is brutally murdered by what turns out to be a disgruntled student and budding serial killer (played by Tony Revolori) determined to rehearse for killing the Carpenter sisters (Melissa Barrera and Jenna Ortega), who survived the previous Scream film.
While the kill is violent and strangely ironic due to Laura’s supposed familiarity with the dangers in horror movies, the shock may be greater when the killer’s identity is immediately revealed, seemingly blowing the whodunnit structure of the previous films completely. The student is quickly replaced by a mysterious new Ghostface that murders him and his psycho accomplice. However, the initial choice subtly changes expectations of the franchise, a knowing nod to the statement later made by returning character Mindy (Jasmin Savoy Brown) about all bets being off in the Scream franchise. “It just felt like, oh, we are going to take some chances with this,” says Gillett. “And if the audience is onboard, then they are going to be on board for the rest of the movie. At the end of the day, I think that’s the goal of the opening. How far can you push it? How far can you push the guard rails and hopefully set up a wild set of expectations for the audience with the movie moving forwards.”
Scream fans will be happy to see Weaving in this small but crucial role after her previous work with the directors in Ready or Not. Like the brief appearance of Drew Barrymore’s Casey Becker in the original Scream film and Jada Pinkett Smith in the second, Weaving leaves a mark on another great opening scene. According to Bettinelli-Olpin, “She brought so much because she’s only in the movie for five minutes, and she has to do so much in those five minutes; you have to fall in love with her. You have to get scared when she goes into the alley. It takes like a real f—ing pro like Samara to be able to do that.”
Scream 6 is now playing in theaters.
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Source: Entertainment Weekly