If you’re a Scream fan then the past few months have been a mixed bag of emotions, but importantly, have still been one hell of a time if you love the franchise. We have ridden joyously on the high-octane waves of blood that Scream VI shed, with most fans leaving theatres with huge, satisfied grins, but the months since then have been fueled with rumours and speculation.
Scream VII Fan Poster by Creepy Duck Design
Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett of Radio Silence have left fans teetering on the edge of their seats as to if they would return for a seventh installment of the hugely popular franchise. Scream 7 to many seemed inevitable after Scream VI‘s success, but from early interviews with the duo it seemed like they might be ready to pass on the baton. Now, after months of literal radio silence the metaphorical mask has been pulled off, revealing that Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillett would be stepping down as directors and Christopher Landon, director of Happy Death Day and Freaky, would be taking over.
Director Christopher Landon (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/Getty Images)
Rejoice. Scream will continue, for at least one more film and it’s looking even more possible that the wishful October start date could realistically be met. Radio Silence have no doubt left a lasting impression and have done a commendable job through their passionate, sharp direction and love for the movies, gaining them a sizable amount of respect, even from those fearful of tarnishing Wes Craven’s legacy.
Scream (2022) was a fitting tribute to the late, beloved director and Scream VI showed how unhinged the franchise could go, stirring up an exciting world of possibilities and proving that Scream is far from being killed off. Radio Silence, Guy Busick and James Vanderbilt have set out a blueprint that many fans want to see accentuated and built-upon in future movies. The fans collectively want to see the franchise continue to push itself, delving further into the brutality and enigma of Ghostface. More intense and meaningful kills. Elaborate motives and moments.
Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett on the set of Scream VI
Taking on a franchise as huge and successful as this and being the creative force to spearhead Scream‘s possible future is no small feat, so it’s lucky that Scream isn’t the only franchise the Los Angeles born director has taken the reins of. Here’s just a few movies and reasons why Landon feels like the perfect man for the job.
Landon wrote the 2007 Shia LaBeouf starring Hitchcock-inspired psychological thriller, directed by D.J. Caruso. With its themes of isolation and its creepy tone, two things I believe need to be injected more into the modern era Scream franchise, Landon does a great job building this intensity in those fear-inducing moments as well as creating cute, funny interaction between characters, something that Scream is already well-known for. Scream could use a few more jump scares and scenes of cheek-clenching suspense… which brings us to…
Disturbia Movie Still
More specifically, Landon wrote parts 2, 3, 4 and Next of Kin as well as The Marked Ones, which he also directed. The dread here is a little more tangible than in Disturbia. Although it is a world away from Scream, the Paranormal Activity movies demonstrated a clear understanding of atmosphere, something that will contribute nicely to the Scream franchise, as well as even more entertaining chemistry between The Marked Ones leads.
At the point of writing it’s unclear if Guy Busick and James Vanderbilt will return to write Scream 7 and whether Landon will have a part in co-writing is currently unknown, but as an established screenwriter with undeniable talent for realising disturbing and haunting ambience as well as enjoyable interplay between characters, any input he has will surely be beneficial for Scream‘s next phase.
Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones
HAPPY DEATH DAY/FREAKY
Happy Death Day and Happy Death Day 2U were both directed by Landon, who also took over full writing duties on its sequel, and Freaky was directed and co-written by him. The time travelling, groundhog day slasher and the twisted body-swapping take on Freaky Friday are more inside Scream‘s genre, even if they’re a little more whacky. Dark, sharp and a little unconventional, they demonstrate the similar light touches of darker humour at Scream‘s core, which will come in handy in those moments between escaping Ghostface’s blade.
Understanding that Scream is not only dark but darkly humourous is integral to any writer or director involved in the franchise. To strip that completely would be to remove a key aspect of why Scream is what it is. Whilst I myself and a huge number of fans don’t want to see the franchise head down a slapstick or overtly comedic path, that black humour is deep into Scream‘s blood. Let’s hope the franchise can grow darker in tone but keep the humour that helps make Scream what it is.
Happy Death Day
Radio Silence gained their share of criticism and praise, both before and after their hiring, and I’m sure Landon will receive the same. A franchise that is nearly 27 years old is one that is vehemently protected by its fanbase. We all just want the best for it as well as keeping Craven’s legacy alive. What we need is a force that can truly push the franchise into even newer territory, beyond the gates that Radio Silence have opened.
With Landon’s prowess for chilling horror, character development and comedic touch I myself am very confident he can do this beloved franchise justice, whilst adding a boost of atmospheric horror into the mix. I’m even a supporter of what Buswick and Vanderbilt have done, as Scream VI was a bold step and progression, even if it was a little random in the body count. Little touches of creativity, fresh ideas and boldness are what drives a franchise with six movies already under its belt into one that still fires on all cylinders 27 years later. Landon directing and co-writing would be the ideal situation.
As mentioned in my previous article, Unmasking Ghostface, I detailed how and why the Scream movies are able to adapt, evolve and survive so long into new generations without losing what made it so special decades ago. Any director can bring something to the franchise to help evolve it further, but Landon has enough eclectic understanding to inject something truly special into it. The foundations are there, so whether Sam’s story is to be continued or it’s a fresh start, Landon’s inclusion in the franchise can only build to greater things. Welcome to the family, Christopher Landon.