16 Horror Movie Tropes That The New "Scream" Called Out

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It's time you brush up on your horror movie knowledge!

Scream, the fifth film in the titular franchise, has been released, and once again, audiences were presented with a deep, satirical analysis of horror cinema.

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While this sequel pays homage to the original film, being a meta-horror film, it calls out numerous tropes that have sprouted over the years, giving a new spin on the Scream franchise and the horror genre itself. And so, here's a list of the 16 Horror Tropes Called Out In Scream (2022).


16. Never Trust the Love Interest

Billy Loomis with fake blood on his hand and shirt in "Scream" (1996)

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Once again, the franchise made the love interest, Richard, the killer. Even after Dewey warned protagonist Sam not to trust her boyfriend, she fell right into his trap.

15. The Killer's Motive Is Always Connected to Your Past

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Many of Ghostface's victims were related to the victims or survivors of the original killer's rampage. But the reason that Sam's sister, Tara, was targeted was because the former was the illegitimate daughter of Billy Loomis, one of the two original Ghostface killers. 

14. The First Victim Has a Friend Group the Killer Is a Part Of

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After Tara survives a deadly encounter with Ghostface, her group of friends is seen as suspects of the crime. Though Dewey shared his knowledge of this trope with everyone to keep them safe, the paranoia that Tara's friends have toward each other slowly drives them apart, leaving them vulnerable to Ghostface's attacks.

13. Turn Around — The Killer's Behind You

Kenny sitting on the couch watching a film while Ghostface watches him in "Scream" (1996)

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In a scene that is basically looking into a mirror reflecting a mirror, horror expert Mindy watches the scene from the original Scream (or Stab, as it's called in the film) in which Kenny watches Halloween and says to Jamie Lee Curtis, "Look behind you," when Ghostface is behind him. Mindy ends up doing the same thing by talking to the screen, but she avoids sharing the same fate by dodging Ghostface at the last minute.

12. The Requel

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Probably the most tired trend in Hollywood these days is that most films are either sequels, reboots, or remakes, and horror films are usually subject to this. Scream hilariously calls out this trend of sequels and reboots (or "requel" as they call it) with Mindy hypothesizing that the new Ghostface is killing people to create a Stab movie better than all the bad sequels and reboots that the franchise has produced.

11. The Opening Girl Dying

Tara holding a knife with a phone to her ear while Ghostface runs up behind her from the dark in "Scream" (2022)

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In a callback to the original Scream, this new film opens with a teenage girl answering the phone and talking with someone who turns out to be a killer who's hunting her. While both film openings play out in a similar fashion, the new one subverts the trope of the first girl dying in the beginning by having her survive her encounter with Ghostface.

10. Get Out of Town

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In an effort to protect her sister, Sam decides to do what no one else does and get her out of town. Though Sidney warns Sam against this, claiming the killer will track her down, Sam goes through with it and nearly leaves Woodsboro. However, they foolishly decide to go back to get Tara's spare inhaler. It is later revealed that Richard, who was driving Sam and Tara, took her inhaler to keep her in town. So it looks like Sidney was right: The killer always follows you.

9. Elevated Horror

Chris crying while he is hypnotized in "Get Out"

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In the film's opening scene, we see Tara discuss her love for "elevated horror films" like The Babadook. This horror subgenre focuses on upsetting by confronting complex emotional themes instead of blood, gore, and jump scares (basically the antithesis of slasher films like Scream). The most notable members of this genre include Hereditary, The Witch, and Get Out, but while there has been an elevated horror trend in the last decade, it isn't really anything new. Elevated horror is just a fancier term for psychological horror, which we have seen many times before with films like The Shining and Rosemary's Baby.

8. The Shower Murder

Norman Bates dressed as his mother holding a knife after pulling the Marion's shower curtain open in "Psycho" (1960)

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The shower scene in Psycho is the most iconic kill in all of cinema, and Ghostface threatens to recreate it with Sheriff Hicks's son, Wes. But as the Sheriff rushes across her front yard to save him, Ghostface appears out of hiding and brutally stabs her to death, all while Wes relaxes with a full shower. It's a clever subversion of a classic horror movie kill, and one that'll make you want to have your phone close by at full volume next time you take a shower.

7. The Frightening Phone Ring

A phone with an unknown person calling in "Scream" (2022)

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Horror films usually have a phone suddenly ring to frighten their characters and the audience. Scream calls attention to this trope by utilizing it multiple times throughout the film, scaring even the killer at one point. In fact, a sudden phone call got one of the characters killed by distracting them when facing Ghostface. 

6. Giving a Sequel the Same Title as the Original

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In a self-deprecating moment, Richard is seen watching a YouTube video criticizing the eighth Stab film for being simply titled Stab instead of Stab (or Sta8). The most notable example of this phenomenon is 2018's Halloween, but the film hilariously makes fun of itself since its title is the same as the original, showing that the filmmakers can laugh at their own work.

5. Don't Go Upstairs

Ghostface chasing Sidney upstairs in "Scream" (1996)

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When Tara's friends Chad and Liv are making out at a house party, the latter says she wants them to "go upstairs." Fearing that his girlfriend could be the killer, Chad requests that they stay downstairs where there are people around. If the first film didn't teach you anything, let this be a lesson: When you're in a horror situation, never go upstairs, not even if you're about to get lucky!

4. Don't Go in the Basement

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When Richard tries to find a beer while the group is at Amber's house, he hesitates to go downstairs to get it, claiming that the killer could ambush him down there. Even though Richard turned out to be one of the murderers, he still showed his knowledge of horror films by being wary of such a dangerous place. Alongside going upstairs, going down into the basement is the worst place to be in a horror movie, especially when you're alone, as you never know when the killer will trap you in there with nearly no way out.

3. Hiding Behind the Door

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Another common horror movie jump scare is when a character opens a door for a moment, blocking half of the background, and closing it to reveal the killer standing next to them. The film plays with this trope multiple times, sometimes as an ingenious way of creating suspense by playing with the audience's knowledge of this trope.

2. The Scary Guy in the Mirror

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We've all seen that thing in a horror movie when a character looks in a mirror, looks away, and looks in the mirror to see someone scary in the reflection. In fact, Saturday Night Live did a whole sketch about it years ago. We see this happen when Sam gets a drink of water from a sink and sees a bloodied Billy Loomis in the mirror. But instead of being frightened, she calmly scoffs at this specter. Since Sam is haunted by the fact that she is Loomis's daughter, she's had to deal with this traumatic vision for quite a while, making this a clever use of such a common scary movie trick to explore the protagonist's trauma while staying true to the film's meta nature.

1. Don't Answer the Phone

Tara holding the phone up to her ear in "Scream" (2022)

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This rule was the tagline for the first Scream film, and it has been ingrained in fans' minds since. With the rise of caller ID and robocalls, people have been warier of unknown callers and are swift to hang up the phone without even answering them. In the film's introduction, Tara wisely hangs up on the mysterious caller that plans to kill her. But it isn't until they call a second time that Tara answers and begins talking with the stranger on the other line. Though she still got caught up in Ghostface's twisted game, she was smart in that her first instinct was to not answer the phone.

What do you think of this list? Were there any other horror movie tropes that the new Scream called out? Please let me know in the comments section below.

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