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Scream 7 Scares Up a Freaky New Director to Take a Stab at the Slasher Sequel and It’s a Blessing in Disguise

As a huge fan of the Scream franchise, I must tell you that it comes as a huge relief to know that Scream 7 is in the works from a different director — and likely writer(s) — than those responsible for the last two hugely disappointing installments.

James Vanderbilt will forever have my respect as the writer of David Fincher‘s masterpiece Zodiac, but his work on these movies alongside fellow scribe Guy Busick (Ready or Not) has been lackluster, to say the least, and directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett from Radio Silence did little to elevate the duo’s scripts. I’ve been let down by Scream sequels in the past without taking personal offense, but this year’s Scream 6 was the nadir of the franchise, even if it did deserve credit both for moving the action to New York and for nearly matching the scary-good box office of the first two films.

Understandably, Paramount, which now distributes these Spyglass-produced movies, has been eager to get moving on Scream 7 ever since the success of the previous film, but Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillett felt they needed a break from the franchise and wanted to go off and make a vampire movie for Universal. The strike has impacted the production of that project, which will now take much longer than expected, and as a result, Spyglass has turned to Christopher Landon (Happy Death Day) to direct Scream 7. “Hallelujah,” I say!

Landon is also expected to write the script or co-write it alongside his Freaky collaborator Michael Kennedy. Due to the ongoing WGA strike, there weren’t any writers mentioned in the Hollywood Reporter‘s official announcement about Landon, but I’d be shocked if Vanderbilt and Busick returned. These movies need an entirely new voice. Trust me.

You won’t see me get worked up like this when it comes to Marvel or Star Wars because I don’t really care about those franchises, but I genuinely care about Scream, which is why I feel so strongly that Vanderbilt and Busick have to go as well. Sorry, not sorry!

Interestingly enough, Above the Line has learned that Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillett weren’t all that excited about the prospect of directing another Scream movie and they’re actually quite content serving as executive producers on the next movie alongside their Radio Silence cohort Chad Villella. To be honest, that didn’t really surprise me, as their Scream movies seemed to misunderstand the appeal of the franchise on a fundamental level, which may be why it has gone off the rails to the extent that it has.

Landon previously directed the Happy Death Day movies for Blumhouse as well as Netflix’s supernatural comedy We Have a Ghost starring Anthony Mackie and David Harbour, but it was Freaky that really showed what he and Kennedy can do together. Hopefully, the director will find a role for actor Misha Osherovich, who really shined in Freaky.

Wes Craven directed the first four Scream movies, which were written by the irreplaceable Kevin Williamson, who is also an EP on the new trilogy. Here’s hoping he advocates for a complete reinvention because I can’t stand these new characters outside of Jenna Ortega‘s Tara, whose return is no guarantee.

Indeed, none of the actors have deals for Scream 7, though everyone — Melissa Barrera, Mason Gooding, Jasmin Savoy Brown, and yes, even Ortega — is expected to return. Ortega will likely command top dollar, however, thanks to her hit Netflix series Wednesday, so we’ll see if she and her reps can come to an agreement with Spyglass. Perhaps Paramount will even chip in to bring her back. After all, she’s worth it. The only problem is whether the other “Core Four” actors will demand financial parity with Ortega. Stay tuned…

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