Scream Directors Reveal Wes Craven's Secret Recipe For Horror Success

The directors of the new Scream were able to get Wes Craven's insight on the franchise, thanks to his editor on the films.

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Taking over an iconic franchise from director Wes Craven is no easy feat. With Scream, the fifth title in the series, though, directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett are giving it their all. The film features the returns of series stars Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, and David Arquette, and also finds Kevin Williamson--who wrote 1, 2, and 4--stepping in as an executive producer. Those aren't the only links to the franchise Craven built, though.

Speaking to GameSpot, Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillett explained that they reached out to a number of people Craven worked with on the franchise. Yes, Williamson was instrumental to the making of the movie, as were the returning cast, but so were many others, including editor Patrick Lussier, who worked on the first three Scream films and Wes Craven's New Nightmare.

"I think a part of this process for us was building a portrait of Wes Craven," Gillett explained. "We didn't have the opportunity to meet him, so getting to know him and his taste and what influenced him and building this universe was really important to us moving forward. But Patrick told us that in the editing of the opening of the original Scream that Wes told him that the audience needed to feel like they were in the hands of a madman and that the movie was supposed to take that level of risk--that it was supposed to push the audience right to the edge of the cliff and then push them over."

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There's no doubt that the opening of the initial Scream does just that, with the elaborate killing sequence of Casey Becker (Drew Barrymore). At the time, with Barrymore front and center on all of the film's marketing, one could only assume she would be the star of the film, rather than someone wiped out 10 minutes in. That shocking twist left audiences knocked off-balance and set the tone on what to expect from a Scream movie. Now, with the new installment, Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillett are looking to capture that same feeling.

"How can we push things to that next level right?" Gillett recalled wondering. "How do you how can you get people right to the edge of their seat and just before they think they're going to have some relief, you actually pile even more tension on? I think it's one of the things that are present in all of the original four and was really a compass for us when we were crafting what this movie would be."

It'll be up to audiences to decide if they captured the right tone. In Chris E. Hayner's Review of Scream, he said, "This is a Scream movie, through and through. Yet still, it never feels unoriginal. Directors Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillett, as well as writers James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick, have delivered a movie more than worthy of the Scream franchise. And while it might be hard to figure out where in the rankings it stands, it's certainly a contender for one of the very best entries in the series."

Scream is in theaters Friday.

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