For Wes: Radio Silence Filmmakers Share ‘Scream’ Filmmaking Rules They Learned From Wes Craven [Exclusive]

Directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin & Tyler Gillette and executive producer Chad Villella, known collectively as Radio silence, asserted from the outset that their Scream is “For Wes”. They credit the master of horror Wes Craven and his 1996 slasher as direct inspiration for their careers as filmmakers. They sought to honor his legacy with their new film, even studying the late director extensively as a guide for the production.

Because the Scream franchise consistently lays out slasher or sequel rules, Bloody Disgusting asked Radio Silence to break down the most important lessons and rules they learned from Craven before screams release the January 14, 2022.

The essential rules are as follows…


4) Make the audience feel like they’re in the hands of a madman

Ghostface in Paramount Pictures and Spyglass Media Group’s “Scream.”

Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillett had an arduous task ahead of them, not only putting themselves in Craven’s shoes, but making the fifth entry in an enduring franchise feel as dangerous as the movie that started it all. Of course, Craven indirectly had valuable advice for this.

“When we were in pre-production, did we talk to Patrick Lussier, who edited the first four, and this was the start of our year, meeting everyone who knew Wes and getting all the information we could. What he told us was when they started putting together the Drew Barrymore scene; he said Wes came in and said, “I need the audience to feel like he’s in the hands of a madman, right after the jump.” And that became a guiding North Star for us throughout the process.“explained Bettinelli-Olpin.

Tyler added: “Specifically, I can say editorially, part of it is just how long do you last on a horrible hit, right? There’s a time when it’s comfortable to cut because you’ve seen enough. For us, it’s a moment where you go, ‘well, maybe we hang on to it for two more seconds. Maybe put the audience in an experience they’re already uncomfortable with, and you keep them seated a little longer.

“I think this is a good example of this idea in practice. It’s just choosing how long to be manipulative, isn’t it? How long did you build the tension before designing this release, this fear? How long do you sustain a really uncomfortable and bloody shot? Up to who is the killer, who are the victims? All of that factored into this idea of, wow, this movie, it doesn’t feel like there’s a safety net underneath. It’s so memorable for us to watch the first movie, our first experience with Scream. There’s this feeling of being in a fucking freefall that you’re watching something, and it’s a dangerous experience. It’s a big part of what makes these movies effective, makes them memorable, and makes the tone possible.


3) Everyone is suspicious

Lr, Dylan Minnette (“Wes”), Jack Quaid (“Richie”), Melissa Barrera (“Sam”) and David Arquette (“Dewey Riley”) star in “Scream” from Paramount Pictures and Spyglass Media Group.

We took it seriously when casting to make sure everyone, you can look at them to one side and say, ‘huh, I think that person is the killer.’ And then you could look at them from another angle and say, “not the killer, no way”. It’s about making sure everyone is guilty and then innocent, and you can never quite get there. Even when we were filming, we did another take whenever we had time. We learned that from Wes Craven, and based on what he did in the originals, let’s do another one where you’re guilty whether the person is the killer or not. Let’s take takes where you play this one like you’re the killer,” Bettinelli-Olpin said of the thriller side.

He added, “Let’s take takes where you play this one like you’re not the killer. Make sure we have these options. Everybody, every cast, was super into it because it was fun like there was going to be something subtle going on under the hood in that next shot. When we got into the edit, it was invaluable to play around with the levels and play around with who’s guilty when. Why do you think they are guilty? Do you really believe that they are guilty?


2) Engage in the current climate of horror

Jenna Ortega (“Tara”) stars in “Scream” from Paramount Pictures and Spyglass Media Group.

Villela breaks down by incorporating one of the franchise’s core tenets: “Things have changed so much over the past twenty-five years. I think Wes was always a bit ahead, right? In each film, he described the current trend and where it was going and ahead of it in a very specific way. It’s something we’ve talked about and discussed throughout this creative process. Being able to shine a light on whether we’re going a bit too far and exploring the landscape of not just horror, but everything in society and being a teenager, and thinking about everything else. I think that’s what’s fun Scream is.”


1) Most importantly, break the rules

Ghostface in Paramount Pictures and Spyglass Media Group’s “Scream.”

Jamie Kennedy’s Randy Meeks may have laid down the ground rules for surviving a slasher, but Scream overturned these rules over and over again. This subversion was necessary here.

Bettinelli-Olpin said of this crucial rule: “It’s very funny this idea of ​​rules because there are several rules given in all these films. There are rules for surviving a horror movie. And as far as those movies putting a full stop to those rules, we think one of the most interesting things about the movies themselves, and certainly Wes and Kevin [Williamson] as creators is that they were also simply interested in breaking all the rules possible.

“You let the movie tell you exactly how to do things and then do them totally in a different way. We like that in terms of what these movies are. There’s also, by design, a real need for them to subvert expectations and do what you least expect of them and break all those rules. There was a lot of permission granted by the other four movies to do that, to set the rules and then also find a new way to play by them. And then overthrow them.


Bonus: Neve Campbell’s Words of Wisdom on Ghostface

Neve Campbell (“Sidney Prescott”) stars in “Scream” from Paramount Pictures and Spyglass Media Group.

Insights and advice on Craven and the franchise’s legacy often came from his longtime collaborators, including the franchise mainstay neve campbell, like the enduring heroine Sidney Prescott. The Ghostface expert helped the directors unlock their film’s central antagonist, separating Ghostface from the suspects behind the mask.

One of the things she said was helpful to us because we’re probably intellectualizing it a bit too much. She told us something like, “Ghostface is like a superhero. Its own character; embrace that. That’s what we did on the others,” Bettinelli-Olpin said.

Gillett explains, “We had this kind of roadmap of who’s in the suit and when. Part of the magic of these movies is that they’re always a bit imprecise. This Ghostface as a character oddly has the same mannerisms in all the movies. There’s one specific, iconic Ghostface performance that we think is amusing and goes a long way in keeping this mystery alive. Now, I think you could definitely go back and find out who’s behind the mask and when. But for us, we like the idea that whoever is behind the mask understands what Ghostface is and still plays that role. There’s a theatricality to who the killer is.”

Scream opens in theaters this Thursday night in select locations, Friday everywhere.