I wanted to vent about the problem with sequels. We get excited when we find out an awesome movie’s story is going to be continued in a sequel, but, more often than not, we leave the theater feeling disappointed. If the sequel is not disappointing, it may spawn a franchise which just starts to get more annoying as it grows bigger and bigger.
After posting my review of Scream, I watched the next two movies in the series and only found myself wanting to watch the first one again. Watching the Scream 3 especially made me miss the characters from the original. Yes, Scream 2 and Scream 3 add interesting storylines to the series, especially the third one, but I can’t help but think the original would have been just fine as a standalone film. Some things don’t need to be answered and just left up for discussion amongst the audience.
The Saw franchise is a perfect example of this. As the director, James Wan, points out, there was minimal gore in the first one with a focus on the plot and the way it was presented to create the high tension a viewer feels when first watching the movie. It was original and thought provoking. The sequels only seemed to try and repeat what the first had done and that’s an impossible feat for any sequel. Like Scream, it was a refreshing, new, instant classic that was fine as a standalone film.
While there are some sequels that became rare exceptions, most filmmakers should consider taking the short story approach to their movies: leave some questions unanswered. Some questions in the original go unanswered because only the most talented writers can answer those questions well. Even so, a movie is much more interesting with questions left to be answered by the viewer.