Directors: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett
Writers: James Venderbilt and Guy Busick
Starring: Melissa Barrera, Jenna Ortega, Jack Quaid, Dylan Minnette, Mason Gooding, Jasmin Savoy Brown, Mikey Madison, Sonia Ben Ammar, Courteney Cox, David Arquette, and Neve Campbell
It’s been a little over twenty-five years since the original Scream gave new life to the slasher genre, since then there’s sequels and a TV show remake, and now the fifth film in the series, almost eleven years after Scream 4. The fifth film, simply titled Scream somehow manages to keep the magic going and adds another near perfect entry to the franchise.
It’s been twenty-five years since the first massacre in Woodsboro, and there’s a new copy-cat on the loose. This time the killer seems to be hunting down people who have a connection to the past events. The first attack on teenager Tara (Jenna Ortega) echoes the first killing all those years before. In response Tara’s sister, Samantha (Melissa Barrera) comes back to Woodsboro after five years to protect her sister and uncover the truth.
This may be the first Scream film that wasn’t directed by Wes Craven, but you can still feel his influence all over the film. There’s even a character named after him, and the film itself is dedicated to his memory. It’s still filled with the same meta humour as the previous films, and the same level of terror as Ghostface racks up a body count. This time around the gore is increased, with some gruesome stabbings and gallons of blood. The stakes are also a lot higher, with some literal gut punches throughout.
In the same way that Scream 4 was filled with commentary on reboots, this one is commenting on requels, half remake and half sequel. Even the fact that the film isn’t called Scream 5, as it should be, is a punchline in the film. The title follows in the trend of Halloween (2018), which is a sequel to the original Halloween, or Candyman (2021), which again is a sequel. There’s an entire speech in the film explaining the trend of requels and how some work and some don’t, using the in-universe Stab franchise as a thinly veiled jab at the toxic side of the Star Wars fanbase. You’ll be surprised to find a whole speech around the divisive reception of The Last Jedi, hidden as Stab 8. The meta humour is on point and really works. Unlike the previous films, outside of the bursts of meta humour, this isn’t that funny. It’s more focused on an all-out bloodbath, than comedy.
The plot beats are very familiar. Scream has a formula and this one doesn’t stray away from it too much. There are a few twists you won’t see coming, and some that you will see coming. As much as the film comments on what fans want and how stories just recycle the same plot, it doesn’t do much to stray from that either. If you click with the franchise, then you’re probably going to get along with this one, and if you don’t like the series, then this isn’t going to do much to win you over. There are a lot of returning characters from the series, as well as some nice surprises with call backs. As well as a couple of deep stabs to your heart.
Going back to Woodsboro and catching up with everyone after a decade away is still just as entertaining as it was in the previous sequels. The legacy characters are all excellent, and surprisingly they aren’t the main focus of the story. While they do appear throughout and are integral to the story, the story is being handed to the next generation. In some ways it’s setting up sequels that don’t need to rely on Sidney Prescott.
Scream is another excellent entry to the franchise. It’s gory and funny. Filled with references to other horror films and a great tribute to one of the greatest horror directors ever. The franchise is in good hands.
Thanks for reading! If you liked my review, please subscribe to never miss a post: