Scream is the fifth installment in the Scream slasher franchise where, once again, a killer (or killers?) wearing a Ghostface costume begins killing teenagers in the town of Woodsboro. Set 25 years after the events of the first film, this ‘requel’ (a sequel and a reboot/remake) returns to the roots that made the first film a great hit with its meta commentary on horror films and their endless sequels, prequels, and now requels.
With its nostalgic nods to Wes Craven’s original 1996 film, I couldn’t help but enjoy this new Scream as it did a pretty good job of essentially redoing the first film while managing to make it feel different at the same time.
After leaving the town of Woodsboro for personal reasons when she was a teenager, Sam Carpenter (Melissa Barrera) returns to her hometown when she learns her younger sister Tara (Jenna Ortega) has been attacked by Ghostface. Accompanied by her boyfriend Richie Kirsch (Jack Quaid), Sam seeks out help from veteran Ghostface survivor, Dewey Riley (David Arquette) due to his wealth of experience with prior iterations of the costumed, knife wielding killer.
As the body count piles up, former Ghosface survivors Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) and Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox) return to Woodsboro to offer their expertise with helping this new generation of victims defeat this new masked killer (or killers). But unlike the heroes of the past who are willing to face the danger presented to them, Sam eventually decides it would be smarter to get away from the threat rather than face it. If we’ve learned anything from previous films, she’ll soon learn there’s no escaping your destiny and now Sam will have to do whatever is necessary if she has any chance of making it to the next sequel.
The acting is on point for the Scream franchise which introduces a new generation of Woodsboro victims. While Melissa Barrera lacks the leading lady screen presence that Neve Campbell has, she nonetheless does an adequate job of being the new Scream heroine. Along with co-stars Jenna Ortega, Jack Quaid and the rest of the young talented cast making up the high school circle of friends you expect in a Scream movie, this meets the standards you’d expect for a Hollywood slasher franchise movie.
The only time I felt the casting was off is when a character is revealed to be a/the killer and it’s obvious this person does not have the physique required to carry out the kill scenes they have been in. I’m not sure if this was an intentional misdirect or poor planning, but it does take away from the realism the film constantly pokes at.
Co-Directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett (Ready or Not, Devil’s Due) have made a worthy Scream ‘requel’ that honors the story structure and meta commentary of the original film while still changing things up just enough to make it different – even though it pretty much feels the same. Because of this, fans of the original Scream can enjoy the nostalgia of revisiting Woodsboro in a story that is both familiar and new that’s a superior sequel when compared to Scream 2, 3 and 4. That said, you kind of need those inferior sequels to exist in order for the meta commentary of the fifth film to hold up.
Scream is a decent slasher film that fits well within the franchise. Did it need to be made? Not really. But it’s a decent enough sequel that old and new fans alike will find something to enjoy. While the ending isn’t as strong as the original and the reveal of a/the killer being way too unrealistic, it’s still a fun ride that does a great job playing with meta commentary on the horror film genre as well as the re-hashing of ideas Hollywood is known for. I feel like the late Wes Craven would approve.