This review is not spoiler free.
I am way too excitable for that.
Scream, Scream 5, 5cream?! Whatever you want to call it, the aforementioned may just be my most anticipated film in ages… well, since Scream 4 anyway. But Dewey was right, this one just feels different, and I mean that in the most positive of ways. Kudos to both Tyler Gillett and Matt Bettinelli-Olpin in their direction, accompanied by a strong tight script from Guy Busick and James Vanderbilt. Culminating in a story that introduces us to some fresh new faces in Woodsboro, but more importantly bringing back our legacy players who pack the emotional punch in so many ways.
Scream is a fresh take on an old formula and it’s biggest and most interesting difference is its introduction of modern technology and how that technology has shaped traditional horror tropes. This is displayed ever so wonderfully in its opening scene, mirroring how far we have come since Drew Barrymore blessed our screens. A change in which we see Jenna Ortega’s “Tara” alone at home when the phone rings, exactly reminiscent of the original, even down to Ghostface himself Roger L Jackson’s ever menacing and terrifying voice on the other end of the line. But it is ultimately technology that leads to our opening victim’s survival. Something we have never seen in any iteration before. Casey Becker could have done with a “smart home” device back in 1996. This ever so meta movie is also able to reference people’s new love of “elevated” horror such as “It Follows” and “The Babadook”, the new-age trend that leans towards social commentary over the classic slasher, or in our films case, the movie within a movie; “Stab”. But we all know nothing beats a classic!
"We haven’t seen this much gore and violence since Scream 2."
What makes this film successful is a tight script, wonderful set pieces, throwbacks to the original and crucially the brutality of Ghostface. We haven’t seen this much gore and violence since Scream 2 and of course the original. This absolutely works wonders for the film in my opinion. The highlight being the demise of our ever so loved Sheriff Judy (“I prefer animated films and musicals”) and her son Wes. Wes’s death is particularly visceral and hard to watch. Starting with a great spin on your typical genre gender roles, when we would expect to see a woman half naked showering before her demise, but we actually see Wes in the shower. This is 2022 people, times have changed. This is swiftly followed by a drawn-out scene of him closing and opening doors throughout the house, constantly fooling the audience into thinking Ghostface is going to appear. But when he finally does appear it doesn’t disappoint in the slightest, as we see a very realistic knife moving slowly through Wes’s neck and out the other side. It truly is a fantastic set piece and utterly gruesome.
The new cast are a great bunch, but if I had one criticism it would be that there are members we don’t get to spend enough time with. Sonia Ammar’s “Liv” for example, her death took me by surprise but mainly because she was on my suspect list due to the film avoiding much character depth, which in theory avoids suspicion. I was wrong of course, but it just makes me feel we needed a little more fleshing out from her. Our main heroine’s “The Carpenter Sisters” played by Jenna Ortega and Melissa Barrera get enough screen time to establish their relationship though, which makes up for the lack of other characters in spades, which in turn helps the viewer to get a grip on this new story and their place in it. Then obviously we get bucketloads of Ghostface which is always welcome.
"The original trio bring heaps of emotional depth to a horror sequel that doesn’t even warrant it, yet is absolutely welcomed."
But of course, no Scream would be the same without our original trio, bringing heaps of emotional depth to a horror sequel that doesn’t even warrant it, yet is absolutely welcomed. Neve Campbell slips back into “Sidney’s” shoes with ease and shows such growth; She is a mum now of course. But the MVPs are “Gale” and “Dewey”. The latter gets to show his characteristics and humour we have grown to love throughout the franchise yet showing an emotional side we haven’t seen from him before. His death is shocking, brutal, and completely devastating and I believe it was needed to propel our two “Final Girls” to the end. Then Courteney Cox does wonders as “Gale Weathers”, at moments even bringing tears to my eyes. She has always been a force to be reckoned with, but in Scream (2022) she really gets to show her growth as a character and the evolution of her relationship with “Sidney”. Watching them outside the house from the original gave me shivers.
Act 3 is truly one hell of a set piece, with the inevitable killer reveal and blood-soaked finale. The motive for Ghostface seems utterly relevant to modern horror and film in general. With both Jack Quaid and Mikey Madison (once they were revealed) becoming fantastic villains, especially Mikey’s “Amber” who was completely nuts, a character that really came to life once the mask came off. In true Scream fashion it was chaotic, violent, and forever genius.
Scream worked on all levels for me as a de hard fan of the franchise, all the way to those being introduced to it for the first time. A smart, sassy, brutal and surprisingly emotional entry into this ever-evolving franchise which I adore.