A new series of Woodboro killings brings Sidney, Gale, and Dewey
together to help a new generation of victims fight a new Ghostface.
Directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett
Written by James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick
Starring Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette,
Melissa Barrera, Jenna Ortega, Jack Quaid, Mikey Madison,
Dylan Minnette, Marley Shelton, Jasmon Savoy Brown,
Mason Gooding, Sonia Ammar
Sequel to 2011's Scream 4
It's kind of amazing that the Scream franchise has not only survived the collapse of the Weinstein Company, the death of Wes Craven, and the evolution of the horror genre, but it's actually thrived under the pressure. This franchise uses the constant discourse of horror and the film industry and turns into fuel for Ghostface's fire. In this fifth installment, the duo behind Ready or Not takes on toxic fandom, reboots, bad sequels, and the pretentious concept of "elevated horror," while also living up to the legacy of the franchise and doing justice to Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson's vision. This is a fantastic sequel and maybe the creepiest film of the franchise.
It's been twenty-five years since Billy Loomis and Stu Macher invented Ghostface and terrorized Sidney Prescott (Campbell) and her friends. Now, a new generation of victims is being stalked and killed by a new, sadistic Ghostface, prompting retired sheriff Dewey Riley (Arquette) to spring back into action to help these kids learn the rules and save themselves. But this time, the killer is hunting the relatives of the first round of victims, allowing for a great deal of throwbacks to the first film. The cast is fantastic, and the newcomers mesh well with the legacies.
I knew this Scream was going to be worth it when the three franchise mainstays signed on. They said doing it without Wes Craven just wasn't right, which meant that the vision behind the new one must be something special. This is a great way to kick off a whole new year of movies, and a great sequel that really cares about legacy and the longtime fans.
Back in 2015, we lost legendary and iconic horror director, Wes Craven. His passing was unfortunate and still stings many horror fans, myself included, to this day. But well before this, back in 2011, Scream 4 ended up not performing all that well at the box office. And, more recently, the Weinstein company was completely shut down due to horrendous revelations of sexual abuse and harassment. What does any of these things have to do with the movie at hand? Well, because of those aforementioned items, it seemed all but certain the Scream franchise was officially dead. Yet, it wouldn’t be long before a studio bought the rights and things started to move forward. The filmmaking team known as Radio Silence would be announced as directors and our three beloved leads would be coming back. As for Kevin Williamson, once again he would not be writing, but he would give his blessing and provide guidance as needed. With all this good happening behinds the scenes, would this newest entry stand up to the prior films? And, most importantly, would it make Wes Craven proud?
To answers those answers simply and quickly: Yes! Radio Silence do an amazing job of creating a film which honors what has come before while ushering in a new era for the franchise. The new cast is pretty likable and fun to watch. The standout being Jasmin Savoy Brown as the niece of Randy Meeks. She does a great job of being the one to tell the audience all the rules while being updated for a more modern audience. The new cast isn’t having all the fun, though. Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette all come back and don’t miss a step. Arquette, in particular, kills it as our lovable sheriff who must always save people. Now, the two things people seemed to care the most about during the marketing: Ghostface and the meta references. For those who were worried the latter wouldn’t be as prevalent thanks to the trailers, breathe a sigh of relief. This is the sequel which feels the most like the original thanks to its balance of horror and meta commentary. Everything from the recent trend of “requels” and toxic fandom are poked at in this new installment. As for the former, Ghostface hasn’t felt this terrifying since the original as well. From the way he carries himself to the brutality of the kills, this is a Ghostface I wouldn’t want to cross.
For the most part, this is a superb sequel by a filmmaking team with a clear affinity for the original and its creator. Both the new and old cast are wonderful to watch. The meta commentary has never been more on point. Ghostface has never been scarier. And the kills have definitely never been this brutal. Like everyone else has been saying, Wes would be proud.