Scream 4 was released in theatres almost a decade ago; it was iconic horror director Wes Craven’s penultimate picture before his death in 2015. It mainly seemed like the franchise’s final chapter. Because horror series never die, like the Halloween and Saw reboots have recently demonstrated. The Scream franchise is back for a fifth edition with a mostly-new cast with the original film’s surviving main cast returning.
It’s understandable to bring back a beloved horror franchise at this time, but most horror franchises aren’t as closely attached to their filmmaker as Scream is. Because this franchise is Kevin Willaimson’s and Wes Craven’s baby, not having one of the two’s influence is immensely concerning. Thankfully, new filmmakers Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett put their hearts and souls into this picture, making it something that both long-time fans and Craven himself would be proud of.
It is now 11 years after the events of Scream 4, and Ghostface is committing his latest murder wave in Woodsboro, a town in California. Sam (Melissa Barerra) is the primary character drawn back to Woodsboro after her sister, Tara (Jenna Ortega), is murdered by the masked killer.
Sam enlists the services of Dewey Riley (David Arquette), Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox), and Sydney Prescott to discover the killer, safeguard her sister’s buddy group, and put an end to the carnage (Neve Campbell).
There isn’t a single dim bulb among the entire cast of this film. Usually, a movie with a large ensemble cast would have a weak link or two, but not here. Melissa Barerra, Jack Quaid, Jenna Ortega, Dylan Minnette, Jasmin Savoy Brown, Mason Gooding, Mikey Madison, and Sonia Ben Ammar, who make up the new cast, are all fantastic in their parts. The new cast’s genuine standouts are Quaid, Barrera, and Ortega.
Scream 5 Full Review
In reality, the plot is far more convoluted, but I’m going to try to keep spoilers and plot reveals to a minimum in this review.
It’s difficult to discuss what makes each of their performances so memorable and unique in this franchise without giving away what their characters represent for the film and the genre tropes Radio Silence is based on.
The Scream franchise has always been self-aware and meta, riffing on both itself and the larger genre in which the films are set, and this trend continues here. Some may find the bigger societal criticism and the underlying purpose of the plot and mystery in this picture a little heavy-handed or heavy-handed or in-face. The social criticism hit me hard and felt appropriate for what the horror genre and Hollywood are going through.
Overall, the film has some fantastic scenes, a lot of funny banter and references, and a healthy dose of self-awareness. As a continuation of the series, it is hilarious, hectic, and intelligent at once. As far as reboot sequels go, it’s a decent entry that should make any fan excited for the franchise’s future. Unfortunately, it does not operate perfectly on all levels. Several critical moments and segments could be very tense, but protracted pauses and poor plot progression severely limit the scenes’ potential.
I wish I could go into more detail about what makes this film so unique and entertaining, what makes the cast so engaging to watch, and what surprises the film holds, but saying so would cheapen and reduce the experience for anyone reading this. It’s well worth your time, money, and support, whether you’re a fan of Scream or not.
As time has gone by, meta-horror has gotten more popular; the genre is becoming much more self-aware of what has to be addressed in the future. Scream was the film that first introduced meta-horror to the mainstream, and it seems only fitting that it should be the one to set the standard for years to come.