(SPOILER-FREE) Paramount's Scream - They Did It Without Wes Craven

It's always someone you know.

Scream is a 2022 meta slasher film directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, written by James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick, produced by Spyglass Media Group, Radio Silence Productions, Project X Entertainment, and Outerbanks Entertainment, and distributed by Paramount Pictures. It stars Melissa Barrera and Jenna Ortega. This is the fifth film in the Scream franchise. It was preceded by Scream 4.


"There are certain rules to surviving." - Dewey Riley

Plot


25 years after Billy Loomis and Stu Macher terrorized the sleepy town of Woodsboro, Ghostface is back...and more dangerous than ever. As secrets unfold between a tight-knit group of friends, everyone stops trusting each other. Everyone has a motive. Everyone has a secret. And nobody is safe.


It's always someone you know.


Meta Humor / Honoring Wes Craven / Ghostface / Tension / Connection to the Previous Four Movies / New Characters / Unnecessary Return of the Legacy Cast / Ghostface Motives (No spoilers!)


Should you go see Scream?


Final Score


The Sweet


I haven't seen Scream 3 or Scream 4, but, out of the three Scream movies that I have seen, I think this is the funniest.


The original Scream is great, and the references and meta humor are good, too, but Scream 5 (which is what I'm going to call it) tackles "elevated horror" such as The Babadook, Get Out, Hereditary, etc. It also comments on the string of reboot/sequels to horror movies that we've gotten in the past few years; Candyman, Halloween, Spiral, and more. It's so clever when it makes fun of them, especially because this movie is a re-quel in and of itself. It's one of the funniest uses of meta humor that I've ever seen. I absolutely loved it.


As everyone has said, the biggest worry that came with Scream 5 was the absence of Wes Craven. Craven sadly passed away in 2015, so they had to move the franchise forward without the master of horror. And the directors of this film absolutely nailed the tone of the previous Scream movies. They honor Craven's legacy, mixing his vibe and style with theirs, and it absolutely works. Usually, when a franchise has such a jarring shift like this, the film would feel off. But Scream 5 does such a great job of being an homage to Craven while also being a little bit of a new direction for the series.


This is also the most violent and probably the scariest Scream movie. The kills are slow and brutal. None of them are super inventive, but they are extremely gory and get under your skin. Part of this violence and horror is due to the absolutely horrifying version of Ghostface that we get. I've never found Ghostface to be as intimidating or as scary as Michael or Jason, but in this film, he absolutely was. Something about this Ghostface was more merciless and more evil. And I loved that aspect.


While being able to capture the meta humor that the franchise is known for, Scream 5 was also able to replicate the high tension that the first Scream had. The opening scene of Scream is one of the best horror movie scenes of all time, but Scream 5 rivaled that scene with a slow-building intensity that just grabs a hold of you and never lets go. And that's how a lot of the scenes are. The Scream films haven't always had stakes, but Scream 5 is willing to kill off characters that you love. And since Scream 5 is willing to do that, the audience members never feel safe inside of a particular scene. It's a great atmosphere that really elevates the film above some of the other slasher re-quels we've had.


While the film is a re-quel, it makes sure to fill out the sequel side of things. There were some unexpected ties back to the original Scream, and I loved that they included those elements. Billy Loomis has an enormous presence inside of this movie, and I love the way that they use it. There are also some cool connections sprinkled throughout the movie, especially in the final act. It did a fabulous job of honoring the previous generation of Scream movies while starting its own new generation of films.


The Sour


My biggest problem with the movie is the new cast of characters. Scream 5 fills out the film with a huge cast of eight completely new main characters. And most of them aren't that interesting. The standout character is Tara Carpenter, played by Jenna Ortega. She's probably my favorite character in the movie. Besides her, however, these characters are cliche. Most of them are used for two reasons: to have more suspicions about who could be Ghostface and to fill out the body count. None of them are really given any defining traits or interesting arcs. They are just used as side characters. And even the main characters, besides Tara, really aren't cool. And they definitely cannot measure up to Sid, Gale, and Dewey. I wish they had gotten a better cast of characters to be the new leads of the franchise. It was pretty disappointing.


And, while I didn't love the new characters, I felt like the inclusion of the legacy characters was forced. I love Sidney. She's one of my favorite movie characters of all time. Dewey and Gale are great. And, of course, I smiled when they came back. But it didn't feel like their return to Woodsboro was merited. Dewey's return was great, but it still wasn't necessary. They didn't add anything to the main plot. And, as much as I wanted them back, I wanted it to feel earned. And it didn't.


Finally, I didn't love the motivation for the killer. I thought Billy's motivation in Scream was good. It made sense. But every other Ghostface has had ridiculous motivation for becoming a serial killer. And Scream 5's Ghostface's motivation is just as stupid and over-the-top. The concept of Scream is obviously silly, but it's a clever kind of silly. Ghostface is not silly. He's scary. But the killer suddenly becomes less scary when his or her motivations are just ludicrous.


Should you go see Scream?


I'd say yes. You should definitely watch the first Scream before watching this film, though. If you aren't into horror movies, I'd still watch the original Scream. It's an iconic film that you will enjoy even if you don't love horror movies, because it's a pretty fun and funny movie.


But if you are a horror fan or Scream fan, definitely go see it. It's great.


Final Score


Scream is one of the best re-quels we've gotten. It swiftly re-ignites the Scream franchise with all the fun horror-comedy you'd expect from a Scream movie. It's one of the most fun horror films of the past twenty years.


I'm going Savory. Age range is 13+.


SWEET N' SOUR SCALE

Sweet (Great) Savory (Good)

Sour (Bad)

Moldy (Terrible)


"Scream"


Fun Factor: 9.5/10

Acting: 7/10

Characters: 6.5/10

Story: 8/10

Quality: 7.5/10


WHERE TO WATCH

Only in theaters


Directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett


Rated R for strong bloody violence, frightening scenes and images, language, drugs, thematic elements


Released on January 14, 2022


1 hour and 54 minutes


Melissa Barrera as Samantha "Sam" Carpenter

Jenna Ortega as Tara Carpenter

Jack Quaid as Richie Kirsch

Jasmin Savoy Brown as Mindy Meeks-Martin

Mikey Madison as Amber Freeman

David Arquette as Dewey Riley

Dylan Minnette as Wes Hicks

Mason Gooding as Chad Meeks-Martin

Neve Campbell as Sidney Prescott

Courteney Cox as Gale Weathers

Sonia Ben Ammar as Liv McKenzie

Kyle Gallner as Vince Schneider

Marley Shelton as Judy Hicks

Roger L. Jackson as Ghostface