New from Kevin Wozniak on Kevflix: Review: Scream



Scream, the fifth installment in the Scream franchise that probably should have been titled something like 5cream or simply Scream 5 or Scream V, is a testament to Scream as a franchise. Since the first film debuted in 1996, the Scream franchise has stuck to its roots in terms of what it is: murderous whodunits filled with meta-humor about the state of horror films. Whenever a new Scream film comes out, regardless of decade, we know exactly what to expect, yet the films never fail to always be unique, fun, and creepy.

Scream is coming out 25 years after the original classic film and it is the first film in the franchise that is not directed by the legendary Wes Craven, who passed away in 2015. But the film and franchise were put in good hands in directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, who have kept the spirit of the Scream franchise while also leaving room for the franchise to grow even further.

Ghostface is terrorizing Woodsboro once again, this time with his eyes set on people connected to the past Ghostface killings. At the center of this are a new group of unsuspecting teens and twenty-somethings, led by Sam Carpenter (Melissa Barrera), her sister Tara (Jenna Ortega), and Tara’s friends. Because of the popularity of the Stab movies, the Scream franchises version of Scream, this new group knows how it works when it comes to Ghostface and the killings in Woodsboro: everyone is a suspect. Paranoia sets in amongst the group of friends as the bodies begin to pile up.

Ghostface attacks a man in a parking lot in SCREAM
SCREAM (Paramount)

Meanwhile, Dewey Riley (David Arquette), still residing in Woodsboro, was forced into retirement by the Woodsboro police after his relationship with Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox) ended when she got a job hosting a morning show in New York, and now spends his days polishing off bottles of booze in his trailer. And Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) seems to have found peace in her life, living with her husband and two kids in a sunny, quiet place. Sam reaches out to Dewey about the Ghostface killings and he then warns Sidney and Gale about these recent killings and warns them to not come back to Woodsboro, though we know that they can never pass up an opportunity to defeat a new Ghostface. From there, it’s a thrilling mystery trying to figure out who is Ghostface and to stop the murders.

The Scream films have always had a very unique tone and attitude. The franchise has mastered blending the whodunit, the slasher film, and horror parody together while always feeling fresh and original and never stupid or predictable. The franchise has also shown us that the killer, or killers, could be anyone. It could be a family member, a significant other, a friend, a mother hellbent on revenge, anyone who is close to the victims, which sets the tone immediately for the movie following the first kill. We cannot trust anyone, everyone is a suspect, and everyone is a target. Bettinello-Olpin and Gillett have crafted a suspenseful, tricky, wildly entertaining chapter in the Scream franchise, keeping the same tone and style of Craven while also making it their own. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. I was never able to telegraph who the killer was and was surprised with every person who got knocked off. The violence is upped a few notches, being more brutal and graphic, which makes the killings more upsetting and startling.

But as Mindy (Jasmin Savoy Brown), one of the standout new characters explains in one of her long, meta dialogs about the Stab franchise, Scream is a requel: it’s kind of a sequel and kind of a reboot. In the grand scheme of the Scream franchise, this fits right in. It continues the story from the fourth film while bringing tons of callbacks from the franchise. But this is also a movie that looks towards the future of the franchise, one that might not include Sidney, Gale, and Dewey. Bettinello-Olpin and Gillett did a great job of establishing new characters that could easily carry the franchise while also giving a great swan song for the original cast. I don’t know what the future of the franchise is, but if this is the final time we see Ghostface terrorizing Woodsboro, it will have been a terrific ending to one of the great horror franchises. But if the franchise continues, it is in great hands with a young, talented cast and great filmmakers in Bettinello-Olpin and Gillett.






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