HOLLYWOOD—Look, I have been a fan of the “Scream” franchise since the first flick arrived in 1996 and the buzz about the flick was so strong, you couldn’t help, but say, why haven’t I seen this movie. Fast forward 25 years later, and we have our fifth installment in the franchise amply titled “Scream,” the 2022 version. Is it a remake or reboot? No, it’s a reimagining of the classic, but a sequel at the same time and a bunch of other names that characters in the flick coin the current state of horror as well.
We have the reunion of our iconic survivors Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), Gale Weathers (Courtreney Cox) and Dewey Riley (David Arquette). Yes, they have survived four entries in the franchise, but this fifth outing has completely raised the stakes people and no one is off limits that’s all I will say. The opening to this movie is wicked, visceral and brutal. I mean Ghostface has always done vicious kills, but whew this movie might rank at the top in terms of its violence and brutality. Our killer(s) is not messing around this time around. There is no secret, so I’m not spoiling anything with the revelation that Tara Carpenter (Jenna Ortega) has a tango with Ghostface that is menacing, unsettling and makes it crystal clear he or she is out for blood.
I cannot believe how many critics have already spoiled a few things about the movie’s opening leaving very little mystery for the audience. C’mon people this movie is a whodunit, so the big mystery is not only connecting the dots to find out who is behind the mask, but WHY they’re doing what they’re doing. I think that is the thing that “Scream” forgive me because I want to call it “Scream 5” does so well. The audience might be blown by the motivation of the killer(s) compared to the face or faces behind the mask people.
So who is at the catalyst of this drama? It is Sam Carpenter (Melissa Barrera), a Woodsboro resident who finds herself brought back to town as a killer targets her, a secrets from her past and her family. In the midst of being a focal point for the killer, Sam discovers a group of Woodsboro residents who have ties to characters from the 1996 flick.
That is indeed an interesting twist that immediately grabbed my attention people. Yes, we have a fresh face of newbies portrayed by Mason Gooding, Jasmine Savoy Brown, Sonia Ammar, Mikey Madison, Kyle Gallner, Dylan Minnette and Jack Quaid. Sam returns to Woodsboro with boyfriend Ritchie (Quaid) who seems too good to be true that is always a red herring right people. If you think Dewey, Sidney and Gale are the clear focus, you would be wrong because they’re focal points to the drama that unfolds and the connective tissues that bring that back into the foray is interesting to say the least.
Sidney is a mother, Gale has that hot talk show she has always wanted in New York, Dewey on the other hand has fallen on tough times. He’s no longer the sheriff of Woodsboro, but he still lives in the town and is drawn out of recluse to help Sam figure out who is targeting her, and her sister Tara’s pals. “Scream” has always been known for its meta references which this movie does exceptionally well, but at the same time doesn’t always deliver. I mean you can only say “I’ll be right back” so many times without giving the audience a twist to that saying that they did not see coming.
The adrenaline is palpable, the scares are suitable, this isn’t 1978 “Halloween” territory, nor will “Scream” ever fall within that realm. It is known for being scary one minute, but having you laugh the next, but this fifth chapter finds a way to go back to that element that I always found more potent in the 1996 flick compared to its subsequent sequels. “Scream 2” was good, but it was not like its predecessor.
Directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillet manage to capture terror on the camera in a way that is so invigorating to watch on the big screen. Yes, this is a movie you NEED to see on the big screen with an audience because you can feed off that energy of people being intensely engaged. The script by James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick is witty, clever and potent exploring the world of horror from the past, the present and what the future could hold for us.
“Scream” definitely revitalizes the franchise that failed to deliver that punch from “Scream 4,” but the 2022 version of “Scream” proves there are some fresh ideas for a franchise that reignited the horror genre when it was dying, and it looks like it might be doing it again people.