Scream 5 (2022)
For the month of April I have been watching Wes Craven and George A. Romero movies, two of the most influential directors of the horror genre and creators of films that are the origins for what a good portion of the horror genre is like today. This endeavor took a lot longer than anticipated and isn’t quite ready yet. My intentions to watch two horror directors' bodies of work and research their lives over the course of a month is silly looking back now. So, since that isn’t done yet I plan to write about new movies that I’ve seen.
Luckily for me Scream 5 came out this year, and despite it not having Wes Craven involved due to his passing it is a new installment in a series that offered up one of the most recognizable horror figures of our time, Ghostface, which he created. I myself am a big fan of the Scream series and have always enjoyed the self aware horror movie trope. This trope is like a half step before a breaking of the fourth wall between a movie and the audience, where the characters freely acknowledge the circumstances they find themselves in are straight out of a slasher film but do not directly address the audience or that they’re being watched by an audience.
Scream 5 released as simply Scream is a reboot or relaunch of the Scream series that bends that a little by also being a sequel to Scream 4 at the same time. Wes Craven had planned to be involved with Scream 5 and a Scream 6 under the condition that finalized versions be ready before filming following mishaps with Scream 2, 3, and 4 and the script not being done after filming had begun.
In Scream 5 we are introduced to a new set of teenagers and young adults, including the secret child of Billy Loomis himself (played by Skeet Ulrich), Sam Carpenter, played by Melissa Berrera. This alone is an interesting development as it implies that in Scream (1996) Billy is cheating on Sydney Prescott herself and that his desperate ploys to have her sleep with him are even more sleazy due to him sleeping with other girls at their school the whole time.
Not only do we get our favorites, Sidney Prescott (played by Neve Campbell), Gale Weathers (played by Courtney Cox), and Dewey Riley (played by David Arquette) back but we also get Sam’s hallucinations of Billy Loomis, her father as she grapples with the fear that she will end up just like him.
The group of high school students we follow includes Sam’s younger half-sister, Tara Carpenter (played by Jenna Ortega), and Randy Meek’s nephew Chad Meeks-Martin (played by Mason Gooding) and niece Mindy Meeks-Martin (played by Jasmin Savoy Brown) who follows in his footsteps as a horror movie connoisseur. That is not all though, we also have Wes Hicks (played by Dylan Minette) the son of Sheriff Judy Hicks who previously lusted after Dewey in Scream 4 to the dismay of Gale. Personally I enjoyed that most of this new group has connections to characters from previous movies and the many nods made throughout to said characters.
Without giving a play-by-play of the movie I will say that I had suspicions about who the new Ghostface might be based on previous Scream movies, and that would be the boyfriend of Sam, Richie Kirsch (played by Jack Quaid). In a not so surprising but acceptable twist the second killer is Tara’s best friend Amber Freeman (played by Mikey Madison) who is dating her co-conspirator Richie.
I had low expectations for this movie going into it mostly because it’s the fifth installment in a series after over ten years of no movies being released. I finished the movie pleasantly surprised that all of the tried and true tropes of the Scream franchise popped up in the plot. From exposition on what the rules are for the movie the characters find themselves in, to the killer(s) coming back when they’re believed to be dead, no nod went un-nodded.
Unfortunately, Dewey succumbed to Ghostface after over two decades of surviving killer duos donning the Ghostface mask. It hurt but it made sense, he did not ensure that the killer had actually been killed and with the movie following its own rules he is killed. It’s heartbreaking and also brings Sidney back into town after hearing of his death to join forces with Gale to catch and/or kill this new Ghostface. Sam originally just wants to get out of town, and actually starts to but since Richie is along for that ride he gets them back into town so the master plan can proceed.
In this film the motive for the Ghostface duo is to provide new source material for the Stab movies following a disappointing Stab 8. Richie and Amber planned to get the “originals” back into the picture and pin all of the murders on Sam, the daughter of the original killer. I will give the movie props for making the duo seem like possible suspects but then proceeding to make sure that viewers are thrown off of that track through the actions and decisions of Richie and Amber.
Overall it’s a good movie, it’s more enjoyable if you’re a fan of the previous movies as it is not just a relaunch like those we have seen before. I’m happy to see the franchise get a new start without abandoning the things that made it great to begin with, including the original cast. The newer cast members are talented and interesting for the most part and have set up connections to past characters that add intrigue to them. Three of the new group of teenagers survive at the end (Tara, and the twins Mindy and Chad) and the slightly older main character Sam. With confirmation that there will be a Scream 6 I’m excited to see how the new generation develops and what things of the past generation continue to prosper.