Our Take: 3/5 Stars
For over twenty years, Scream has made a name for itself as an iconic slasher franchise. At a time when horror movies were declining, 1996 introduced the first Scream movie. This marked a new revival of the slasher era and has continued to influence the horror scene throughout the years. However, there comes a point in every horror franchise when it is time to turn in the mask and let go of the story, which is hopefully the writer’s plan with the newest Scream movie.
Rather than continuing the title trend with Scream 5, this new film is titled Scream, just as the original. The new Scream movie is the franchises’ “requel,” meaning the sequel that is meant to continue the storyline while revisiting and resembling the first movie.
Just as the original did, Scream begins with Tara (Jenna Ortega), a parody of the first-ever Ghostface victim Casey (Drew Barrymore), answering a call asking the iconic line, “what’s your favorite scary movie?” Soon after, Ghostface appears and chaos ensues as Tara becomes Ghostface’s first victim.
The film follows Sam (Melissa Barrera) and her boyfriend Richie (Jack Quaid) as she returns to Woodsboro after learning Tara was attacked by Ghostface. As Ghostface continues to terrorize the town, Sam calls upon familiar faces to help protect her family and end the killing spree.
As a Scream fan, I was happy to see Neve Cambell, Courtney Cox and David Arquette reprise their roles for the fifth time as the legendary Sydney Prescott, Gale Weathers and Dewey Riley to help face off against Ghostface. I was shocked, though, to see the secret return of one of the franchise’s most notorious characters
This surprising appearance explains the reason for Ghostface’s return; and, as the storyline unravels, the audience is drawn deeper into the web of lies spun by Ghostface while experiencing the twists that built Scream into the iconic slasher franchise it is known as today.
The biggest problem I found with the movie was in its twisted logic and sloppy conclusion. As everyone knows, horror movies are known for their own form of ‘logic.’ Scream is no exception.
Sam, however, was one of the first characters who showed a different type of logic. She went and found the Scream veterans and asked them to help her protect her family. One scene later, though, she decides there’s no way Ghostface would follow her and no longer wants help protecting Tara. This made no sense, especially since she was the reason Dewy, Sydney, and Gale traveled back to Woodsboro.
Ghostface’s reveal and motives are one of the worst in Scream’s history, just above the horrendous season 3 ending of MTV’s series. It felt rushed and pointless. I understand that the ending is meant to signify how fandoms can become outrageous and unreasonable, but it is also the ending of a slasher that deserves some creativity.
Compared to more recent horror films, Scream consists of a cliche slasher storyline. Rather than competing to become elevated horror, meaning horror with underlying themes and social commentary, Scream sticks to the simple whodunnit scenes that it is known for. Horror fans of all kinds can appreciate the level of bloody gore brought into the film. By sticking with a simple storyline, Scream is able to perfect the suspense and not let the R-rating go to waste.
The best parts of the movie, deemed ‘the best’ by the amount of cheering from the audience, were in the gruesome Ghostface attacks. These scenes were full of stab wounds, graphic knife attacks, and pools of blood; the perfect recipe for a slasher.
As there has been a rise in comedy throughout the film industry, Scream adopted its own form of dark humor to satirize its storyline. Within the franchise, Scream created “Stab” as the fictional movie depicting Sydney Prescott’s face-off with Ghostface. “Stab” and its many sequels have appeared in Scream sequels since its second film.
I loved how the writers acknowledge how their movie is unnecessary and take a chance to mock the franchise, but the constant jokes are a stark contrast from the ominous atmosphere horror films thrive on. Because of this, the movie felt more like a project than a theater film.
As a Scream fan, I watch the franchise for the slasher thriller and am not looking for a comedy movie that has a side of horror. This film also seems to continuously break the fourth wall. The new characters are a group of teenagers just as they were in the original movie. However, these teenagers mock the horror movie logic, verbally questioning each other’s motives and analyzing how every action and word could explain how they are the killer. This type of commentary was effective in making me question every character, but also left the script bare of any substance. While long-time fans of the franchise, like me, will enjoy this requel, it definitely will not be on the top of any must-see lists. Having an overused storyline, rushed ending and poor character craftsmanship, Scream’s film seems more like a last-minute decision than a planned out movie. Hopefully, this will be the final curtain for Scream, and the town of Woodsboro, along with horror fans, can see the end of Ghostface.