January 13, 2022

GENRE | 'Scream' 5 – A Craven Stab at Horror Nostalgia

"I've seen this movie before."
Dylan Minnette Mikey Madison Matt Bettinelli-Olpin & Tyler Gillett | Scream 2022
Paramount Pictures / Spyglass Media Group
Ready or Not directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett take over for the late Wes Craven in the numberless meta "requel" (a remake/reboot legacy sequel) simply, but confusingly, titled just Scream despite very much being the fifth entry in the diminishingly self-referential horror franchise. For some very inexplicable reasons amounting to remaking the first Woodsboro murders because the last few were underwhelming, this Scream annoyingly refashions the film to Gen Z's tastes for so-called "elevated horror".

Starring Melissa Barrera and Jenna Ortega as estranged sisters with a secret connection to the original characters from the 1996 original, they make for very compelling scream queens to follow—but seriously, where the f*ck is their mom who conveniently is out of town for the whole movie?! Jasmin Savoy Brown plays the film-obsessed teenaged niece of fan favourite Randy who very wryly and self-awarely explains the requel's rules while Jack Quaid appears as an all too knowing riff on the boyfriend character in a slasher flick.

Originals stars whose characters have survived from Courteney Cox and David Arquette, who met, dated, married, started a family, and divorced since the first film, to the unkillable Neve Campbell as Sidney Prescott show up to protect our new potential victims with mixed results. They must band together to defeat this new Ghostface who feels almost superhuman at times with especially preposterous abilities to kill and disappear.

Scripted by James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick, the ambitious but ridiculous script jumps all over the place trying to choreograph its own plot points before we can guess where it's heading. It's too aware of our expectations to the point that nothing makes sense when you think about it. People are killed in broad daylight for several minutes in public places like hospitals with little notice despite everyone having a cell phone.

Scream number five is so unbelievably stupid as it breaks its own strict rules and dares you to guess the real killer(s) by telling you they probably are constantly. There's some inventive direction and fun characterizations but the frequent switching of roles and motivations kills any momentum this new Ghostface is able to muster.

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