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 cleverly 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 characters from the 1996 original, they make for very compelling scream queens to follow—but seriously, their mom is just conveniently out of town for the entire movie?! Jasmin Savoy Brown plays the film-obsessed teenage 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 typical slasher flick.

Original 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 Neve Campbell as the unkillable Sidney Prescott show up to protect our new potential victims with mixed results. Everyone must band together to defeat this new Ghostface who feels almost superhuman at times with especially ridiculous abilities to kill and disappear in broad daylight.

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 for more than a moment. People are killed loudly for several minutes in very crowded public places like hospitals with little notice despite everyone having a cell phone.

The fifth Scream entry is so unbelievably preposterous as it breaks its own strict rules and dares you to guess the real killer(s) by constantly telling you who they probably are. 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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