by Sarah Cook
Scream is of the most successful horror franchises of all time. The series promises a meta-commentary on horror whilst also providing an incredible slasher with gore, suspense, and twists. The 1997 flick has now spawned four sequels and, it seems, shows no time of stopping any time soon.
The first film to not be directed by Wes Craven – who sadly passed away in 2015 – Scream 5 (or Scream as it is officially known) is helmed by directing duo Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett.
Taking place eleven years after Scream 4, this new outing follows Sam Carpenter who returns to Woodsboro after her sister is attacked by a new Ghostface killer. Whilst there, dark secrets about Sam’s past come to light, and it is soon clear that the murders revolve around her and her sister’s friends. As legacy characters Dewey, Gale, and, of course, Sidney are drawn into these new killings, they must all play the game in order to survive.
This latest Scream is definitely a lot of fun. There’s plenty of gruesome killings to enjoy and some impressive jump scares that keep the murderous entertainment fresh and new. One sequence plays heavily with tension and anticipation as we try to guess where the killer is going to jump out from and it’s a brilliant moment that stands out amongst the franchise.
Scream, at its core, deals with the rules of horror movies in an extremely meta way. This fifth instalment is no exception. This time the film dives into toxic fandom and the film industry’s over-reliance on nostalgia. These winks and nods are brilliantly weaved into a bloody entertaining movie.
Plus, there are great performances from newcomers Melissa Barrera, Jenna Ortega, and Jack Quaid whilst the old pros – David Arquette, Neve Campbell, and Courteney Cox – are welcome familiar faces.
The biggest complaint about this new remake, sequel, – or re-quel, as they tout in the movie itself – is that there is not enough time spent on the new characters. Actually, any of the characters, including the returning three. With the exception of Sam, who is conceived as the new Sidney (with a twist) there is no space to explore and get to know this new throng of targeted teens before they are sliced and diced. The caveat of the first film is that the main characters have scenes and interactions, more so over the killings. Even four, and the much-derided three, have moments of character reflection. Though the film is enjoyable, this lack of characterisation rings hollow.
Still, there is hope that this is merely an introduction to a bunch of people that we’d like to see again. There’s hope they return with the new characters – or it’ll be nice to see them spread again outside of Woodsboro but if this is the end, then Scream 5 is a decent way to go.
Above all this, with its meta-commentary, bloody kills, and frenzied twists, we’re sure that Wes Craven would be proud.
Scream is out in cinemas now.