“How effectively do you bear in mind the unique?” That’s a query posed by the brand new Ghostface killer (or is it “killers”?) within the fifth Scream film’s compulsory opening phone-call murder-game — and it’s additionally the movie’s central preoccupation. If the complicated title (‘5cream’ was proper there — the sort of numerical title wordplay the movie itself pokes enjoyable at) hadn’t already tipped you off, probably the most meta of film franchises has returned to take a stab at Hollywood’s newest development: legacy sequels. Or, because the film dubs them, ‘re-quels’ – a sequel-reboot hybrid largely centered on new characters, however happening within the continuity of the unique movie with a purpose to deliver again the previous characters all people cherished. Suppose David Gordon Inexperienced’s Halloween or Nia DaCosta’s Candyman. Stripping again the title whereas additionally stripping the collection again to fundamentals is all a part of the sport. And enjoying video games has all the time been Scream’s modus operandi.
In a method, the underrated Scream 4 did this already — fittingly, for a franchise and filmmaker all the time so forward of the sport, Wes Craven cooked up a legacy sequel in 2011 earlier than they have been even a factor. Kudos, then, to incoming administrators Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett (beforehand behind the riotously enjoyable Prepared Or Not) for not solely delivering a movie worthy of the late horror nice, however for making their Scream greater than a rehash of a re-quel of a trilogy of self-referential slashers.
Because the re-quel guidelines dictate, there’s a contemporary protagonist right here: Sam Carpenter (that surname isn’t any accident), performed by In The Heights’ Melissa Barrera, who proves that she will scream her lungs out in addition to she will sing them. When her estranged youthful sister Tara (Jenna Ortega) is slashed up by Ghostface within the opening reel – one more homage to the unique’s Drew Barrymore sequence, however with the sly wit, playful dialogue and stunning brutality required to efficiently pull that off — we spend a big period of time with Sam, her supportive boyfriend Richie (The Boys’ Jack Quaid, a comedic standout) and Tara’s mates (a Gen-Z bunch raised on so-called ‘elevated horror’ like The Babadook and Hereditary), bedding in with the newbies earlier than the inevitable return of the legacy heroes.
Crucially, after the passing of Wes Craven, the spirit of Scream stays alive.
Despite the fact that Neve Campbell, David Arquette and Courteney Cox have returned for each Scream film, there’s nonetheless a thrill in seeing them again in motion ten years on – and, in true re-quel model, their return brings further emotional baggage. The previous chemistry between Arquette’s cop Dewey (the MVP of the oldies right here) and Cox’s bold TV anchor Gale retains that acquainted spark, now with a melancholy edge. Whereas that depth is welcome, it comes on the expense of the knockabout enjoyable the pair introduced again within the previous days — and the movie lingers a little bit lengthy on the intense stuff in its central act earlier than cranking up for its bloody finale. Campbell simply slips again into the sneakers of unique ultimate woman Sidney — however, as we’re regularly reminded, this isn’t her story. How die-hard followers will react to decisions made with the legacy solid stays to be seen — however the movie itself is forward of the sport, enjoying on the propensity for fan outrage that’s all of the, effectively, rage lately to laugh-out-loud impact within the third act.
Crucially, after the passing of Wes Craven, the spirit of Scream stays alive. Despite the fact that the collection has already been referencing and remixing itself for 25 years now, there are nonetheless enjoyable new twists to mine — even when some clichés (Did you actually simply depart that elevate? Don’t neglect your inhaler!) are required to maintain issues shifting. The Ghostface killings stay scalpel-sharp (a slow-mo neck-knifing is especially grotesque), Nick Cave’s ‘Crimson Proper Hand’ as soon as once more adorns the soundtrack, and acquainted faces and places deliver a welcome frisson. A lot of Scream takes place at a celebration thrown “to Wes” — a teenage rager, filled with potential victims who’ll make supreme fodder for Ghostface’s knife. It’s simply what he would have needed.