Scream 5 (2022)
Cinemas have reopened in Ontario! I finally saw Scream 5! It's been over a decade since Part 4 and 25 years since Part 1. It's a "Re-quel" as the characters put it. New directors, writers, and a fresh-faced cast take a Stab at the iconic franchise. This is my SPOILER-FREE review….for now. Does the new film kill it or just kill the franchise?
Roger Jackson is back as the voice of Ghostface. The phone calls are all wonderfully written too. It's what I look forward to most for these films. Starting with a phone call, as is tradition, his voice is as smooth as ever seducing his victim into a discussion before changing the subject to horror movies. The conversation turns into a lethal game of horror trivia. Tara Carpenter (Jenna Ortega) struggles to save her friend's life. Will they survive?
Mikey Madison is Amber, Tara's best friend. She's the one Tara must rescue. She's not the best actress, certainly not very memorable.
Melissa Barrera is Sam Carpenter. Living in Modesto, California (my old stomping ground) she must go back to Woodsboro once she hears about her sister (Ortega) but has reservations. She's not a good actress. I couldn't take her seriously in the dramatic scenes. I feel she was miscast unlike Ortega, who was phenomenal.
Jack Quaid plays Richie, Sam's boyfriend. He's supportive as she tries to figure out who the killer is. I'm not a fan of his, honestly. I don't like him in his show the Boys either.
Jasmin Savoy Brown is Mindy, the new Randy. She's his niece, spouting off the rules of the Re-quel to both generations. She's my favourite new character, too bad she has limited screen time.
Mason Gooding is Chad, her twin brother. He's not your typical dumb jock. He makes smart choices like how he isn't easily assuaged with sex. It's refreshing to see male characters with common sense.
Heather Matarazzo is Martha Meeks. After a brief, memorable cameo in Part 3, her appearance here is important because continuity is key to any franchise. It's nice to see familiar faces return.
Marley Shelton is back as Judy Hicks, now the Sheriff. She's the same quirky character from Part 4 but has matured significantly to a more grounded parent trying to protect her son. Her phone call is a highlight. I love the reference to her infamous lemon squares too.
Dylan Minnette is Wes. He's great as Judy's son, your typical California teenager trapped in the middle of all the horror. He doesn't have a large role but it's more impactful than the others. It's weird to see him as a blonde though.
Sonia Ben Ammar is Liv. She's the party girl with excessive personal baggage. She's there for misdirection, more or less, without much substance to her beyond being a suspect.
David Arquette plays Dewey, a retired cop now. It's interesting how he started as a young Deputy and is now at the end of his career. The young fresh-faced rookie has an older, grizzled look now. His heart is in the right place. He wants to help because it's the right thing to do. That's both admirable and so Dewey. He gives the best performance in the film.
Courteney Cox is back as Gale Weathers just like Neve Campbell as Sidney Prescott. It's established through dialogue how Sydney is married to Detective Mark Kincaid (Patrick Dempsey from Part 3). In my review for that film, I addressed how I hoped this wasn't going to happen. Unfortunately, it's so. Strangely, he doesn't have a cameo. It's nice to have both women back but their roles aren't vital to the plot. They're relegated to side characters. At least Gale still has a mini-story arc involving Dewey. Her role is so underwritten, Sydney feels wasted. They don't do justice to the character.
In the end, I loved how they play with the murder mystery aspect. It's so important for these films. The balance of horror and humour is also fantastic. The things I dislike are in the SPOILER section. I saw this with my sister and she inspired me to start a new rating system. After the movie she said she was glad she only bought a small popcorn, it wasn't worth the price of an extra-large. It goes from Small to Extra Large Popcorn. No Popcorn being the worst. I don't think it killed it nor did it kill the franchise. To me, it's average.
Grade: Medium Popcorn
SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS!
HAVE YOU SEEN IT?
I like how some people who get a Ghostface phone call survive the attack, subverting expectations. Tara is the only person to survive the opening scene in a Scream film. The phone call scenes are satisfyingly scary. It has great jump scares without being overly reliant on them. There are even moments when I thought a jump scare would happen but didn't. I do feel like there were too many survivors at the climax. I like how they had the guts to kill Dewey off. Fakeout kills undermine the original rules. It makes perfect sense for the narrative too. Sydney and Gale would have been brought closer because of his loss. It's was a sad death, showing how impactful the character was.
It was obvious Richie and Amber were the killers. I guessed it halfway through. She was way too cool about the situation from the start. He loved horror movies more than he lead on. He even watched YouTube videos about deep dives into horror movies which is something I do so I thought that was amusing. There was no reason to lie about that unless he didn't want them knowing. It was weird how they acted like a couple too. I think if they wanted to be bold they should do 3 or 4 killers because it hasn't been done yet. As far as the motive goes, I love how it was angry fans who dislike where Hollywood took the Stab franchise over the years. That's clever writing providing ironic social commentary on toxic fandom. The fact that the film is so polarizing only proves their point. This film isn't a cash grab, it was a labour of love made by fans for fans.
Speaking of YouTubers James A. Janisse and Chelsea Rebecca from the channel Dead Meat make a surprise cameo. As a fan of their channel, they were a thrill to see. If you haven't seen it, they give in-depth looks with hilarious commentary on all things horror-related.
I don't like how Sam went completely against the character in the end. The whole movie she talked about how she didn't want to be a killer like her father Billy Loomis (Skeet Ulrich) only to have the most brutal murder.
I had a problem with the dead parent flashbacks visions in Part 3 and dislike how they chose to go that direction again just to bring a character back. Furthermore, why bring back Billy and not Stu? The finale even had that twist of Amber becoming more obsessed after moving into Stu's old house. That scene when the camera pans out from the front door to reveal it was superbly done. My jaw dropped.
Another perk was the gore. This is the most viciously violent pair of Ghostface Killers so far. That being said I'm surprised how many survivors there were.
Overall, it's not the best (Scream 1) nor the worst (Scream 3). The Original doesn't rely on gimmicks and was great at the murder mystery aspect without cheating. For example, having a 6 ft stunt man stand in for a killer no matter how tall she is like Scream 2 or 4 now 5 with the hospital scene. No way Amber did that to Dewey. This didn't wow me as most Saw sequels did. Nor did it aggravate me by ignoring or undoing things established in prior films like Halloween Kills. It acknowledges all its predecessors. It doesn't bring new ideas to the table like Scream 2 or 4. This feels like it's copying those. I've recently heard Scream 6 has been greenlit so hopefully, they have a plan. And remember, I will ALWAYS prefer Scream over the Babadook….and Halloween Kills.
Grade: Medium Popcorn
If you want more, I gut the entire film franchise like a fish! Here's links my Scream SPOILER REVIEWS and RANKING!