“Scream” is the latest edition of the CSU (Cinematic Scream Universe) that began in 1994. That one was called “Scream”, followed by “Scream 2”. Next came “Scream 3” and after that “Scream 4”. So, now there is movie number five (“5”). And it is called “Scream”. That is the same name used as the first one! Is this is sequel, a remake, a reboot, a reimagining? Is it a ‘re-quel’ (reboot AND a sequel)? It just makes you want to scream!
Woodsboro is a small town where the horrible murder spree happened twenty-five years ago. The survivors from back then were Sidney Prescott (played by Neve Campbell) and newscaster Gale Weathers (played by Courteney Cox), along with the local Deputy Sheriff Dewey Riley (played by David Arquette). Books had been written about it, and then movies were made. The ‘Stab’ series was a popular film franchise, until the fifth one. That one stunk and people hated it.
SPOILER (NOT FOR THIS MOVIE): In the 1994 Scream actress Drew Barrymore was promoted in the advertising, yet her character is killed off quickly in the movie.
But that was then, and this is now. A high-school student name Tara (played by Jenna Ortega) is ‘home alone’ in a big empty house. She gets a mysterious phone call. She does not realize that on the other end of the phone call is the Voice of Ghostface (voiced by Roger L. Jackson). At first Tara thinks it is her good friend Amber (played by Mikey Madison).
Soon, Tara is attacked by Ghostface and nearly killed. Her estranged sister Sam (played by Melissa Barrera) hears about this and comes back to Woodsboro. She carries a deep secret about her past, and she did not want to go back there. Her recent boyfriend Richie (player by Jack Quaid) sees that she is troubled and goes back with her. Tara has a whole group of friends to see her through. Some of them are tied back to the original murders.
SPOILER (NOT FOR THIS MOVIE): Original writer Kevin Williamson started his screenplay for “Scream” with a working title of “Scary Movie”.
There are the twins, who are related to the original Film Nerd victim named Randy Meeks. Chad Meeks-Martin (played by Mason Gooding) and Mindy Meeks-Martin (played by Jasmin Savoy Brown) have ties to the murders that happened well before they were born. Liv (played by Sonia Ben Ammar), who is Chad’s girlfriend is also on hand to help Tara. Another friend is Wes Hicks (played by Dylan Minnette), who is the son of Sheriff Judy Hicks (played by Marley Shelton). This Sheriff is the one who told Sam to get out of town, and told Dewey Riley that he needed to quit the force.
Sam and Richie meet with Dewey Riley and learn all about the rules of the horror movie genre. The Ghostface killer will always follow these rules. And the other people in slasher movies also know these rules, but never seem to follow them. Such rules as: “Do not go into the basement alone” or “Never split up the group” or “Never trust anybody, including the love interest”. But these are more like guidelines than rules, according to Sam.
SPOILER (NOT FOR THIS MOVIE): Kevin Williamson was inspired to work on the script for “Scream” based on a real-life series of murders by the Gainesville Ripper.
Before too long, multiple people are attacked and killed and stabbed to death. The people who might at first be a suspect, well — count that one out! There are gruesome scenes of carnage and death, and the Ghostface killer always is able to get away. Before too long, the original trio is back into the action. Dewey Riley, Gale Weathers and even Sidney Prescott come back face-to-face with the Ghostface.
SPOILER (NOT FOR THIS MOVIE): When the boy says “I can see dead people”, it means that the psychologist has been dead the whole time.
The biggest thing is that Sam does not know whom she can trust. There might not be anybody she can trust. Sam has a secret hidden relation to a pivotal character from the original events. Amber lives in the same house that used to belong to another killer character in the original. Chad and Mindy are related to a notable character from the original. Richie is not from Woodsboro and seems to not have anything to do with original. Tara can only lookup online any details about what happened in the original. Sheriff Judy Hicks and her son Wes are in Woodsboro now, but not were not there in the original…
SPOILER (NOT FOR THIS MOVIE): The deathbed phrase of ‘Rosebud’ by the rich old guy as he dies refers to his old sled.
“Scream” is now come full circle as the original 1994 version name is reused and recycled. But this is no quick cash grab dumpster fire of old ideas rehashed and put on display as cool, new things. This is well-constructed and detailed look at the past carnage, and how the sins of Woodsboro are made to live on. It is a tribute to original Director (for the first four movies) Wes Craven and to the original Writer and creator (Kevin Williamson).
SPOILER (NOT FOR THIS MOVIE): The people on the ocean liner don’t know that when it strikes the iceberg, the entire ship is going to sink.
The amazing writing and direction of this movie get the correct (warped) frame of mind that is required for a ‘Scream’ movie. It is self-referential and pokes fun at the typical Horror movie tropes. But at the same time, it uses those clichéd ideas and works up something fresh. Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett (who had directed “Ready or Not”) are to be commended. Also, cheers go out to the current writers of this movie, James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick.
Oh yeah — NO SPOILERS ABOUT THIS MOVIE!
“Scream” was not a movie that anyone thought could easily be rebooted or made into another sequel that was not old, tired and worn-out. But then the right people took a ‘Stab’ at it…
Directed by: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett
Written by: James Vanderbilt, Guy Busick
Based on Characters created by: Kevin Williamson
Starring: Melissa Barrera, Mason Gooding, Jenna Ortega, Jack Quaid, Marley Shelton, Courteney Cox, David Arquette, Neve Campbell
Music by: Brian Tyler
Distributed by: Paramount Pictures
Release date: January 14, 2022
Length: 114 minutes
MPPA rating: R for strong bloody violence, language throughout and some sexual references