I feel itâ€™s my civic duty to write a review for the latest SCREAM movie and yet all I really want to do is talk about how much I love the last installment in the franchise, SCREAM 4. Iâ€™m super happy that the new film is doing well with critics and audiences alike but where was this gushing positivity when brilliant Wes Cravenâ€™s last film hit the scene eleven years ago? Yikes, thatâ€™s another thing thatâ€™s vexing me; was 4 really released that long ago? If I had to guess, I would have said it came out about five years ago. In any case, the new SCREAM is reasonably well done and offers plenty to keep one entertained even if I didnâ€™t exactly click with any of the new characters (at least not like I did with Kirby in 4) and I felt not enough time was spent with the returning OGâ€™s. Itâ€™s OK though, Iâ€™m probably still going to watch it countless times in the future and surely the newbies will gel with me over time.
This is a SCREAM movie so Iâ€™ll give away as little as humanly possible. The film opens with a scene that mirrors the first filmâ€™s famous opening but with a few less teeth and a victim (Jenna Ortega) who somehow survives. Soon we are introduced to her estranged sister (Melissa Barrera) and her close-knit group of friends (including twins who are nephew & niece to departed Randy Meeks). As the ghostface killer continues to strike, weâ€™re again informed that everyone is a suspect as the group of teens discuss elevated horror, legacy characters and “requels” like an exhaustive buzzword laden Twitter feed. The SCREAM flicks have always been pointedly meta/self-aware so itâ€™s appropriate to offer this update of current horror film discourse and yet my corny self would rather be hanging out with Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox) at her new job as a morning news show host or maybe getting a glimpse of Sydney (Neve Campbell)â€™s new husband. At least we do get some Dewey (David Arquette) downtime, even if his character has been dumped in a trailer & is hitting the bottle.
Directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillet (READY OR NOT) do an admirable job of respecting the series overall (even throwing out a blink and youâ€™ll miss it Easter egg of life saving proportions) and some of the kills are wonderfully vicious (including one creepily conducted in the broadest of daylight). Thereâ€™s no way Iâ€™m going to look this gift horse in the mouth as the film successfully puts the franchise back on track on multiple levels and thatâ€™s something to celebrate. I guess Iâ€™m just a bit let down by what and whom the film chooses to focus on when there are so many angles that might have been more interesting (at least to me). I will say that the films final reveal, though anything but innovative, is performed well and is sufficiently psychotic (even though I prefer part 4â€™s more passionate revelation). Ultimately this is a laudable feast for fans thatâ€™s nutritious enough even if I didnâ€™t leave the table completely satiated (like I did after viewing Part 4. Damn, I love that one so much. Justice for Kirby!).
I really liked 4 as well, and the new one. The â€œsocial mediaâ€ theme of 4 was a brilliant idea.
The one film in the series that didnâ€™t work for me was 3, the â€œHollywoodâ€ edition of the series. Lampooning the Weinsteins in one of their films was a nervy idea, but I thought the movie was incoherent (possibly due to serious interference from the very same Weinsteins, or Bob at least), and the big reveal of the killerâ€™s background just seemed ridiculous (the new one works with a similar idea, but executes it much better).
I had a lot of fun seeing this but the more I think about it the more flaws I notice. I wish the younger characters had been more interesting/likeable. I understand the need to pass the torch to a new generation but they need to be people we care if they live or die. So far I don’t care about any of these kids. This also has to be the lowest kill count in any Scream movie. Way too many convenient survivors in the end. I need to watch 4 again. I remember really liking it at the time and was surprised it didn’t make much impact with fans.