I feel it’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. I’m super happy that the new film is doing well with critics and audiences alike but where was this gushing positivity when brilliant Wes Craven’s last film hit the scene eleven years ago? Yikes, that’s another thing that’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 didn’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 OG’s. It’s OK though, I’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 I’ll give away as little as humanly possible. The film opens with a scene that mirrors the first film’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, we’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 it’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)’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 you’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). There’s no way I’m going to look this gift horse in the mouth as the film successfully puts the franchise back on track on multiple levels and that’s something to celebrate. I guess I’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 4’s more passionate revelation). Ultimately this is a laudable feast for fans that’s nutritious enough even if I didn’t leave the table completely satiated (like I did after viewing Part 4. Damn, I love that one so much. Justice for Kirby!).