When this film was first announced back in March 2020, my initial thoughts weren’t good ones. Whilst I was excited at the prospect of returning to Woodsboro and seeing Ghostface triumphantly return to the big screen, I was worried it wouldn’t live up to previous films. Like honestly how can they do a Scream film with no Wes Craven? But I am extremely happy to say I was wrong; the film is great.
Twenty-five years after a streak of brutal murders shocked the quiet town of Woodsboro, Calif., a new killer dons the Ghostface mask and begins targeting a group of teenagers to resurrect secrets from the town's deadly past.
I’ll say now you need to have watched the first four films (especially the first) to truly appreciate this film. My first after thoughts drifted to Randy Meeks’ quote from Scream 3- "The past will come back to bite you in the ass. Whatever you think you know about the past, forget it. The past is not at rest. Any sins you think were committed in the past are about to break out and destroy you." For those of you who’ve seen it I’m sure you’ll probably thought the same thing.
The look, feel and whole aesthetic of the film was spot on from the moment the film started through to the end credits. It was well written, executed and shot; a lot of care and dedication went into making the fifth film in the franchise. This was undoubtedly an out and out Scream film, but there were a few new things brought into the mix which kept this film fresh and exciting to watch. I did feel the film is more self-aware and meta than some of the previous films. Whilst it was enjoyable to watch and paved the way for some great light-hearted comedic moments, there was a few moments I felt it was a bit too self-aware if you know what I mean. It was great to see them continuing to poke fun at the classic horror tropes, kept it fresh by taking aim at the more recent ones as well as “elevated horror” and its fans. At the end of the day, I’ll agree with Ghostface here and say you really can’t beat a decent slasher flick!
Story wise, this film goes full circle and comes back round to where the franchise began in Wes Craven’s 1996 film. I can’t really divulge much as I don’t want to ruin it for anyone, you’ll understand once you’ve watched the film. Much like its predecessors it was nice to see the film makers stay with Scream’s opening attack. Unlike the previous film’s though, I thought this leaned more into the whole whodunnit genre which made for an incredibly entertaining two hours. There’s a fantastic twist that I really didn’t see coming, a proper WTF/ ”where the hell did that come from?” moment. It worked well as it was the true driving force that really kicked the film into gear. This, for me, was a better reveal than when you find out the identity of the killer. That did throw me I will admit, I’m just glad they chose not to go with the most obvious choice. I won’t go into detail, but it would’ve just been incredibly lazy of them to do so. All in all, it’s a great entry into the franchise and a fantastic social commentary on an ongoing issue within not only the horror fanbase, but all fanbases. And fans, keep an eye out for the nods and easter eggs to the previous films. They are littered throughout this, as a fan it was great to see.
The cast were brilliant and meshed well together, some great chemistry on screen. And as for the original cast members coming; it was amazing! All three were back and as badass as they’ve been in previous films! Out of the new cast members Jack Quaid, Jenna Ortega and Mickey Madison were the stand outs for me. And as for Ghostface, well seeing him return to the big screen was just incredible! And he is as brutal as ever! I’d say the brutality and savagery of the kills has increased as we’ve progressed along the series and I’m happy to tell you they upped it again for this one. The kills were great, there’s one that I really enjoyed, and one that I just didn’t enjoy at all.
To conclude Scream is a fantastic film and a very solid entry into the franchise. A brutal, fun and unforgiving meta cinema slasher that speaks volumes about an ongoing issue in the entertainment industry which is worsening day by day. I know there’s talk of a sixth film happening but for me, this film completed a full circle and brought the franchise back to its roots and where it all started. I honestly could not think of a better way to finish this franchise than with that film. I certainly hope this does finish things off. Much like Halloween Kills though, I think this film will divide fans to a certain extent. As for where this film would fit into my Scream rankings; from best to worst-
I do take my hat off to the entire cast and crew involved in making this film though, had big expectations to live up to. Treated Craven and the Scream legacy with the utmost respect and gave fans the kick-ass film they wanted. I think I can say Wes Craven would be proud of this film and what they managed to achieve.