By Casey DiBari – 1851 Contributor
On January 14, the anticipated newest installment to Wes Craven’s Scream franchise hit theaters with the fifth film, simply named “Scream”. This movie marks the first film to not be directed by Craven, following his death in 2015. The film was instead directed by the Radio Silence team Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, who previously directed 2019’s “Ready or Not”. However, franchise stars Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, and David Arquette, as well as some other familiar faces and voices return to the franchise.
Craven’s lack of presence is noticed and missed, but the movie does a good job of honoring the late director’s legacy as well. This is not a flawless entry in the franchise, as plenty of plot points have left fans divided. However, the movie can be seen as a step above the last two entries.
“Scream” returns audiences to the town of Woodsboro, where yet another massacre is around the corner, just 25 years after the original slayings in 1996. This time though, the movie mostly follows 20-something Sam Carpenter (Melissa Barrera), who recently returns home after her younger sister Tara (Jenna Ortega), is attacked by the newest Ghostface. However, the movie lets us know that not everything is how it may seem with Sam. She has a special connection to the original murders that caused her to leave town five years prior, and seems to be a focus of the new murder plots.
Joining Sam in her quest to stop these new killings is her boyfriend, Richie Kirsch (Jack Quaid) and retired deputy, and four time Ghostface survivor Dewey Riley (Arquette). While eventually the group is joined by Dewey’s long time romantic interest and fellow survivor Gale Weathers (Cox) and series star Sidney Presscot (Campbell), the movie has the legacy characters in more of a side role to make room for the newcomers of this movie.
Where “Scream” excels in comparison to its predecessor is with its easter eggs left around for fans. There are plenty of visual callbacks to the ‘96 “Scream”, including a return to a familiar location in the third act.
The movie refers to itself as something called a “requel”, as Mindy Meeks-Martin (Jasmin Savoy Brown), niece to a former survivor, explains. The movie is not quite a reboot, but it’s also not exactly a sequel either, instead finding a middle ground between the two. Truthfully, this was possibly the best direction for the movie to take; while 2011’s “Scream 4” seemed to also fit the same qualifications, its lack of returning characters and impact on the overall story sees it pale in comparison to what “Scream” is setting up.
A ‘Scream’ sequel was confirmed on February 3 in a joint statement by Spyglass and Paramount.