Being that I saw the original Scream around the ripe age of 11 or so (it was all the hype in fourth grade), it took me some time to understand the “meta” aspect of the film.
Eventually (after seeing Scream 2, the only sequel I would see until now), I would get the references in the original as I would have seen most of the movies the characters have talked about. Thankfully, one does not need to see any of the other sequels to understand the newest Scream film (technically, “Scream 5”).
As you can expect, the movie centers on someone wearing the uber popular “Ghostface” mask (you’d think they would outlaw this mask by now in this universe), who is back to being a serial killer in the town of Woodsboro (which has to be in the top tier of cinematic towns where parenting is non-existent). The main female in question this time around is Sam Carpenter (Melissa Barrera, who was Vanessa in In the Heights), who returns to her home town of Woodsboro after an attack on her kid sister Tara (Jenna Ortega, who, along with her work in The Farewell is becoming a very promising young actress), accompanied by her boyfriend Richie (Jack Quaid). Not too recently, she fled her home town due to a secret she discovered about her family’s past…
It becomes clear that the next intended targets are Tara’s group of friends. These include Wes (Dylan Minnette of 13 reasons why), twins Mindy (Jasmin Savoy Brown), and Chad (Mason Gooding), Liv (Sonia Ben Ammar), and Amber (Mikey Madison).
The film (which is dedicated to the legendary Wes Craven) is perfectly able to cover the horror films of the past decade or so while staying faithful to classics (“You ever seen the movie Psycho?”). It does seem clear that whoever is behind the Ghostface mask is not a fan of more evolved horror (“I still prefer The Babadook”, one character says.) One of the key scenes of the film (as is the case in the others) is when they all gather around and discuss the history of horror films. The more you know, the more fun the scene is (I especially enjoyed the subtle jab at Rian Johnson).
Even if this is your first Scream experience, the film does work on its own. There are plenty of moments where directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett are simply toying with us, and we are fine with it. This especially is apparent in a scene where a character is alone in the kitchen. You will know what I am talking about when you see it.
Parents, looking back, it is clear that I was probably a little too young at the time when I saw the first film (my little brother was younger when I showed it to him. Not my best big brother moment). Even if the sexual content is not strong, there is a good amount of swearing and (mainly) more than enough violence and gore to make this movie for High Schoolers and up.
Before seeing this movie, I would have thought this film series (which also had a short lived TV series) had already dulled, but it is still sharp and witty. Perhaps it will continue to inspire other film makers for years to come.
After all, movies don’t create psychos. Movies make psychos more creative.