Something in the 5th Sequel for Everyone
Score 9/10 - Highly Recommend
Posted by Anthony DeRouen | June 27th, 2022
Warning: contains minor spoilers
I'll preface the review by saying after Wes Craven's 1996 original my interest waned. Sure, I watched the sequels as they released but I wasn't exactly sprinting to theaters. Scream 2 is generally considered a worthy sequel, but the rest begin to show production flaws and studio meddling (most notably Scream 3). Upon hearing the announcement of a sixth installment/reboot/legacy reunion I was intrigued.
Firstly, how would a Scream film echoing it's roots fare without Wes Craven? Secondly, did Neve Campbell, David Arquette, and Courtney Cox still have it? For anyone who saw Ready or Not ( a fun and engaging horror comedy) then you're aware of the director duo consisting of Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett. I will take that proclamation a step further and say Ready or Not was the most entertaining horror film of 2019. Henry Czerny hasn't been that effective on screen since Mission Impossible.
Diving into Scream. The plot doesn't deviate from the tried and true opening intense attack/death scene, introduction of characters and subsequent death scenes. This is essentially why we're here. Scream is a game played out on the silver screen. We spend a good portion of the film scrutinizing the characters, trying to discern who the killer is, all the while snickering at well-timed jokes, and lamenting the loss of new and older, beloved character(s). It's a narrative formula Scream all but trademarked and we're happy to jump back in.
In this film, Ghostface is targeting those who are related to the original killers. Is Ghostface a fan of the oldies? Survey says: yes! Scream has always been self-aware, the death scenes expected but surprising and sprinkled with just enough character drama to keep us engaged. emotionally.
Scream is a money maker, and a crowd pleaser, and this installment provides both.
You can feel the weariness emanate from the original three, however. Neve Campbell provides just enough oomph to stay awake during her scenes, David Arquette tries very hard to evoke 1996 charming and goofy David Arquette, and Courtney Cox is still bleary-eyed and asking the wrong questions, which is surprising for a reporter. It's impossible to ask these actors to rollback the clocks 26 years. Try as they might the years have withered away their collective zeal for the material.
Despite efforts from the younger cast this iteration of Scream will do little to garner a new audience. A few scenes stink of filler, while others feel like setups for higher quality ones. The alley-oop comes to mind. But this is (and will always be) Neve Campbell's franchise. She made it was it is today and we collectively sour our faces at the idea Spyglass Media Group and Radio Silence balked at Neve Campbell's asking price. If this does indeed serve as Neve Campbell's final Scream film, so long and thanks for the fish.