Picking up from where Wes Craven left off, Scream’s fifth instalment is self-referential, a little sardonic, and not for you if you have kids.
Directed by: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett
*ing: Melissa Barrera, Kyle Gallner, Mason Gooding, Mikey Madison, Dylan Minnette, Jenna Ortega, Jack Quaid, Jasmin Savoy Brown, Sonia Ammar, Roger L. Jackson, Marley Shelton, Skeet Ulrich, Courteney Cox, David Arquette, and Neve Campbell
he truth is, no matter how cool you and I were in 1996 when the first Scream entered our lives, we most likely now have steady jobs and a couple of children rolling around. So here’s my first exposition: the kids in the Scream “requel” will make you think of your own, and you will be so, so mad at Ghostface for going after tiny little babies (they’re likely in their late teens, but ykwim).
Scream has always been the perfect slasher franchise, in my opinion. It wasn’t as grim as Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974 or 2003), nor is the antagonist as cruel and victimized as Michael Myers or Jason Voorhees, nor is it upsettingly terrifying like The Grudge/Ju-On movies. It was ‘new’, with actors the intended audience was familiar with (Matthew Lillard, Skeet Ulrich, Courteney Cox), and best of all, it was unabashedly gory. It didn’t matter if a character was sweet or funny or you were shipping them with another character, if Ghostface, or Craven, decided they will be stabbed, stabbed they would be.
That said, the franchise went on to throw out two more movies, which were solid as well, and then a very meta Scream 4, which actually wasn’t bad either, if not the best of the lot. The best thing about the Scream movies, of course, is how you know the old gang will band together and the Ghostface of the week will die.
Scream 5 is no different. It begins with the all too familiar phone call to a girl in an empty home and ends with everyone stabbing everyone, a lot.
The interesting typification highlighted in this particular instalment of one of the most popular slasher flicks of all time is the difference between cult, B horror, and what Tara Carpenter, one of the main characters, refers to as “elevated horror”.
Any fan of horror will tell you that horror is horror is horror. The genre of horror, the plot, the actors – none of that matters. Yes, you will have your favorite directors, and agree that Patrick Wilson makes the perfect target even when he isn’t starring in a horror film, but at some point, you will become well-versed in the tropes, in the themes, and recognize that with or without artistic, philosophical thought, you’re watching this movie because no other genre quite fits you this well.
In that, Scream 5 covers all the ground. The actors are good, the plot is maybe a little predictable but decent, and you won’t be bored. There are good jump scares, and twists you didn’t see coming. Have a couple hours to kill? Watch Scream 5. It definitely won’t be the worst decision you made this year.
Rating system: *Not on your life * ½ If you really must waste your time ** Hardly worth the bother ** ½ Okay for a slow afternoon only
*** Good enough for a look see *** ½ Recommended viewing **** Don’t miss it **** ½ Almost perfect ***** Perfection