Wes Craven has been a master of horror comedies since the 1980s with the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise and more famously with his Scream franchise. The Scream films have been a smash hit with slasher fans as the films take pride in embracing and picking apart tropes surrounding the slasher genre. But after Scream 4, many thought the franchise would be put to bed. But it was met with the reboot treatment in 2022 without the genius of the late Wes Craven, but it was in capable hands of the same directing duo being the horror comedy Ready or Not. With Scream 6 coming to theaters in March, let’s see what Scream 5 had to give a franchise we thought ran out of gas.
It has been almost 25 years after the initial Ghostface killings in Woodsboro when a new Ghostface killer appears. Initially wounding Tara (played by Jenna Ortega), it draws back her older sister and Woodsboro black sheep Sam (played by Melissa Barerra) and her boyfriend Richie (played by Jack Quaid). As Tara and Sam become the Ghostface’s next fixation, they look for help from retired police officer Dewie Riley (played by David Arquette). As the past finds a way to catch up with everyone, they must survive Ghostface’s attacks and kill the serial killer fanatic once and for all.
Alrighty, first and foremost, I have actually seen Scream 1-4, not even out of research just boredom and I can wholeheartedly say that while entertaining, I do not understand the sensation of the franchise. However, I did get the understanding of its meta commentary on the slasher genre and it was quite well done. Scream 5 is no different, diving head first into its meta nature with reference after reference to slasher tropes, along with joke after joke made at the genre. The directors of Scream 5, Matt Bettinelli-Oplin and Tyler Gillett, understood how the previous films went as it did felt like Wes Craven at times while still making it their own. My only complaint with this sequel is that the meta jokes are overdone at times, mostly in the 2nd or 3rd act.
For some of these tropes, they did address the “requel” trope of the movie, being both a sequel and reboot of the franchise it definitely knows what it is. As they brought in new blood whilst also bringing back the classic favorites of the franchise. The welcome additions of Jenna Ortega as this generation’s reigning scream queen along with In The Heights’s Melissa Barrera as sisters is great, since they play off each other beautifully and can hold their own in a slasher situation. Jack Quaid was particularly surprising, showing his range as an actor and breaking away from his good guy façade as Hughie Campbell from The Boys. But of course the return of Courtney Cox, Neve Campbell and David Arquette are not only wonderful, but also work with the story. They bring their characters full circle while also rolling the dice, putting everyone’s fates up in the air.
Scream also had some decent commentary on toxic fandoms within franchises. As we all know, each franchise has it, for example Star Wars, Game of Thrones, etc. The Ghostface killer is exactly that incarnated: the toxic fandom. Our killer is way too interested in recreating the magic the first Scream movie had only for the killer's ending to happen in a satisfying and abrupt way. Even bringing Reddit into the mix as many of the toxic fans congregate on this site.
Scream 5 was a surprising return to form I didn’t think the franchise needed as it was wrapped up as neatly as it could be in Scream 4. However the additions of Jenna Ortega, Melissa Barerra and Jack Quaid added different dynamics while also staying true to its tropes. Along with the return of the legacy characters such as David Arquette, Neve Campbell and Courntey Cox. The new installment to the franchise managed to also bring to light how toxic fandom interacts and how they only see their own opinions as truth. While I still am not necessarily the biggest fan of the Scream franchise, Scream 5 was able to pique my interest a little more. Which has me excited for Scream 6, along with the surprise return of Hayden Panettiere as Kirby.