The Reel Review
A whopping 25 years after the original, iconic slasher horror/thriller, a new Ghostface emerges, prompting original final girl Sidney Prescott to return to Woodsboro. Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, David Arquette and Marley Shelton (who was in Scream 4) return in this fifth film in the franchise, alongside a new cast of characters laying out the self-referential “horror fan rules” for surviving the killer.
Fans fearing failure in this first Scream film NOT directed by Wes Craven, who died of cancer in 2015, need not fear. The team behind the breakout 2018 horror film Ready or Not have proven themselves faithful stalwarts of the franchise, assembling an impressively clever story that delivers plenty of shocking kills, playful suspense, and good-natured humor that pokes fun at lame horror sequels. Even all the meta, self-aware references themselves become self-aware references in this sequel, which also includes subtle (and not so subtle) nods to many other iconic horror films.
The returning original cast is great fun to watch, with Courtney Cox getting the best one liners. Also fun – the saga’s newcomers, led by Melissa Barrera (In The Heights) and Jenna Ortega (Jane the Virgin, Yes Day). This Scream is way more brutal and a lot gorier than the original, but just like the original, this Scream again has its finger on the pulse of current pop culture, as the killer (or is it… killers? 😜) explains the personal motivations behind the killing spree in the big climax. Like a lot of our current pop culture, the reason is stupid, and probably the weakest part of the film, but it doesn’t really matter, because everything else is just so entertaining. This is the best sequel since the original. Wes would be proud.
• Directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett wanted their Ready or Not muse Samara Weaving to star, but she couldn’t, due to scheduling conflicts with the series Nine Perfect Strangers.
• Scream was a reunion for creator Kevin Williamson and much of the crew, who had also worked on his hit TV series Dawson’s Creek (which makes a brief appearance in one hospital scene).
• Scream was filmed in Wilmington and Southport, North Carolina.