New director takes a successful stab at the Scream franchise

When Wes Craven passed in 2015 at the age of 76, fans of the Scream franchise wondered if the end had come. 

However, the new directors, Matt Bettinelli-Oplin and Tyler Gillett, achieve almost all of the requirements for a basic Scream slasher film: epic killer scenes, stupid character decisions that have viewers yelling at the TV and even the twists and turns at the end of the film. 

The new movie’s target audience is the fans that were raised on the original 1998 film and its sequels. Like the first four movies, the fifth movie managed to slip a lot of ironic digs at slasher films and then do exactly what they made fun of. Scream continues with the meta-commentary just as the previous films do, but this time the commentary is also directed to the fans. 

The writers James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick managed to roast everyone involved with the Scream franchise in the fifth film. The movie successfully ties in the previous films to the series while also being unique enough to be a stand-alone.

As usual, Scream opens with a phone call —but not just any phone call. Tara Carpenter (Jenna Ortega) answers the phone. Ortega’s character is attacked while she is home alone after another person is inspired by the in-universe “Stab” franchise. The attack on her little sister motivates Sam Carpenter (Melissa Barrera) to return home with fear and a secret. 

Ortega kills the performance, as she does with every part she plays. Barrera played the older sister role perfectly. Fans of the previous movies know that Neve Campbell, David Arquette and Courteney Cox return in 2022 as Sidney, Dewey and Gale.

The casting for the “requel” was done amazingly. The carpenter sisters behave like siblings, the return of original characters and diversity. The film includes the LGBTQ+ community, people of color and a mixture of rising stars with new faces. 

Once again, Woodsboro is faced with another Ghostface killer (or two) and a group of friends and old characters are determined to unmask the betrayer. Fans of the first film will be delighted to see some of the old setting and Skeet Ulrich’s handsome face featured again. 

Although I will not spoil who lives and who suffered from another brutal Ghostface murder, I will say that I shed a few tears during the film. The film was a great change of pace for the franchise, while also keeping its original meta-commentary and slasher film horror scenes. 

With better use of gore, makeup and special effects, the movie’s murder scenes have been upgraded from decent 90s horror scenes with little gore to a few brutal crime scenes on the screen. 

Throughout the film I cried, laughed and quietly mentioned to my friend how dumb the characters were. Craven was honored in the new film with “for Wes” signs at a party as a tribute to the original director to the Scream franchise. 

Although Craven will be missed, at least the franchise is in the hands of great creators. I cannot wait to see the confirmed sixth movie set to release in mid-to-late 202