After a decade of silence, the villain known as Ghostface returns in a fifth installment of the franchise which follows a new set of rules for a trend in today’s horror films: the “re-quel”.
When Tara Carpenter finds herself attacked by a presence known as Ghostface, Woodsboro has once again become the setup for what is set to be another rash of murders. Luckily, Tara has survived the encounter and is hospitalized. Her estranged sister, Sam, returns to town bringing along her boyfriend Richie. Sam has hidden a long-kept secret and Tara’s friends Amber, Wes, Chad, Liv, and Mindy have mixed emotions about Sam’s return. When Ghostface attempts to kill Sam, it is a failed attempt and Sam decides she must investigate.
Tara’s attack and the murder of local Vince has attracted the attention of retired sheriff Dewey Riley. He contacts two old friends, Sidney Prescott and Gale Weathers, not to come to town after warning them Ghostface has returned. When Gale hears the news, she returns to Woodsboro and after a few more victims have fallen, Sidney returns to town too. Together with Sam, they plan to find out who is responsible and why.
After 2011’s Scre4m, one never would have imagined that we would see Ghostface return. Especially after the passing of franchise director Wes Craven in 2015. However, with the resurgence of franchises such as Halloween and Texas Chainsaw Massacre getting the new “re-quel” treatment, it was only a matter of time until we see Ghostface return in some aspect. However, unlike the previous two, the film is a fifth installment despite its eponymous title but follows the rules of a “re-quel” as one would put it.
Of course, what’s a Scream film without the trio who have been around since the beginning in 1996. David Arquette, Courteney Cox, and Neve Campbell all return. However, it is Arquette who gets the most screen time of the trio as the one-time comic relief Dewey. Seeing him transform into a more serious role is quite interesting to see. However, consider what he has been through the last four times, you can’t blame him at all. As for Cox’s Gale and Campbell’s “final girl” Sidney, they come in at just the right moments. One wishes they did more with Sally Hardesty in Texas Chainsaw Massacre opposed to Laurie Strode in the Halloween requel series and Sidney here.
Of course, with all horror franchises, there has to be a new list of victims and suspects involved. What they did this time around was smart. Usually in the franchise, there is an opening kill scene but, in this case, Jenna Ortega’s Tara actually survives her attack from Ghostface and sets up the film’s premise of her sister Sam, played by Melissa Barrera, coming to grips with not only returning to Woodsboro, but revealing that she has a long-kept secret that messes with her conscience. And it is quite a twist in the story, and one would think this would go a certain way but does pull off more of a Hills Have Eyes-style trope that has rarely been used in the genre.
There are also not one, but many legacy characters in this installment. For instance, the twins Chad and Mindy are revealed to be the nephew and niece of Jamie Kennedy’s resident horror film expert Randy Meeks and he clearly has influenced them. Victim Vince, played by Kyle Gallner, is revealed to be the nephew of original Ghostface killers. Marley Shelton, who debuted in Scre4m as Officer Judy Hicks, is now Sheriff Hicks with her son Wes, played by a blonde-hair sporting Dylan Minette of Goosebumps and Don’t Breathe fame. Richie is played by a legacy himself in Jack Quaid, the son of Hollywood veterans Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan.
2022’s Scream follows the franchise in terms of storyline, but also follows the rules of the “requel” and adds a twist in a certain trope that hasn’t really been seen often, especially since The Hills Have Eyes franchise of old. The kill scenes are quite a delight and will please gorehounds, but in the case of some, they will shock you as well.
WFG RATING: A-
Paramount Pictures and Spyglass Entertainment present a Project X/Outerbanks Entertainment production in association with Radio Silence Entertainment and Lantern Entertainment. Directors: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett. Producers: James Vanderbilt, William Sherak, and Paul Neinstein. Writers: James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick; based on characters created by Kevin Williamson. Cinematography: Brett Jutkiewicz. Editing: Michel Aller.
Cast: Neve Campbell, David Arquette, Courteney Cox, Melissa Barrera, Jenna Ortega, Jack Quaid, Mikey Madison, Mason Gooding, Jasmin Savoy Brown, Sonia Ammar, Marley Shelton, Kyle Gallner, Chester Tam, Roger L. Jackson (voice)