Time: 114 Minutes
Age Rating: Violence and offensive language
Neve Campbell as Sidney Prescott
Courteney Cox as Gale Weathers
David Arquette as Dewey Riley
Melissa Barrera as Sam Carpenter
Jack Quaid as Richie Kirsch
Mikey Madison as Amber Freeman
Jenna Ortega as Tara Carpenter
Dylan Minnette as Wes Hicks
Jasmin Savoy Brown as Mindy Meeks-Martin
Mason Gooding as Chad Meeks-Martin
Sonia Ammar as Liv McKenzie
Marley Shelton as Judy Hicks
Director: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett
Sam Carpenter returns to Woodsboro after her sister gets attacked by the Ghostface. She approaches Dewey Riley to help catch the killer, who warns Sidney and Gale.
11 years after the last movie, Scream gets its fifth installement with the confusingly titled Scream. While I have some issues with it, I liked it overall, and did pretty well considering its task of following up on Wes Craven’s movies.
Meta satire is a present aspect through all these Scream movies, but I found it to be a mixed bag in this one. Instead of poking fun as cliches of horror movies, sequels, threequels and remakes, it’s about toxic fandom, and somewhat about legacy sequels and modern horror, including “elevated horror”. Some of the dialogue about that can be very on the nose and grating. I still like the satire, but it’s not done nearly as well compared to what Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson did with the previous movies. That’s especially the case when it comes to the commentary on modern horror, since Scream 4 back in 2011 executed this a lot better. Scream 5 does work a little better outside of the meta aspects, even if the plot is kind of predictable, beginning with another great Scream opening. The mystery is maintained well, and it does play with your expectations for a new Scream movie. The twists aren’t as surprising as previous movies, but it doesn’t feel like there as much of an emphasis on surprising you, so I was fine with that. It does well at introducing some new characters to the franchise (even if some of them are underdeveloped), and it does nicely handle the legacy characters for the most part. Humour usually plays a key role in the Scream movies, even with Scream 4. However, Scream 5 does feel distinctly darker despite some comedy. Not that this choice is bad, it just felt like an interesting change. There’s a particular backstory for the main character which I’m not certain about yet, but at least it’s revealed early on instead of being a twist halfway through. For whatever reason though, they felt the need to give her these random hallucinations, which I just found to be a little silly. Finally, while it is mostly well paced, it does slow down a bit during the second act.
The cast are generally good and have great chemistry together. Melissa Barrera plays the protagonist and I thought she was alright, unfortunately she wasn’t quite on the level of some of the other actors. Jenna Ortega fares a lot better and is great, particularly in the horror scenes. The supporting cast is good with Jasmin Savoy-Brown and Mason Gooding being convincing as twins, and Jack Quaid and Mikey Madison being among the standouts. Some of the original characters from the first four movies return, however for the first time they serve as notable supporting roles instead of leading roles like in the last four movies. The trio of Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette are great in their respective parts, with Arquette particularly giving his best performance as Dewey.
Scream 5 is directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett and the one thing I knew about them is that they made Ready or Not, which I liked. They did some good work with Scream 5. I really like the cinematography and it does have a better ‘modern’ look than Scream 4 did. The attack scenes are thrilling, and the kills are the bloodiest, goriest and most brutal in the franchise up to this point. Along with the kills, this Ghostface with the personality and dialogue is probably the most vicious version of the killer yet. The movie is helped by a solid score from Brian Tyler. If there’s issues with the direction, it’s mainly with the obvious jump scares. More annoying is the amount of fake out jump scares, where it looks like a character is about to turn around and walk into the killer, but this doesn’t happen, and this is repeated a lot. While it wasn’t as tensionless as Scream 3, Scream 5 just wasn’t that scary to me.
Scream 5 isn’t one of the best Scream movies, but it’s definitely not the worst. While some aspects of the meta commentary, the plot and the scares are flawed, there’s still a lot to like, with the performances, the humour, much of the direction, and some great sequences. As far as legacy sequels in horror franchises, Scream 5 does its job pretty well.