Twenty-five years after the original series of murders in Woodsboro, a new Ghostface emerges, and Sidney Prescott must return to uncover the truth.
With the critical and financial success of the first three Scream films, you’d think studios would be making these types of slasher films forever. Apparently, they are, now going into the fifth installment, and maybe even more. The most important question to ask is if there’s a compelling enough story to keep the franchise going, or is this sequel just solely a desperate attempt to make money alone, without the passion of making quality art (yes a horror slasher film can be art too). Fortunately, most would argue the former especially after seeing the film. I’d say the same. Scream 5 may not be the best in the bunch of the previous films, but for the majority it’s a fun escape into madness, suspending your disbelief in a world that may be plausible.
To start off, what makes it fantastic is the intro of the film. It’s a perfect call back to the original 1996 version, mimicking all of the highlights, while still delivering something fresh for old and even new viewers. The setting is the same, yet the technology has advanced so you see the evolution of the story already. It was a natural transition that I appreciated as an audience member, and it kept my attention with excitement for what’s to come. The character was also extremely easy to root for. I found myself speaking out loudly in my head as if I was the character myself trying to survive, and the protagonist on screen was making every smart decision possible yet still feeling haunted and terrified by the ghost face killer lurking in the shadows. It was difficult to predict the outcome which is one of many elements that makes it all that more entertaining.
Speaking about predictability, none of the film was predictable. When the final conclusion of the film commenced, I had no clue who the killer or killers were (there were multiple in the past), and once revealed I was as shocked as a fish born out of water. The entire film was a guessing game of who did it and was executed with laser precision if that was the goal.
For the most part, all of the characters did a standout job as well. The legacy characters all returned from the original films, and they were easily the best part of the whole crew. They are experienced veterans at this and know the game back and forth. So, they weren’t taking any crap. It was a delight to see the use of deductive reasoning to answer questions, apply logic, and simply survive in this psycho killer’s game of “I’m bored and want attention.” The rest of the characters were commendable too and used their best judgment during times of need. There were a few hiccups as far as common sense is concerned, but it didn’t saturate the film.
However, one hiccup did stand out far more than the others. It was a death that was completely unwarranted and unnatural. If you’re staying true to the source material, there’s no way this character who died could’ve made this mistake, and it seemed more like a plot device to push the story forward instead of making actual sense. It was the only death that made me angry and slightly clocked me out of the film.
The deaths in the film were brutal and bold. Nothing as elaborate as the death scenes in a Final Destination film, but all over the place, in broad daylight or up in your face. The killer took their time too. The killer wouldn’t just kill their victims. They would sit there and enjoy it, salivate in it. As if every stab gave them a power boost. It was extremely creepy and made for a sinister villain I’d never want to meet.
Other criticisms would be how self-aware the film attempted to be. This is one of the most meta fourth wall breaking that I’ve ever seen. The good is it fits within the narrative so it makes logical sense that this banter would take place, however it’s the execution that’s the problem. The acting wasn’t the best. A more natural delivery of lines would have been welcomed instead of a memorized script which is how it depicted itself. In other words, make the audience feel like the characters are actually thinking critically about what the answer or solution is, and not just that they already know it because they’re in a movie.
The biggest mistake in the film however is the motivation for the killer. It was beyond ridiculous and quite out embarrassing. Now if you think of it, the motives behind the killers in the previous Scream films were lackluster as well, and extremely silly. But this motive in the latest film was the absolute worst. Your eyes may roll so far back in your head on how childish it was, that you may go blind (ok maybe not), but it was horrible, to be honest.
So other than a weak motive from the killer and an extreme character flaw that led to a character’s death, again, Scream 5 is fun. The duration is right at two hours, but that flies by, and after seeing this I’d recommend it and would be happy if the franchise continued to flourish.