Scream 5 gives classic franchise a facelift

Lexus Gruszka, Scribe Reporter

Scream 5 (courtesy of IMDB)

Following common trends in horror series today, Scream 5, was released on January 14th of 2022–11 years in the making. Similar to Halloween 2018, Scream 5 introduces a mix of  new characters along with actors in the original 1996 film.

The first Scream introduced an edgier, intelligent, but funny take on slasher films. The stereotypically oblivious teens were replaced with a clever, dynamic friend group filled with secrets and rules that they had to learn in order to protect themselves from the killer. Scream 5 consistently hints back to the original tropes throughout the movie as action and drama develop. The infamous themes and clichés never get old; in fact, they provide iconic plot points that convey the true meaning of the film. Scream 5, with all the murders and gore, is truly a who-done-it film.

In a nod to the original film, Scream 5 takes place 25 years after grisly murders (last orchestrated by Billy Loomis and Stu Macher). A new “Ghostface” killer enters Woodsboro Town Square to wreak havoc on a group of teenagers in hope of following in the footsteps of the deadly past.  Appropriately and intentionally cliché, the plot of a Scream film will always be predictable. A specific group of friends is stalked and picked off one by one by a killer wearing the Ghostface mask.

However, does this repetitive plot work?

After four films, slowly decreasing in rating as the films churned out, Scream 5 revived and revised the plot in a unique way. The film itself, as well as the combination of old and new characters act with a sense of self-awareness; we’re watching a horror movie that operates in such a way that it knows that it’s a horror movie.  This gives audiences a different style of viewing a movie, and its “meta” experience contributes an entertaining plot structure.

Scream 5 was always going to be tough to pull off. Not only did the plot need to upgrade, but the acting had to match the hype. Bringing in original actors like Neve Campbell and Coutrney Cox, brought in the familiar feeling within the genre. Their acting ability may have helped to carry the franchise through the finish line, however, their appearance in the 2022 film felt forced. Thankfully, David Arquette, who portrays Dewey Riley, pulled off his best performance yet. His acting truly felt the most authentic and character-driven compared to the others who seemed to be merely there to serve as plot devices with familiar faces.

So, following four films wherein the same three characters suffer torment at the hands of Ghostface, Scream 5 understood what it had to do. It introduces a new friend group, with up-and-coming actors like Jenna Ortego, giving the film a fresher vibe. Although the acting from some of the young cast wasn’t exactly perfect, it never takes away from the film. Impressively, the blend between improvements in the gory special effects and the acting brought to life disturbing scenes, keeping the slasher fresh. Overall, the updated acting, with old familiar elements sprinkled in, should appeal to a larger audience.

As a horror/slasher film lover, Scream 5 more than met my expectations. The film was filled with gory scenes that made the original look like child’s play. Although the cruelty of the deaths are unrealistic, you can’t help but imagine yourself  in the same position. Certain scenes had the audience on the edge of their seat, screaming at the characters to turn around or to not open that door. Meanwhile, my personal favorite scenes featured the seemingly random comedic relief, which was exactly what the film needed to ease moments of tension, allowing us to giggle and let our guards down. The comedic lines often made sly references to the original, which made me love it even more. It was one of the best modern horror movies. It is the perfect slasher film that keeps you guessing from the beginning, “Who is the killer?” only to hit us with a twist at the end.

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