Directors: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin & Tyler Gillett
Spyglass Media Group / Project X Entertainment / Paramount Pictures
Scream (aka Scream 5) is both sequel and reboot – a “requel” as the very knowing and cracking-good script tells us. It features the big names from the original – back as second-generation helpers. And of course a whole new cast of 20 and 30 year olds playing teens.
It’s super smart and fun and the look and feel is perfect. We begin with an opening phone-call scene, natch – but it’s updated to have texting in and around the landline call, and even added smartphone features come into play.
Scream is having a good time and wants its audience to do the same. It’s hard not to. If you’re a fan of the original film and/or franchise then I can’t imagine you’d be disappointed with this. The Scream franchise was – like most – stretched to breaking point, but had a mild comeback with its fourth entry and now, a quarter century since the original, it’s like a Halloween-reboot, only better. Scream is quintessential horror. Meta-horror that delights in pointing out the foibles of the genre as well as celebrating the needle-drops, needle-jumps, thrills, chills and laughter along the way.
The directors know what they’re doing with this material – but big thanks must go to writers James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick. They have a lot of work to cover to make this even plausible and they do so with aplomb – making the nods, taking a few chances and always conscious that Scream as an entity was all about being aware, being so knowing, making meta-jokes, running on meta-pranks.
Watching the new Scream was like a night in with friends watching an old favourite. Which is exactly what you want from a 25th Anniversary reboot – there’s no barrier of entry though. Scream (5) plays as its own thing too. Yes, you probably need a working knowledge of the franchise to really get the most from this – but I could see it as an entry-point; could believe that someone would go to this first (due to age) and then work back through the original films as a result.
There’s nothing that makes this an absolute classic – but that’s largely because the influence of the original Scream was such that there have in a way already been about 350 sequels, requels and barely anything resembling its equal.
The new Scream holds its head high, delights in visceral throat-slashes and blood-gushes and if not inventive then at least rather gruesome kills. It’s fun, sometimes funny and it hurtles along just as well as something like this ever could.
I liked it. And I’ve done my best here to plug it, rather than – in any way – spoil it.