Review: Scream

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Title: Scream
Directors: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillet
Starring: Neve Campbell, Melissa Barrera, Courtney Cox
MPAA Rating: R
Runtime: 1 hr 54 mins

What It Is: Twenty-five years after the original series of murders in Woodsboro, a new Ghostface emerges, and Sidney Prescott must return to uncover the truth.

What We Think: The latest entry in the (surprisingly overlooked?) Scream franchise has arrived. After Scream 4, it would have seemed that the series had finally reached its end – except for the fact that every Scream film wraps up their story almost perfectly, leaving little to no room for a sequel. That brilliant aspect is a major reason why this franchise has managed to stay fresh over the course of 20+ years, so when Scream 5 (simply titled Scream) was announced last year, I was interested to see where they’d take the series next. And, well…

I absolutely loved it. Any uncertainties I had about the film going in were completely evaporated within the first 10 minutes. This is a brilliantly written, well-acted, and amazingly entertaining film – not just because its from the Scream franchise, but because there is actual care put into its technicalities and presentation. What I had hoped more than anything going in was to have that classic metacommentary on the horror genre return in the form of critiques on reboots, sequels, and fan reception (because how else would you have the ‘horror movie rules’ come back) – and it completely delivers. The cast here is excellent, with newcomers and legacy characters (wink wink) alike adding so much heart to the gruesome backdrop of this story, which is indeed ghastly. If you’re showing up to the theater wanting kills and gore, you’ll get what you’re looking for here – it’s not too excessive, and I’m certain that every bloody effect here is practical, which is an absolute win.

If I had to recommend this to cautious fans, I’d say that this entry, like all the other ones, stands on its own and has its qualities. For today’s landscape, with diehard fans and extreme criticism, Scream cleverly pokes fun at its own celebrity while also respecting its legacy. There are a few winks and nods that you can spot (one of the characters is named Wes, to give any indication), and ultimately the film doesn’t try too hard, which is perfectly adequate for this franchise. What’s also adequate for this franchise is characters making really bad decisions, and this film has more than a few of those moments – which might numb down the viewer, but it also might amuse you in the way only Scream films can do. There’s a certain quality here that can’t be ignored – the filmmakers really went all in for that Craven look and feel here.

Our Grade: A-; While simultaneously paying homage to past entries, Scream is a thrilling and all-around entertaining flick that pumps new life into the slasher genre. Hell, if Scream 6 ever comes around, I’d welcome these filmmakers again with open arms – absolutely killer!

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