The “Scream” franchise returned to theaters for the first time in over a decade premiering on Jan 14. The movie, under the same name as the original, is co-directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett. It also contains a star-studded cast that includes Jenna Ortega, Dylan Minnette, and returning stars known synonymously with the “Scream” films such as Courtney Cox, David Arquette, and of course Neve Campbell.
The opening scene of the movie is a modernized recreation of the classic opening scene of the original, in which Drew Barrymore answers the phone while home alone cooking popcorn, only to hear the iconic “What’s your favorite scary movie?” line over the phone. In this rendition, Jenna Ortega’s character, Tara, answers the phone in the kitchen and turns on a lockdown system in the house. This system does no good, as the killer outsmarts Tara and gets into the house, severely injuring her, but not quite killing her.
The entire movie consists of many troupes “Scream” is iconically known for, such as the meta conversations and actions of the characters, and the psychological mystery of who the killer (or killers) is/are. The movie uses these troupes very well, as the meta conversations are both over-the-top and hilarious and figuring out who the killer is is nearly impossible for a first-time watch.
The character Mindy, portrayed by Jasmin Savoy Brown, takes on the role of Randy from the original two films as the role of the most-meta character. In a scene with all of the main characters, Mindy explains to everyone that a “re-quel” doesn’t follow the typical rules of a sequel, since audiences are bored of regular sequels. She explains that re-quels can break the rules even further than sequels can, and even speculates that the killer can be in the room with them.
The suspense in this movie keeps itself high, and the characters never feel safe, even if they are in police custody or in a hospital. It’s very funny for a horror movie, and the “Who done it?” aspect of the movie is really interesting and turns out to be a great twist.
Although it doesn’t fit into the modern trend of horror movies to exhibit some form of social commentary, like “Get Out”, “Candyman”, or “Midsommar”, it doesn’t need to be that, and is great for what it’s supposed to be, especially as the fifth film in a franchise.