The Scream franchise has always pointed the camera inwards at itself and the horror tropes associated with slasher films. Its meta observations are part of the charm. And while there have been some missteps with some of the films, the franchise as a whole carves out its own unique and entertaining place within the genre. It’s been over a decade since Scream 4 hit theaters to mixed acclaim, and a lot has changed for horror films in that time. Scream, skipping over the ‘5’ ordering and going back to the original name, doesn’t change its formula and delivers another horrifying and humorous meta take on the genre.


It’s been 11 years since the town of Woodsboro was terrorized by Ghostface. That all changes when Tara Carpenter (Jenna Ortega) receives a call on her house’s landline phone one night from a mysterious voice who asks her about horror films. Like all previous films, Ghostface is back, only this time Tara manages to survive her encounter with the masked killer. News of Ghostface’s return spreads and results in Tara’s older sister Sam (Melissa Barrera) returning to Woodsboro in order to protect her sister. But Sam knows a dark family secret that she believes is the reason why Ghostface targeted Tara in the first place, and she’s determined to unmask and take the killer down for good before any more people get hurt.


Scream films have always been a reflection of horror films in a moment of time and the “rules” of the film are built around audiences’ taste to reflect that. The film and horror industry has changed a lot since 2011 when Scream 4 was released. This time, Scream revolves around the theme of the requel; a film that’s not quite a reboot but somewhat of a sequel that tells a new story for a younger generation while still bringing in legacy characters for fans of the original. And that’s exactly what the film does.


It wouldn’t be a proper Scream film without the involvement of Sidney (Neve Campbell), Gale (Courteney Cox), and Dewey (David Arquette) so they all find reasons to return to Woodsboro and help Sam unveil Ghostface. The film plays hard into its own tropes, as the franchise has always done. It tells you the rules and then takes a detour to avoid them, although most of the time the film ultimately falls to its own meta references. For your more typical grounded slasher film that would be tiresome, but for Scream it absolutely works to its advantage and enjoyment.


Oftentimes Scream will play against the genre’s tropes that it lays out for audiences but there are times where it also embraces and plays right into them. The fun of the film comes from figuring out which ones are which because it continually keeps you guessing. It would be smart for any horror movie to go against the norm, but that’s what the Scream franchise has always been about so going with the grain for Scream is sometimes what the audience doesn’t expect. Scream has the freedom to go anywhere it wants with its story and have it work within the context of the film. 


And that’s exactly what Scream does. It weaves in and out of horror tropes with reckless abandon, delivering well executed jump scares, brutal and bloody deaths, and boisterous laughs. It’s a bloody good time that embraces its slasher roots and forgoes the need to be a so-called elevated horror film. There’s even a scene that directly references this because of course they would do that. In the end, Scream is the best Scream since the original Scream.

Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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