You may ask why the hell would I see the 5th installment of a horror franchise. And you’re right to question that unless you’re an ardent fan of the Fast and Furious franchise. This is a hard review to do without spoilers so bare with me. So here we are: back in Woodsboro and someone starts stabbing kids and it’s a fresh flock of kids, no regular characters to be seen. Sydney, Dewey, and Gail are al doing their own things and of course, get dragged in by a pretty good plot. BTW, I like how they brought back a couple of minor characters from 3 and 4 and nicely tied it to the story. A few small nods to the other films so if you do a rewatch of the previous ones, you’ll catch them. Once they introduce why these kids are being killed and what relationship they have to the OG characters, you’ll tip your hat to a pretty decent idea. Here’s something else that stood out to me, the cinematography…different shots and viewpoints that provide more gravity to the situation. This film also tries getting you to “jump offsides” a lot and by that I mean, try and trick you into thinking that a scare is about to happen. And one of the OG trio finally meets their match and if you didn’t see it coming a mile away when they do, shame on you. It was a huge, “THAT DOESN’T HAPPEN MOMENT” for me.
Let’s take a break in the action and talk about how the mighty have fallen. Courteney Cox, who caught this reviewer’s eye in Ace Ventura, needs to go to the Hague and apply as a victim of a crime against humanity…her plastic surgery. The only thing missing was her looking at a mirror, breaking it against a cart, and laughing maniacally. She had work done for Scream 4 and it was obvious but not overbearingly bad. Now, it’s like a 5 year old with a marker, going all willy nilly and shit. If you were to go back in time and tell 1996 Kevin that Neve Campbell was going to age better than Courteney Cox, I would’ve pushed my bangs aside and choked you with my American Eagle necklace.
The third act really picks up and maintains at a solid pace. A bunch of familiar settings and dialogue but with new twists on it that pay off quite nicely. Obviously, when the reveals are made is when the verdict is in. Does it cash in or are you staring at the screen like they’re forcing you to eat a shit sandwich? Overall, it paid off for me. I mostly bought the logic behind wanting to kill the new batch, despite some of it being recycled. And of course, you have to swallow your tongue during the final battle with a final, “THAT DOESN’T HAPPEN.” Here is a problem I have with this film and other horror films: When one of the characters is being attacked and there are allies present for the attacked, RARELY anyone jumps in. Ghostface and a good guy are wrestling and there’s a gun or knife nearby the fracas. But no one makes a mad dash for the weapon to either kill Ghostface or get the weapon to their friend? And as many times as it’s alluded to in previous Scream films, no one EVER aims for the head, always the chest? I will say I partially guessed the killer combo but didn’t nail the reasons why. This achieved a better meta theme it sought more than part 4 aspired. And that’s a common theme in this film. Right now, the audience and critics both agree this is well above average and they’re right.
I did enjoy this and now I can definitively say that the Scream franchise has a pattern: the odd numbered Screams are good, the even numbered ones are not. Rank them? Sure. 1, 5, 3, 2, 4