ash’s review published on Letterboxd:
“How can fandom be toxic when it’s about love?”
Before I start I just want to say I’m amazed at how much I’ve warmed up to the Scream films. I used to dislike all of them growing up, but my rewatches have opened up a new admiration for them; I really admire and like the second and third films, and I think the first and fourth films have some fascinating and intriguing concepts or execution. I loved this new one. I thought it was incredible and fun.
Probably my favourite of the Scream films, along with the second one. There’s a lot of fascinating concepts, reflections, and conversations here about the nature of fandoms, using the franchise previous rumination on the horror genre, and sequels, reboots, and remakes, to talk about the personal connection of fans and relevant communities to these films and franchises, which is particularly relevant 2017 onwards, as our culture has dictated. The way fans feel that these films belong to them, and that they get to dictate these stories, how these characters are developed, and what paths they take on. “Reclaiming” characters and their stories for their own to reshape into their own liking in whichever ways they seem fit to their preference and personal demand. It’s a sort of privilege, you could say that fans abuse, and I think this latest instalment is an evocative encapsulation of this particular toxicity of fandom, especially with online culture.
For me, the genius of this film, other than its reflection on fandom culture, and once again - as the Scream films naturally do - the nature of reboots and sequels (this time commenting on ‘requels’ - as discussed in the film itself - which are essentially sequels that work as reboots to the franchise by amalgamating legacy and the old, with the new and fresh, forming a story that takes the franchise in a new direction, though inspired by the origin of these stories and characters, so as not to be too radically different or new, and to still feel similar to fans albeit being new) lies in its casting. Some phenomenal casting choices that play out so brilliantly and entertainingly.
Obviously, bringing back the legacy characters was a natural move. We wouldn’t have Scream without them, we probably never will have Scream without at least one of them - I reckon - and their appearances here serve as a sort of epilogue and finality to their stories and connection to Woodsboro in many ways. David Arquette’s performance here is easily said his best in the franchise; emotionally stirring, despondently affected by the events of the four previous films, and at his best moments just so utterly compelling. But some of my favourite moments came from the new cast members. Lots of great names in this - Melissa Barrera, Jenna Ortega (who has some incredible moments with Ghostface), Dylan Minnette, Sonia Ben Ammar - but the standouts for me were the quadruple of Jack Quaid, Mikey Madison, and the twins, Jasmin Savoy Brown and Mason Gooding. Quaid is fantastic, might be my favourite performance from any of the Scream films, and has possibly some of the best lines in the film, especially in the third act. He’s the main comic-relief here, but it’s never played off as cheap or forced, it’s always fittingly comical to the very front of his character. In casting Madison, I’m glad that Rich Delia (casting director for the film) probably watched Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, because she is a sensation here, I mean it’s just a perfect fit, so much so as for the film to even be self-referential of it in a certain scene. Brown and Gooding’s castings are fun extensions of Meek’s character from the first two films, as the my are in fact his nephew and niece; not just fun and funny, but Brown’s character adds a sensibly realised and continuously amusing filter of self-awareness that works in-sync with the innate awareness and reflections of the Scream franchise on all things horror, sequels or remakes/reboots, and with this, all things fandom-related.
I really think it’s a good thing we got Scream (5?) which is as much a sequel as it is a requel, although in its self-awareness tends to deprive itself of requel status. It’s just a great feeling knowing we’re still getting sequels, and especially legacy sequels, like Scream 5 and The Matrix: Resurrections, that actually do something new and intriguing and reflective and intelligent with their status, and not just use it to subside as continuations or nostalgia-bait (even if some nostalgia is good at times, depending on how it’s executed). It’s a smart lesson in how to make a legacy sequel/requel, and it’s a bunch of fun, even if you do suspect who at least one of the Ghostfaces are from the start. Always nice to take a break from everything on a weekday night, get into a cinema, and enjoy a great film in the dark, and right now, I’m just happy and, in some sense of mind, rejuvenated having watched Scream 5 and liking it (after all my Scream rewatches through the last week or two as well), and Im just joyful about the fact that we can now safely and securely go back to the cinemas, back to the movies, and watch a good picture, and just have a good time and enjoy ourselves. I’m simply happy we have the movies again, and we have cinemas again, and that some semblance of what was once normal with moviegoing seems to be normal and sort of familiar again. Scream 5, great one, up there with the second film, I enjoyed it and felt connected to it, amusing experience, go watch it!
Oh yeah, and I do love a Dawson’s Creek feature! :)