Scream ★★★½

The fifth installment of Scream never reinvents the wheel in a slasher series that has always depended heavily on sledgehammer-style meta-references. Nonetheless, it certainly feels like directorial duo Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, probably best known for the horror comedy Ready or Not, were aiming for just that.

Like Scream 4, this sequel relies on updating the original concept for a modern setting. And like Scream 4, the focus is once again on media influence, with a special emphasis on Hollywood's sequel culture, fandom culture, and the state of the horror genre in general. In that sense, it operates on a similar premise as The Matrix Resurrections, except the willingness to take certain risks with the storytelling appears to be much lower here.
However, this is not a disadvantage. Even though Scream is a re-branded version of what has already been done, there is enough confidence on display to make it work despite its flaws and weaknesses.
Did I roll my eyes to the back of my head at some of the meta references ? Check. Did I despise the way this film played with the expectation of jump scares around every corner? Check. Did the self-congratulatory nostalgia bait masquerading as anti-nostalgia commentary become grating very quickly? Check.

But the one thing that irritates me the most is the title. This lazy, uninspired, slothful trend of naming sequels or reboots the exact same as the first film can be ended right now, please. Or are they hoping to lure more viewers into watching this by betting on people clicking it since they are expecting original film?

But this also might have been the most fun I've had with a slasher sequel in a long time.

Although this might have sounded like a 2-star review thus far, I really cannot get mad at this film. I can't help myself; the Scream series has become my go-to comfort horror series and pretty much everything I love the original for is present in Scream 5 as well. It can be nerve-wrackingly stupid, and with each subsequent sequel, the final twists and revelations become less and less plausibe, and the formulaic nature of it all can grow old fairly fast, but I still wholeheartedly embraced what Scream 5 was going for. This film will almost certainly appeal to those who already enjoyed the previous four films, and if you are into them, then Scream 5 will be a wild ride–if not, then perhaps it might be wiser to stay away and look elsewhere for a film that breathes new blood into its genre.

On a final note: I hope they will never do a sequel without Courteney Cox or Neve Campbell. Those two icons are as integral to the Scream series as the meta-fictional subtext.

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