‘Scream 5’ Perfects the Horror Legacy Continuation—Excuse Me, Requel
Scream is one of my favorite horror franchises, and one of the most consistent quality-wise (which is saying a lot considering how horror franchises go off the rails). The latest installment was both a passing of the torch from the original to the next generations, but also, in true Scream fashion, an exploration of the state of horror.
Spoilers for Scream 5
Horror has changed a lot since the first Scream film came out, but one thing has stayed the same—horror fans are … passionate. I say this as a horror fan.
5cream (and yes, I am going to call it that) pulls the familiar tropes we’ve seen in horror revival, introduces a new (diverse) cast of characters who are related to the originals—and then brings the original characters into the fold to help in the endgame. Except unlike Candyman, Halloween, or others, 5cream isn’t reverent about these things.
It understands that it is a horror film that is based on being self-aware and tongue-in-cheek. It has shown that since the Stab movies-within-the-movie became a fixture in the franchise and Sidney Prescott grew into more of an action survivor in every installment.
Our new heroines are Melissa Barrera as Sam Carpenter, the secret illegitimate daughter of first Scream murderer Billy Loomis, and her younger half-sister, Tara Carpenter (Jenna Ortega). We also get Randy Meek’s niece and nephew, Mindy Meeks-Martin (Jasmin Savoy Brown, Yellowjackets), and Chad Meeks-Martin (Mason Gooding, Booksmart) thrown in as a reminder this is a small town that hasn’t stopped for death.
My favorite thing about this sequel is that it has a body count worth watching. So often the films fail to actually be bloody, focusing more on suspense and being serious. 5cream knows it doesn’t have to be. It plays into the black comedy moments that make some death scenes somewhat funny, and others just downright heartbreaking.
All the references and sense of continuity add to the movie’s rewatchability, which made me glad I checked it out on Blu-ray after missing its theatrical run. This was even more the case once it is confirmed who the killer is.
I really did like Halloween, but I was still disappointed in how it didn’t realize how to play with its continuity in a more engaging way. Especially in removing the relationship between Laurie and Michael. 5cream isn’t afraid to embrace the silly of its genre because it knows that horror is allowed to be fun. It isn’t all “elevated.”
With its success, a sixth film has been confirmed. Now we know third entries aren’t the strongest for Scream, but hopefully, this one will break the mold.
(image: BROWNIE HARRIS/Paramount Pictures)
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