No spoilers: ‘Scream’ doesn’t reinvent but is a worthy ‘requel’

The fifth 'Scream' is gnarly, bloody, funny and full of twists and red herrings. In other words, it’s a 'Scream' movie — and a quite good one.

Brad Keefe
Ghostface in Paramount Pictures and Spyglass Media Group's "Scream."

Before I get into this week’s review, a few words about what you won’t find here: spoilers.

The invitation for the press screening of the latest “Scream” movie included a note asking critics to “kindly refrain” from revealing plot points in their reviews. There was also an introduction from two of the movie’s stars before the movie asking viewers not to spoil the movie for others.

Those who have read my reviews know I try to be especially delicate about this. I’ll give you a general first-act setup, usually no more (and often less) than you’d get from watching a trailer.

“No spoilers” really ought to go without saying, but online critics increasingly seem to throw that to the wind. We actually can talk about the movie we just saw before everyone else without pretending that everyone saw it with us.

Every single MCU movie released seems to have a “we need to talk about that post-credits scene” article pop up days before anyone but preview audiences have seen it. No, we don’t need to talk about it. We need to give people a chance to watch it.

The 2022 incarnation of “Scream” is especially ripe to be ruined with spoilers, so I’ll tread very lightly here.

It’s been 25 years since the events of the first “Scream,” and a new group of teenagers in Woodsboro confront the town’s past after a horrific attack.

One bit that might have been a nice reveal if you didn’t get it on the movie poster, trailer and opening credits? Key players from the original movies return in a cross-generational update. Is that vague enough for you?

The fifth “Scream” shares the template of the series: a self-aware, self-referential slasher whodunnit, and obviously the charm lies in the mutual suspicions of “one of us is the killer.”

Co-directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin & Tyler Gillett (“Ready or Not”) step into some of the biggest shoes in the horror game carrying on in the footsteps of the late Wes Craven.

The movie also acknowledges the rise of more elevated horror films like “Get Out” and “The Babadook” as a way of saying, this isn’t going to be that. Instead, it’s gnarly, bloody, funny, and full of wild twists and red herrings. In other words, it’s a “Scream” movie — and a quite good one.

The directors pay clear tribute to Craven by not reinventing his franchise. There’s some fan service, but it’s not heavy-handed and they’ve honestly made a movie that’s perfectly enjoyable if you’ve never seen a “Scream” (or haven’t revisited them since they came out).

It’s also a great movie to experience in a crowded theater in a moment when that’s not something I can advise.

I’ll let you do your own risk assessment, but I also wouldn’t tell you to do anything I wouldn’t do. A good mask and seeking out weeknight showings and matinees that are less crowded is where I’m at, and this is one that feels more at home on the big screen.

“Scream”

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3 stars out of 5