lu 🦇’s review published on Letterboxd:
*this review is gonna be spoiler heavy, just giving you an extra warning*
i just got out of the preview screening and gosh i have so many thoughts, so many feelings so i’m hoping i’ll find a proper way to articulate a good amount of it here (it’s a really long one, i apologise)! first and foremost i’d like to say that my 3 star rating is very kind, because i’ve sold my soul to this franchise but that doesn’t make me blind to its flaws.
there’s plenty i enjoyed but let’s start on a more critical note so i can end this positively… i personally believe that i would’ve had a lot more fun with Scream  if they hadn’t made melissa barrera the lead. she’s got some great scenes during the third act but the majority of her performance completely brought me out of the movie. there’s a lack of sincerity to her emotional range which contrasted heavily with the remarkably great performances by the likes of jenna ortega, neve campbell and courteney cox. the heavy focus on her felt off as she made scenes unintentionally silly in a way that didn’t match the general feel of the movie. there’s plenty of horror that works well without much gore yet this particular sequel would’ve heavily benefited from being r-rated. scream has a history of including genuinely grim as well as creative kills but i was really missing those here. there are at least two that leave an especially horrific picture in my mind but almost none go further than brutal stabbings.
and of course i have to address it… dewey’s death hurt like absolute hell. we haven’t gotten a big loss since randy in Scream 2 and i must say that his parting was a smart way of upping the stakes once again after the illusion of safety the last two films created for crucial main characters. it absolutely broke my heart though. besides that the ultimate reveal of ghostface felt awfully unsatisfactory. a lot of the reasoning of both amber and richie reminded me of 2011’s Scream and not necessarily in the best way. specifically amber deserved a lot more time for her character to unravel since i felt a lack of connection to her in general. the additional briefly mentioned predatory romantic relationship between richie (an adult man) and amber (a teenager) felt rushed and while fortunately it was at no time romanticised it was an odd dynamic to add in with so little development.
to end this in a less nitpicky way: i believe this movie is good enough to have proved itself as a relevant and worthy addition to the franchise. jenna ortega’s portrayal of tara was honestly nothing short of phenomenal. her desperation, frustration and also fierceness when fighting back truly gripped me in every sense of the word. mindy was another new character that truly embodied randy’s attributes in a way that felt both nostalgic but also refreshing. while some of the callbacks to the original are clunky i still enjoyed them quite a bit, particularly when she was involved. i adored ghostface’s presence as always, be it them being absolutely bodied by other characters showing their inherent vulnerability or them looming in shots and constantly existing as a distant threat. some of the Scream-esque meta elements didn’t work as well for me this time around, which probably does connect to Wes Craven sadly not being involved in these movies anymore.
in the end Scream 5 is a mixed bag for me! i had enough fun that i appreciate it’s existence; it includes both spine chilling and less passable performances and sure ups the body count in comparison to other additions. those little connections to the original were a nice touch for the most part even though i got matthew lillard baited. i certainly do look forward to giving this a rewatch at some point and seeing how my mind might’ve changed on it by then!