SPOILER-FREE REVIEW: No Ghostface(s) shall be named in this review.

Image for Scream
Photo: © Paramount Pictures
This fifth chapter in the Scream franchise – the first new instalment since 2011’s Scream 4 and the first since the 2015 passing of franchise creator and horror royalty Wes Craven – raises one red flag from the get-go: its title. Indeed, Scream is a sequel / requel that anchors itself within the misguidedly brazen and tiresome trend of sharing the exact same name as the original film – see: 2010’s A Nightmare on Elm Street, 2011’s The Thing, 2018’s Halloween. Thankfully, this year’s instalment overcomes this initial warning sign, actually addresses it within the film, and delivers the slasher goods in a fun, inventive and at times impressively gruesome fashion. Directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillet, the duo behind the excellent Ready Or Not, this new chapter in the franchise does feel familiar but is unafraid to comment on its own existence, much like The Matrix Resurrections. However, unlike the up-its-own-arse levels of meta of The Matrix Resurrections, which felt like a desperate attempt to mask the narrative’s low stakes and to fashion a critique-proof get-out-of-jail-free card, Scream features some sharp commentary about horror filmmaking and toxic fandom, and its meta-commentary feels more earned. Granted, the Scream series has always featured strong levels of satire, lovingly dissecting hallowed horror tropes as Ghostface sliced and diced, making it better equipped to approach the relationship between viewers and movies and incisively critique the current filmmaking landscape. But despite its in-built satirical credentials, the script by James Vanderbilt (Zodiac) and Guy Busick (Ready Or Not) really doesn’t let this 2022 incarnation down and never feels self-deprecating to the point of being annoying. While occasionally repetitive and with Craven’s beloved theme of intergenerational trauma already fully explored in the earlier films, Scream remains a stylish and incredibly well-crafted instalment that will delight fans of the series. Scream / D: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillet (US, 2022), with Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, David Arquette, Jenna Ortega. Starts January 13.