The New ‘Scream’: Now Even MORE Meta

A delight for toxic fandom

The newest Scream is an absolute delight, especially for aging millennial/Gen-X dorks like me. It’s so meta even Mark Zuckerberg would recoil, but that’s the point. That being said, perhaps I have been brainwashed by the fifth Scream movie, where a killer recites multiple monologues extolling how hard they worked on the plot, and how much time they spent on Reddit in the Stab forums.

SCREAM ★★★★ (4/5 stars)
Directed by: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett
Written by: James Vanderbilt, Guy Busick
Starring: Courtney Cox, Neve Campbell, David Arquette, Melissa Barrera, Dylan Minnette
Running time: 114 mins

It loses a star for a few reasons, including one I just added–having the same name as the first film makes writing this review slightly more difficult, and I am mad about it.

Scream solidly weaves this meta commentary into the plot. As the new film’s ‘Randy’ character points out, you have to bring the original characters back, plus add new characters with a connection to the past. The character sharing the information was the female half of boy-girl twins who happen to be Randy’s niece and nephew, and yes, the meta call is coming from inside the house.

They packed this film with Gen Z’s hottest stars, including Dylan Minnette. His character’s frosted tips might be my 13th reason.

With new characters who are related to heroes and villains from previous films, the latest Scream film works very hard to remind the audience why they love the franchise, while also roasting the fans pretty hard. When the killer said “How can a fandom be toxic?” I felt it in my soul, and I was ashamed. But then more fun stuff happened and I was like “Guess I am a toxic fan!”

The meta commentary is very fun, but it does mean that there is a pretty serious lack of character development for most of the newbies, who are mostly there to explain their connections to previous characters in various ham-fisted ways. For example, one new character sees visions of her dead father, a hologram of a 90s hunk (that’s a hint!). Randy’s twin niblings have a memorial entertainment center in honor of their deceased uncle. Rest in power cords, Uncle Randy.

The heart of the film is the sisterly bond between big sister Sam, and little sister Tara. Ghostface attacks both sisters, causing Sam to return to Woodsboro for the first time in years. The characters are likable and mysterious enough to be suspects, but I also can’t stop thinking about how after their brutal attack their mom… stayed on her business trip in London? I know this movie has lots of deliberate holes caused by frenzied stabbing, but this plot hole was glaring enough to mention.

Favorite characters Gale, Dewey, and Sidney all return, making old fans cheer. Granted, these same fans also clapped for the Nicole Kidman AMC commercial, so they may have just been excited to be out of the house.

The bottom line is: if you’ve enjoyed the Scream franchise even a little bit, this addition will entertain you. Satisfying things happen to characters you love, and some bad things too. I was particularly pleased about Judy’s fate. Scream does what it does best, and if it’s your favorite scary movie, check this one out.

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Kristin Clifford

Kristin Clifford is a comedy writer in Los Angeles. She started in Chicago, studying improv and performing stand-up, but has traded the stage for the page. Recent projects include writing for season 2 of Cathy in Real Life.

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