Scream 5: Worth the Scare or Not Worth Your Care?


Don’t Scream: The recently released and fifth installment of the Scream franchise has drawn some mixed opinions from fans.

Everyone likes a good scare. Well maybe not everyone; not in real life anyway. But, a good scary movie is just the right amount of excitement. What can I say… sometimes it’s fun to scream. 

The Scream franchise has gained an impressive crowd of fans since the release of the first movie in 1996, starring David Arquette, Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, and Skeet Ulrich. The movie became one of the most well known ‘classics’ among horror movie enthusiasts – as well as my personal favorite. The movie isn’t famous simply for its jump scares. In fact, compared to most modern day thrillers, it’s an easy watch. In my opinion, the best part of the original Scream is the cast. Each actor fit their role perfectly and nobody could have played psychotic killer Billy Loomis as well as Ulrich. Ghost face has taken on a number of faces – behind the mask that is – over the past 26 years, but the fifth installment to the series has left some mixed opinions. 

These ‘mixed opinions’ aren’t just between fans, they’re in my own head as well. Although the movie itself was captivating, I couldn’t help but compare it to the original, and in that sense it is seriously lacking in appeal. Part of that is due to the many years that have passed since the start of the franchise in 1996. A span of 26 years in the film industry brings modern advancements and improved special effects, from plot line references of digital house locks, to very realistic depictions of a knife through a head. In my opinion, all the up close stab wound shots served only to call attention to the impressive makeup skills, and took away from the suspense of the murder. 

Arguably, the most important part of any good movie is the cast. Sam Carpenter – the main character and daughter of Scream 1 killer Billy Loomis – is played by Melissa Barrera. Personally, I didn’t like this casting choice, but it may have been more the character herself that annoyed me. Sam Carpenter was stubborn, but not in a way that’s admirable, and wasn’t captivating as fan-favorite Sydney Prescott, the leading lady of the franchise. The casting of the two killers – best friend Amber and boyfriend Jack – was both fitting and disappointing. Amber was played by Mikey Madison and fit the role perfectly. The most fundamental trait a Scream killer must have is a little insanity and Madison played the part with just the right amount of crazy. Of course, nobody will measure up to Skeet Ulrich, but I have to say her acting in the climax scene left nothing to be desired. Jack however, disappointed. Played by Richie Kirsch, Sam’s boyfriend, Jack’s personality just didn’t seem to fit that of a serial killer. He wasn’t scary and although his actions may have proved otherwise, he didn’t fit the ‘insane’ persona that the original Scream killers set the standard for. The combination of both new and old characters was genius, however, with returning “legacy characters” Sydney Prescott, Dewey Riley, and Gale Weathers guiding the teens that are currently caught up in a recreation of their own teen trauma. 

In reference to the actual plot, I enjoyed it. The storyline had a bit more of a mystery aspect to it than the previous movies, as all the main characters were actively trying to determine who the killer could be. One thing I enjoyed was that the movie seemed to be making fun of its own genre in a way, with intense lead up music and constant “there’s someone behind the door” instances that ended in nothing. The closing scene, when Amber comes back to life and runs into the room after a death that would be impossible to recover from, played with the cliche that a killer will always come back to life if not shot in the heart. I mean, being burned alive is an easy injury to recover from, right?