Don’t Pick Up the Phone

Review Over Fifth Addition to ‘Scream’ Franchise


Photo by Isa Morgan

Welcoming back the familiar faces of Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox and David Arquette, this new addition to the “Scream” franchise also adds new faces such as Jenna Ortega and Dylan Minnette. This new installment to the series wasn’t as perfect as I had hoped but it was still exciting to see this modern adaptation to the franchise. The film keeps it’s classic “who done it” attitude and makes sure to keep viewers guessing who’s behind the mask.

Isa Morgan, Reporter


“Scream” is back on the big screen with the newest addition of the fifth movie. The film was released on Jan. 14 and brings back original actors, Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox and David Arquette, while also introducing new actors like Jenna Ortega and Dylan Minnette to the cast. If I am going to be honest, my hopes weren’t set too high for this film, and that’s probably where they should’ve been. While I’m a huge fan of the “Scream” movies, I know that none of these sequels will ever compare to the original, and this film proved that thesis.

The movie starts off just like every other “Scream” movie with a “first kill” scene, except this time the victim, Tara Carpenter, played by Jenna Ortega, survives the attack from the Ghostface killer. The film goes on to the familiar theme of “who done it?” trying to figure out who our killer is and what their motives are, but instead of having our original characters solve the mystery, the torch has been passed down to these new characters. The film keeps many of the familiar traits of a true “Scream” movie, having multiple killers, using phones to communicate with the killer and great one-liners, but something about this film felt different. 

The movie was a lot more dramatic and focused more on family relationships rather than the fact that there was a killer on the loose. When they revealed that Sam Carpenter, Tara’s older sister, was actually the daughter to the original Ghostface Killer, Billy Loomis, I felt as though this twist was just another way to try and cling to the originals and was too much of a reach. This also created a petty relationship between Tara and Sam that I felt wasn’t needed and instead had me annoyed every time this was mentioned on-screen. I did appreciate that this wasn’t the only call back to the previous movies and that there were many more mentions to the originals.

The callbacks of minor characters like officer Hicks returning, pretending to be the victim in the same way killers in past films did, returning to Stu Matcher’s house (one of the main killers from the original “Scream”) and reenacting the final scene from the first movie were just some of the references from past sequels that were sprinkled into this film. Most of the references to previous films had me slapping my friend saying, “holy —-!” but sometimes I found myself asking if this was a new movie or the same Scream I’ve already seen. I know that the theme of these references was that “everything comes back to where it started” but at some points, the film didn’t really feel like a new movie. Although, it wasn’t required for the audience to binge-watch the entire “Scream” franchise before you watched this new adaptation to understand these callbacks, at some points, it was a nice treat for fans who did manage to catch these references and acted as an easy way into figuring out who was behind the mask. 

Along with hidden references to past movies, they also carried over deeper plots like the romance between the now-retired sheriff Dewey Riley and news reporter Gale Weathers, which was shown to have broken off from the last time we saw them in the fourth movie. Even with this roadblock, the characters, including Sydney Prescott, still interact the same way they always have. It made it feel like there was no time lost between them and added a sense of familiarity in this new cast of characters. The fact these memorable characters still have this close bond makes it even harder to deal with the- STOP READING NOW IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN IT- death of Dewey. Although it was SUCH a sad moment, his heroic death felt needed. After all these fetal injures he endures in every movie, I don’t feel as though he could’ve taken “another hit” and having his death in this movie felt right in order to properly pass the torch down to this new cast of characters. Overall, I wasn’t disappointed about his death and instead felt a sense of satisfaction.

Another thing they carried over was the original Ghostface costume, which I was very pleased with. In the MTV television series, by the same name, they changed the look of the mask, and honestly, it made the series feel like something completely new. Keeping the same mask in the movies after over 20 years really helps with connecting these installments to the original without exaggerating the need to connect back, like some of the other references.

Overall, this movie wasn’t the best, but I didn’t expect much from a “Scream” sequel. Nothing will compare to the first movie, but as a fan of these films, I’ve accepted this fact and been satisfied that they haven’t strayed too far from the original theme. These new movies, although not being as great as the first, still have the perfect amount of “who done it?,” blood and killing to make a decent slasher film. As a stand-alone horror movie, they do a great job of including all the right elements into the film, while also giving that original flare by including the mystery of who’s behind the mask, leading me to give this film a seven out of 10 “What’s your favorite scary movies?”