A good return of the franchise I both like and dislike.
The opening scene is the same as the first, but is done well without trying to remake it. Jenna Ortega does a terrific job with her performance. She gets driven by this repeated ringing house phone and is now going to experience hell. She does it as equally well as Drew Barrymore in the original. It is a good thing she survived the stab wounds. I felt her fear and felt her pain when she got stabbed and got her leg broken. I rooted for her all the way when she wheeled around in a wheelchair and in crutches.
Sam Carpenter (Melissa Barrera) and Tara (Jenna Ortega) are the heart and soul of the entire film. They are there to look after each other after an attack by you-know-who. They get developed overtime when keeping secrets from one and other. They give excellent performances. The emotions and pain made me root for them.
The legacy characters are back to help the new characters to face the trauma one more time. Neve Campbell continues to shine as Sidney Prescott. She has changed and is now more confident to face this killer and is never shying away from him anymore. She doesn't have a huge screen-time, but she does serve a purpose is to basically become a warrior against her nemesis.
Dewey is back but in more of a different personality. Dewey was a comic relief that I grew to love throughout the franchise. In this one, he is now taken this role seriously and wanting to put him down once and for all.
Gale Weathers was the highlight of the Scream franchise. Courtney Cox continues to have the same personality traits of a tough news reporter. She may not have an arc, but her goal is to just take this guy out until he is finally put down.
The direction from Matt Bettinelli-Olpin & Tyler Gillett is well done. The use of cinematography style, conversations, and decision-making make the film improve better.
I like how this one continued to talk about horror films from the 2010s in a way of how the genre has changed overtime.
I like the blood and gore FX for the film. They really pumped up the graphic nature to satisfy the '18' category. In the first four, there was graphic violence, but it was mostly non-explicit bloody stabbings and there was hardly any gore. Here, a man gets severely cut open, a young man gets stabbed in the neck, another man gets stabbed in the side of the neck and was killed in that way that I felt was a clever way to kill someone without stabbing them further, a woman gets stabbed many times in the chest, a young woman is set on fire with pretty laughable blended in fire, and a man gets stabbed 20 times which reminded me of Last of Us when Elie slashes a man. The film knows when to be disturbing when we root for the hero to take out the sadist and we want to see that sadist get killed.
The whole hospital sequence I love all the way. Halloween II (1981) was set in a hospital from start to finish and it was non-stop suspense. This one was just as suspenseful as Halloween II in my opinion. It started out quiet and after a brutally mangled man shown on the floor, it starts from there to the attack where Ghostface will never give up. This whole scene is the highlight.
My biggest problem with the film overall is the false scares. There didn't need to be suspenseful music when someone opens a door. When someone friendly face appears right next to them, there didn't need to be a loud music note. That is the problem with today's horror films. If the music was left out, that would be more scary and make the audience's heart beat fast rather than having the music to do that for us.
Sam's friends don't always get developed. They are just there to give out jokes and get killed. Chad did get some laughs out of me. I think he was amusing at times, but tries to be like Dewey. I like Mindy because she reminded me of what made Randy stood out and I love the scene where she talked about how films are connected, related, what they had in common, etc. I loved Randy because he was so smart and amusing and everyone didn't always take him seriously. Mindy was the Randy of the modern times and they both have similar sounding names with the part "ndy" and a vowel in the middle. Good thing we have nerds on planet Earth. I wish Wes was given more time. I liked how his mother was a police officer and a mother and son collaboration would make some laughs here and there to balance the horror, but they were wasted too early on with nice stabbing FX. This is a film in which we watch mostly for the legacy characters such as Sidney Prescott and Gale Weathers, sadly not for the newer characters which is a shame.
The pacing is a bit of an issue. Some of the characters don't do anything interesting but fill in the gaps. It didn't need to have the same run time as the first four. It seemed a bit too fast. Vince's death scene was way too fast paced and wished it was more slower to make it suspenseful, but the suspense was lacking. I felt the whole scene lasted a whole minute.
This one was more serious rather than funny. The Scream franchise satirises horror films in terms of references. There wasn't a lot of jokes that hit and sometimes literally don't pop up. It was an interesting turn, but the Scream franchise had comedy to blend in within its substance. The franchise had a lot to say about horror films and using them to survive reality situations. Film is a great and an easily useful tool for making us learning lessons from these victims that "you shouldn't go here, you shouldn't do this or do that", etc. This one had little substance in terms of twists and turns and character arcs.
The twist reveals that Richie and Amber caused all of this. They are the lovers who killed a lot of people. Amber reminded me of an Emmy Rossum lookalike. I did not see it coming when Amber shot a red-head in a quick span of time. I like how it is repeating what the original did with Billy and Stu as two killers without trying to remake it or make it too similar. This one did it good. I didn't see it coming when she turned. Dewey foreshadowed earlier that a boyfriend would likely to become involved in the killings and there would be more than one killer. The set up was Richie thinking not all boyfriends are likely to get involved, and the pay off was that Richie was involved.
I liked how the climax was set in the same house as the first film. I didn't see it coming until I slowly recognised the interiors that were just the same, but with a lot of differences. I do feel this one was a bit too similar to the first one and not always trying something new.
The fact that Sam is Billy Loomis' daughter makes no sense. I wish that was written in heavy detail just to expand the universe. Who did Billy date before he dated Sidney? Did he not tell anybody about his past lover? This was the same problem with Rise of Skywalker. Rei turned out to be Emperor Palpatine's granddaughter, but that had no affect on the story. It never changed the impact of the whole franchise. Same with this one because it doesn't connect together well. If Sam was written as just either Billy's niece (so that Billy's backstory could be expanded and to reveal he did have a family before this began) or just a stand-alone character, that would be fine.
Overall, not as good as the first, but somewhat better than 3 and 4 from what I remembered. I enjoyed this one a lot. It had some of the best cinematography for a horror film, amazing blood and gore FX, great performances, and well foreshadowed twists and turns.