With Halloween rapidly approaching, the first trailer for the fifth Scream movie was recently released and I must say, I found myself pleasantly surprised. While I had some hesitations over the continuation of the franchise following the death of its original director, the legendary Wes Craven, the fact that it was being helmed by Radio Science Productions, being directed by Matt Bettinelli-Oplin and Tyler Gillet. The company have previously worked on a segment of the first V/H/S (2012), the underrated horror anthology Southbound (2015) and the hilariously dark Ready or Not (2019).
The trailer brings together franchise veterans Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, David Arquette and Roger L. Jackson, along with some fresh new faces, such as Jenna Ortega and Mikey Madison, who add new rules to the horror movie survival code. Though the initial synopsis offered, with final girl favourite Sidney Prescott (Campbell) returning to her hometown of Woodsboro to investigate a bloody new string of murders initiated by the iconic Ghostface is derivative, the tense string soundtrack and quick cuts designate a tonal shift from the previous films and accompanying television series, which verged on self-parody and a welcome return to straightforward horror. Ghostface in particular, is genuinely intimidating, being shown in one scene materializing behind a male victim opening his car.
This is best demonstrated in a scene which both homages and updates the infamous opening of the original 1996 film with Drew Barrymore, through adding a voice-automated security system, which remains ironically oblivious to the peril of Ghostface’s latest doomed victim as she frantically attempts to escape. It reminds us of how the first film breathed new life into the stagnated horror genre with both cutting-edge postmodern self-awareness and scares. Hopefully, this installment can continue to do the same.