• by Wes Singleton

Scream - B

Rated R, 114 minutes

Well, I think Wes would be proud. Not me, but the late horror film master Wes Craven, who directed the first four "Scream" films. The new "Scream," which comes over 25 years after the original (and is dedicated to Craven), shows some signs of wear and tear, but it's still terrific, bloody fun and a solid return to form for the franchise, which has lagged with its last couple of sequels.


Twenty-five years after a streak of brutal murders shocked the quiet town of Woodsboro, Calif., a new killer dons the Ghostface mask and begins targeting a new group of teenagers to resurrect secrets from the town's deadly past. Dewey (David Arquette) is back to help the mysterious Sam (Melissa Barrera) and her sister Tara ("Jane the Virgin's" Jenna Ortega), who have a connection to the previous Woodsboro murders. It doesn't take long before Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell, ageless and still tough) and TV news reporter Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox) arrive back in Woodsboro to help put a permanent stop to the killings.


Sidney, Dewey, Gale, Ghostface and even Billy Loomis (yes, that's Skeet Ulrich in ghostly form) all return as old friends do, bringing back a load of '90's nostalgia and a whole new killing spree. Based on Kevin Williamson's original characters, this iteration of "Scream" is co-directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, and co-written by James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick, some of whom were responsible for the fun horror film "Ready or Not" a few years ago. As one character wryly explains, this is a "requel," a combination sequel and reboot, with a mix of "legacy" characters (is that they call us when we're old now - "legacy?") and new characters and plot that all tie back to the original.


That said, the mix of old and new makes for an energetic, bloody time, though the predictable, simplistic script lacks some originality, after 25 years it's still a big knife, an iconic mask and lots of blood. Unsurprisingly, this new "Scream" also provides some pretty obvious, in-front-of-your-nose-clues to easily piece together. The original 1996 film, which started out as a fun homage and sort-of-satire to slasher films, has ironically become its own self-aware, nostalgic brand; even some of this film's current cast have connections to the '90's-Jack Quaid (son of Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan and star of "The Boys") and Mason Gooding (son of Oscar-winner Cuba Gooding Jr. and star of such films as "Booksmart") play prominent roles here.


With its twinges of predictability and derivativeness, "Scream" is entertaining and killer fun, particularly its unhinged climax that takes place in one of the original "Scream" homes. I won't spoil anything here, but not everyone makes it out alive, but I still found it satisfying that it proudly shines a light on contemporary feminism: Campbell's Sidney still kicks butt, someone you'd want on your side in a street fight.


If you're a fan of horror films, the "Scream" franchise, '90's nostalgia, or all the above, you'll want to check out the new "Scream." You'll make Wes (as in Craven, and maybe me too) proud you did.