The new movie is a scream — let’s dive into the twists and turns!
10 years after the last film and a good 25 years since the original “Scream”, Ghostface is back in theaters this weekend with a vengeance.
While titled simply “Scream,” the new movie is the fifth in the franchise — and the first installment to be directed by someone other than Wes Craven, who sadly passed away in 2015. This time around it’s “Ready or Not” filmmakers Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett behind the camera, working from a script by James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick. It’s not all newcomers though, as stars Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette all reprise their roles from the earlier movies — while Kevin Williamson, who wrote the first two films and the fourth, is on board as executive producer.
The new movie once again brings the series back to Woodsboro and offers up new commentary on the horror genre and how its evolved — or, considering the recent trend of reboots and “requels,” returned to past — over the last decade. It’s a bloody good time, tapping into what made the earlier movies so great while introducing a new crop of characters and, hopefully, reinvigorating the franchise for future films.
Before getting into all the good stuff, however, here’s one final spoiler warning. We’ll be digging deep into the new movie’s biggest twists and turns — as well as the final killer reveal — below. So if you haven’t watched it yet, STOP reading right now.
For those who have … let’s start, where else, at the very beginning.
The Opening Kill … or Lack Thereof!
The original “Scream” movie shocked audiences everywhere by killing off big star Drew Barrymore in the first five minutes — and that opener set a precedent for the rest of the franchise.
The second film’s iconic opening took out Mekhi Phifer and Jada Pinkett Smith at a “Stab” screening, “Scream 3” offed Liev Schreiber’s Cotton Weary, while “Scream 4” had two fakeout openings featuring Lucy Hale, Shenae Grimes, Kristen Bell and Anna Paquin as “Stab” sequel characters before Ghostface brutally butchered both Aimee Teegarden and Britt Robertson.
So it should come as a surprise to many that while Jenna Ortega’s Tara Carpenter gets sliced and diced before the title card slashes onto the screen, she doesn’t actually die.
Like Drew’s Casey Becker in the OG, she gets a phone call from Ghostface and is tasked with answering some truly meta horror trivia, like naming the killer in the original “Stab” movie … which, of course, was based on the events of the first “Scream.” After getting an answer wrong — she only remembers Billy Loomis, forgetting Stu Macher — the masked killer breaks into her home and cuts her up royally.
But shortly after we learn Tara is still alive and in the hospital, her attack being the catalyst for her estranged sister Sam to return to Woodsboro. In a franchise first, the opening girl actually achieves Final Girl status and lives through the closing credits.
What the Original Three Have Been Up to Since Scream 4
It’s been a decade since we last checked in with Sidney, Gale and Dewey … and man, have things changed. Since they appear on screen first, let’s start with Dewey and Gale.
While they were in a bit of a rut in the fourth film, Gale and Dewey apparently stayed together at least a little bit longer. In fact, we learn Dewey agreed to move to NYC after Gale got a cushy job hosting a morning television show. But he just couldn’t cut it there, they split and he moved back to Woodsboro. Though she continued to thrive, he turned to the bottle and was eventually asked to resign from the police department.
Sidney, however, seemed to be living the good life far from her hometown. It’s revealed she married a man named Mark … who is most likely Mark Kincaid, aka Patrick Dempsey’s cop character from “Scream 3.” The two share kids together and Sid’s even seen pushing a stroller when she first appears on screen. While Dewey warns her about the killings and Sidney vows to never return to her hometown, a shocking death changes everything.
Cue the tears: Dewey’s Death
After Randy’s death in “Scream 2,” it seemed like anyone was fair game for Ghostface going forward. But somehow Gale, Dewey and Sidney all kept surviving … until now.
It’s Dewey who first alerts both Sid and Gale of the murders, before helping the new crop of teenagers unmask the killer among them. Having lived through four of these sprees in the past, he imparts some of his knowledge about the “rules” of survival to the new kids.
Eventually, Gale shows up in town to check in on him — and, of course, report on the latest murders herself — and the two have a cathartic moment acknowledging why they didn’t work out, while still expressing nothing but love and respect for each other.
But then Dewey goes and helps Sam and Tara, who are in peril by Ghostface at the local hospital. After putting up a good fight and unloading a clip into the killer, Dewey doubles back to make sure they were really dead and fire an additional bullet into their head. That proved to be a deadly decision, as Ghostface reveals their bulletproof vest before killing Deputy Dewey once and for all. It was a hero’s death — one that also broke Gale’s heart and made it impossible for Sidney to not return to Woodsboro to comfort her.
Going into the movie, we all knew Gale, Dewey and Sidney would return — but one face we did not expect to see was Billy Loomis’!
That’s right, Skeet Ulrich is back and de-aged as viewers learn Sam Carpenter is actually the daughter of Billy and a high school classmate he apparently cheated on Sidney with back in the day. Up until she was 13, she thought the man who raised her was her father, until she found her mom’s diary revealing the truth. When she confronted her mother about it, she let her dad in on the secret in the process and he ran out on the family. Sam rebelled against her mom and authorities throughout her teen years, before leaving town without ever telling her sister Tara the truth.
As she’s pulled back to Woodsboro, Sam is seen taking anti-psychotics and having visions of her dead dad, still wearing the white t-shirt he was wearing when he died. Not only does he keep appearing, but he also tries tempting her to embrace her dark side.
Sam wasn’t the only character with ties to the previous movies. Kyle Gallner’s Vince was a relative of Stu’s, Marley Shelton returned as Deputy Hicks and brought son Wes (Dylan Minnette) along with her, while Mason Gooding and Jasmin Savoy Brown’s Chad and Mindy Meeks-Martin are the nephew and niece of Randy Meeks, respectively. Heather Matarazzo also reprised her “Scream 3” role as Martha Meeks, Randy’s sister and Chad and Mindy’s mom.
There are also a few Easter eggs confirming that Hayden Panettiere’s fan favorite character from “Scream 4,” Kirby Reed made it out alive. At one point, you see a YouTube video titled “Interview with Survivor Kirby Reed,” while her number also appears in Dewey’s phone.
Miley Madison’s Amber Freeman, meanwhile, lives in Stu’s home, where the big finale of the first movie took place.
Like the original film, the third act of the new movie takes place at the old Macher residence, following yet another high school party.
While Tara, Sam and her boyfriend Richie planned to flee town, Tara lost her inhaler, leading to a pitstop at Amber’s before hitting the road. Sidney and Gale showed up soon after as well, after the former put a tracker on the trio’s car.
The film does a great job of making Tara a red herring by first making her survive the open, before becoming the reason Sam returned home, Dewey ended up at the hospital and everyone wound up at Amber’s. But she wasn’t behind the mask — that honor goes to both Amber and Richie.
The two are “Stab” superfans pissed off at the sad state of the franchise, which had devolved into a silly slasher with almost no ties to the original. A commentary on toxic fandom, the two met on a “Stab” subreddit and decided the best way to invigorate the franchise was to give filmmakers some bloody new, real-life inspiration. Knowing Sam’s true parentage, they planned to frame her, hoping to set up a film where the daughter of the original killer followed in her dad’s bloody footprints.
Despite getting stabbed and shot themselves a few times, Gale and Sidney are able to turn the tables on Amber, while Sam and Tara team up to take out Richie. Sam appears to embrace some of her dad’s darkness after getting the upper hand on Richie — stabbing him more times than anyone would ever need to be stabbed, killing him. She also unloads a clip on Amber, who pops up for one last scare.
Gale, Sidney, Tara and Sam all survive, as do both Chad and Mindy Meeks-Martin — who were left for dead by the killers. Should this movie make enough money to warrant another installment — and fingers crossed it does — the question remains who would return.
At this point, it does feel unlikely that Campbell’s Sidney would step away from her family life again and put herself in danger for another spree. We also don’t really want to see her become an opening kill — Sid is a survivor and should stay that way. It makes more sense for Gale — always wanting to be in the thick of things as a cutthroat reporter — to pop up and cover the murders wherever the next potential sequel could take them. Sam, Tara, Mindy and Chad, who — judging by reviews and early social media reactions — are already becoming fan favorites and the idea of them taking over as leads going forward feels like a no-brainer.
“Scream” is in theaters now.