Scream 5 Will Have You Screaming in Frustration

Dylan Zorn

Ten and a half years after the Ghostface killer terrorized the town of Westboro, Calif., a new unidentified killer has obtained the Ghostface mask, the sign of the town’s infamous murderer. Continuing the tradition, the new antagonist begins targeting and killing a group of teenagers, motivated by a desire to uncover secrets from the town’s deadly past. The murderer remains unknown for the majority of the film; however, viewers are honed into a group of teenagers that all have some level of suspicion to them due to their connections to the killer. 

Facing the camera, the unidentified Ghostface killer plans his next attack in the hallways of Woodsboro High School (Photo courtesy of Pocket-lint)

After the director of the first four “Scream” movies, Wes Craven, passed away, the new directors, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett faced an immense amount of pressure to deliver a masterpiece that would continue the legacy of the “Scream” series. It is safe to say that they undersold. 

From the get-go, the movie is extremely cheesy and follows a very typical horror movie plotline, in which multiple characters are put against impossible odds and an antagonist that seems impossible to stop. This antagonist is present in the opening scene, which shows Tara Carpenter, played by Jenna Ortega, making food in her kitchen as she is home alone for the evening. The phone rings from the kitchen counter, immediately bringing the audience back to the same spine chilling introductions that are present in the previous four “Scream” movies. Carpenter reluctantly picks up the phone from the unknown number, and is awaited by the mysterious caller who wants to “play a game.” The game begins, and Carpenter is challenged to answer a set of questions about the fictional movie “Slab.” After one wrong answer, the Ghostface threatens to break into the house and stab Carpenter multiple times. 

From the halls of high school to the basements of their homes, the victims face similar encounters with the unidentified killer. However, the main theme of the movie is the interactions between the Ghostface killer and its next victim. These encounters, however,  become extremely predictable and repetitive as the movie progresses. The viewers are left anticipating an event that is dragging on for far too long. 

On a positive note, multiple characters such as Sidney Prescott, Dewey Riley and Judy Hicks are reintroduced from previous “Scream” movies, yet their appearances do not make up for the bland plot of the film. “Scream” fanatics are left extremely disappointed, as Sidney Prescott, who although being the protagonist of the first four “Scream” movies, had little screen time and importance in “Scream 5.” 

Another characteristic that establishes “Scream” as being a dismal movie is the visual effects created by cinematographer Brett Jutkiewicz. These visuals are extremely lousy for a movie that had over a 24 million dollar budget. In nearly every attack by Ghostface, the blood is a very light red color and every character attacked loses far too little blood for the effects to look realistic. Additionally, the lighting in many of the scenes is very abysmal, as the setting is often not bright enough for viewers to be able to distinguish what is happening. 

Jenna Ortega, who plays Tara Carpenter, on the phone with the Ghostface killer in the opening scene (Photo courtesy of JoBlo)

There is talk about a sixth “Scream” coming out, and if the directors want to leave a better impression on “Scream” fanatics, they need to create a much better storyline for the upcoming movie. Giving loved characters such as Stu Macher and Sidney Prescott more screen time and substance to the movie is certainly something that fans will want if the “Scream” series continues. 

Overall, “Scream 5” is a movie that follows a very tacky plotline and has poor graphic effects. Millions of fans went into the movie with high expectations, and were not satisfied. “Scream” buffs should look beyond this movie and hope that this movie is simply a bump in the road of a very celebrated series.