REVIEW: ‘Scream’ is a clever and entertaining horror movie

If you’re in the mood for a mid-January horror flick, the new revival of “Scream” is actually a smart and horrifying slasher flick.

It’s been all the rage in recent years for reviving movie franchises by bringing back old actors and pairing them with a new story and new cast. “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” and “The Matrix Resurrections” are just two examples from the past few months. The new “Scream” – the fifth film in the franchise – does the same thing on review, but at least this movie is having some fun with the idea.

“Scream” is playing in local cinemas, despite being a midwinter horror film.

A new serial killer has taken up the mantle of Ghostface in the town of Woodsboro for another round of bloody murders. So classic franchise characters like Sidney Prescott and Dewey Riley team up with a new group of young people to try to put an end to all the deaths.

First and foremost, the new “Scream” works on its own as a good, brutal slasher movie, if that’s the kind of movie you like. The deaths are bloody and truly gruesome as the villain kills one innocent teenager after another. The mystery of who is behind the mask remains compelling throughout the film, with tensions building up until the grand finale.

If you’re a fan of the franchise and slasher movies in general, “Scream” should appeal to you. It’s confident in its use of the genre and delivers the expected gore in spades.

Second, and most importantly, the new “Scream” is very, very self-aware, and it adds an extra level of intelligence. The first “Scream” movie, released in 1996, stood out from the pack by having its characters recognize the rules and tropes of Hollywood slasher movies. The killer loved horror movies and he taunted his victims with the unwritten rules of horror movies.

The new “Scream” follows this similar idea and updates it for the revival. This time the characters in the movie know the rules of all these movie reshoots, so they set out to make one. Likewise, the filmmakers know what audiences are going to think of a franchise revival these days, and they’re leaning into that as well. The result is a pretty fun twist on the killer’s motivations and the direction of the film in general.

It’s this intelligence and self-awareness that helps the new “Scream” stand out from other slasher movie sequels. Nobody may have been clamoring for a new “Scream” movie, but at least when Hollywood did anyway, it went pretty well.

For more, check out the #SentinelCinema podcast on this film at: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/scream/id1495021878?i=1000548621459