S1: The following podcast
S2: contains explicit language.
S3: I want to tell you my secret, now I seek. Soylent Green is people.
S4: No, I am far.
S3: What’s in the box?
S4: You know, you’re blowing up. Damn you all day.
S2: Hello and welcome to Slate’s spoiler specials. I’m Jeffery Bloomer, the features editor of Slate, I run the human interest section. Today, I’m joined by Slate Senior Editor Sam Adams. Hi Sam, Hello! And Slate’s national editor and the host of one year Josh Levin I Josh. Hello, Jeff. Today we are spoiling Scream, which is actually Scream five, but they, as is the fashion these days, have decided only to call it by the original title. And I am a huge fan of these movies and happen since I was a teenager, and this movie specifically and fairly mercilessly makes fun of fans of these movies that have been watching them for as long as I have. So before we get started, let’s do what we always do here, since we’re here to talk about the plot and not review. First, tell me what you did, what you guys thought of the movie, and also tell me how you think it raised compared to the other screen sequels. Do you want to start Sam?
S3: As for how it ranks compared to the other screen sequels, I guess I would say I remember it. So in between two and four, I saw the first one when it came out and made a huge impression on me. I have seen the other one since then and I have enough of a memory of them that I when I reread the summaries, they sort of ring a bell, but they are definitely not sort of stuck in my mind, I think. I mean, we’ll get into how tied to all the other ones this is, but it is to a certain extent, mostly dependent on the first one, which I appreciated. I have not been steeping myself in the law and certainly just not, in my opinion, measure up to the first one at all. But it’s pretty good. I guess I’m not sorry that I went to a movie theater and saw it, which is still the only way to do that currently.
S1: From the Sam Adams, did you remember it scale? I would say it definitely outranks Scream three and four, as I learned, maybe halfway through this that I hadn’t actually seen those I thought that I had. But for some reason I had it. And then when I went home and read the Wikipedia plot summaries, it was definitely confirmed that I hadn’t seen them because they sounded extremely complicated and convoluted. Scream two I remember liking at the time, and I do still remember the opening scene in the movie theater, which I think was was great and the original Scream Like You, Jeff was pretty formative for me. It got me interested in horror movies, and I would agree with Sam that this one does not compare. But it was really for the fans. For people like Jeff Bloomer Josh.
S2: I’m pretty sure that you reviewed Scream four and Slate magazine in 2011, so just putting that out there.
S1: OK, well, you know you caught me. I didn’t actually go see it. That was somebody under a pseudonym. I’m going to look that up because maybe my memory is worse than I thought it was.
S2: Well, that’s the reason that I wanted you to come on here so bad because I felt like you have been slayed. Scream corresponded for like a decade or more, maybe 20 years.
S1: The movie was even less memorable than than we thought it was.
S2: So I’m a fan of Scream four, but I won’t go into that here. I basically agree with you. I thought it was a little worse than Scream two, but like, surprisingly decent, especially as the first movie with neither the writer and director of the original, the movie is involved. So I guess we should get to the task at hand. This movie opens as all of them do, and in a house with a young woman who is alone to some degree or another, I suppose one of the mothers in a movie theater and she starts getting phone calls. And the voice on the other line initially is not very menacing and pretends to be her mother’s boyfriend. The house is worth noting looks a fair bit like Casey Barker’s house and the original scream. It’s quite obvious that they’re sort of directly trying to tie it to. That sequence is the most pure version of that we’ve had since the original movie. Eventually, the conversation turns more menacing and the killer, while the person on the phone anyway asked her if she wants to play a game and she says no, he wants to play stabbed trivia. And if you recall, Stab is the adaptation of the events of Scream with it and the Scream World, and she doesn’t want to play that game because she’s a snob about Sam. She’s she’s seen maybe the first one only. I think there are eight now in this world at a sleepover, and she wants to be asked about the witch, about The Babadook and other elevated horror movies, and maybe some of the funniest lines in the movie. How does that go for her Josh?
S1: Well, she’s able to answer some of the easier questions. The ones that I think even people who aren’t super familiar with the Scream franchise are people who are familiar but have forgotten that they’ve seen Scream for like me. She knows that Heather Graham was the actress in the movie within a movie. Then there is another question that was pretty easy and standard issue. Gale Weathers. I think she knows that the name of Courtney Cox’s character, but she gets stumped on the final question, although she thinks that she knows it, which is identifying the killers, plural, from the original script.
S2: Yes, and when that doesn’t happen, the usual things commence. If there’s a twist in the opening, it’s that when she goes to open the front door and escape, the killer is already there and like stabs her right away. And then there’s some kind of somewhat dated bits about her using her cell phone to lock the door, and this person seems to have her cell phone cloned or whatever and can unlock the door. But pretty short order, she’s being stabbed to death on the floor of her kitchen quite brutally, even by the standards of Scream movies, is getting stabbed through the hand and all this other stuff that seems a little bit sadistic. But you know, the Drew Barrymore sequence wasn’t exactly like either, and we get the scream and scream. And then right after that, we cut to outside of Wood’s burrow. And there’s something surprising reveal that right away, that’s never happened in the beginning. After a screening of a Scream movie and what is that Sam?
S3: We find out that, in fact, terribly by Jenna Ortega has not been killed by Ghostface, who apparently has not been watching the staff movies closely enough, and she was informed of this through her older sister, Sam, who is played by Melissa Barrera recently of In the Heights, who has been gotten the fuck out of town, basically, which seems like a smart thing to do if you come from Woodsboro. But because her sister is now, you know, near death in the hospital decides to come back and bring her boyfriend with her. And that sort of gets the whole friend group together, which is we know not only know from the previous movies, but we are of course, reminded by a character in this movie is a crucial part of any scream slash stab movie that there is a friend group at the beginning and the killer is going to be drawn from among those people.
S2: Yeah, so run. There’s a lot that goes on in this hospital scene that reveals what’s sort of going on in this movie, but talk to us about who the friend group are. So there’s there’s Sam Carpenter and Tara Carpenter on the nose, as always, their boyfriend Ritchie, who is played by who I believe is Dennis Quaid son. And then there’s Liv, who is like, sort of looks like she’s thirty one of the group. And then Wes Hicks, who is the son of Sheriff Hicks, who you may or may not recall from Scream four, is that everybody?
S3: Oh, we also have the twins. I guess they’re Chad and Mindy Meeks Barton, played by Mason Goode and Jasmine Sam Brown, who again, if you remember the first movie are the niece and nephew of Randy Meeks, Jamie Kennedy’s character from the first movie. And then you have Amber Freeman, played by Mikey Madison, who was last seen, I think, getting lit up by Leonardo DiCaprio as one of the Manson murderers at the end of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which is, as we will get to, is just a thing that happens to her in movies now.
S2: Yes. So the scene is all in the hospital and it’s like there’s like a big problem between the sisters and one of them felt abandoned by the other, and we start to understand that the elder sister is hiding something. Josh, do you want to walk through that?
S1: So there’s like an initial hospital scene, and then I think there’s a second hospital scene in which she tells her what the big family secret is, which is that the older sister Sam goes into the attic one day when she’s like 13, I think, and finds her mom’s high school diary a classic rite of passage for any teen figuring out what their parents were like. Around the same age are a little older. What this teenager’s mother was was impregnated by one of the killers from the original Scream. Billy Loomis, who was played by Skeet Ulrich, who is Ghost Skeet Ulrich in this movie. And so the older sister Sam lays all of this out to the younger sister and explains that when she found out about this, she confronted her mom that the person she thought was her dad wasn’t her dad, that her dad was actually the serial killer. When she broke the news to her mom, her not biological dad was actually in the room, and he found out at the same time. And so reading the diary revealing this family secret broke up, her family led the older sister to a life of juvenile delinquency. She had never told the younger sister about it. That’s why she left town. That’s why the younger sister felt abandoned. It was Skeet Ulrich and ghost skier Ulrich who was hunting there, their family.
S2: Yeah, and we really can’t talk enough about ghosts get rich. When the screening, when I saw it, which is actually sort of a figment of Sam’s imagination, it seems like she might be on antipsychotics and have some of her father’s traits. And he shows up in like a bathroom sequence in like a d aged like kind of a zombie looking performance. And like the theater, the bear, I saw it and is like, absolutely lost their shit. The second came out because everybody you talk about van servers, it was really something. What did you think about all of that Sam?
S3: Yeah. As someone who remembers the first movie, it’s hard for me to see him, and I was kind of, I mean, the de-aging thing is not or, you know, sort of spooky floating ghosts or whatever it is, he looks like it’s not something you. Acted C in a Scream movie. These movies are for sort of all their references to kind of the more, you know, supernatural trending sort of sub tributary of the slasher genre, you’re Halloweens and such. They’re very material, and all the stuff that seems to be mysterious or inexplicable always turned out to be a very concrete answers. Was definitely like a weird thing to see in this and is one of the, I guess, one of the things that underlines that this is not in fact, like, you know, just sort of a reboot of the original and not of the original people that are involved. That is one of the things that pushes it in, like just a little bit of a different direction. There isn’t a ton of that, and I think it’s hard. One of the things that’s tricky about this movie for me is this is a movie that kind of tries to do what screamed it to the movies before it to just add like another layer of meta and turning it on itself, self-consciousness. And there’s that’s kind of a difficult thing to do. You can sort of only do it once.
S1: The thing that struck me about Gursky, it was and I’m curious if you guys agree this does not seem like a thing that the movie was being kind of self-conscious or engaging in meta commentary about. Like, it didn’t seem like necessarily the filmmakers wanted us to laugh at it and think that it was ridiculous. And also, it was one of a couple of things in the movie that I felt like they were setting us up for something that didn’t ultimately pay off. Because then a movie like this, when the main character is like having visions and hallucinations that pay off is typically, oh, like what we’re seeing as the audience on the screen maybe isn’t reality. Like it comes out. Like, maybe she was, you know, she is two people or like, you know, all the dumb kind of classic tropes of the genre. But then it turns out like that hurt. Seeing visions of her dead serial killer father is ultimately like, doesn’t betray any sort of like unreliable narration in the movie. It’s just like, Go get all Ritchie is just like hanging out sometimes.
S2: Yeah, I mean, it’s part of the text a little because she does mention her medications and everything, and I think that it’s playing into which we can talk about in a minute how this movie to say way overplays its hand. I’m like making everyone seem like a suspect. Like, that’s obviously a joke and all of the Scream movies. But this one, it’s like done to the point where it’s like meaningless by the end who it ends up in because it’s like such like a roulette. It’s like possibilities. I think you’re right, though, that this that wasn’t really playing necessarily into that layer like this isn’t the first time there were ghosts in screen, like Sydney’s ghost mom showed up in Scream three.
S1: I’m so glad you’re here, Geoff, so you can remind us of these things.
S2: I’ve seen these a for has journey times. I guess I thought that this one worked a little better as like a nod fans. And it was funny. Like there was a final appearance by Skeet at the end of the movie that we’ll talk about later. That was like a genuine like laugh out loud kind of deal, and the Scream is not always laugh out loud funny. Usually it’s more like a snicker, and this movie has some real laugh lines.
S3: I thought it worked for me, too, as a sort of reference to, you know, this isn’t a movie that is like just interested in the Scream or the Stab franchise, but is really very interested, you know, very much about my sort of fan culture in general. Like the way that you can remember that the most recent stab movie, the one that all the fans hated in this movie is Stab eight is because it’s directed by Ryan Johnson, also directed the eight Star Wars movie The Last Jedi, which of course, was famously polarizing among Star Wars fans. You know, in that franchise also has its share of sort of goofy regenerating of dead characters and glowy force ghosts and stuff like that. So it almost felt like, you know, Obi-Wan turning up at the end of Return of the Jedi or something like that when when Billy Loomis shows up as this kind of glowy aged whatever in this movie?
S2: Yeah, there’s there’s so many things that we have to get to, but first, we’re going to take a quick break and we’ll be back shortly. OK. To get back to the actual plot here. Meanwhile, will all of this hospital stuff is happening? The group of the new young things congregate at a bar and there’s this sort of creepy dude who’s sitting on one of the women and the group that seem to have been she seem to have dated at some point, but he’s like an older guy. The actor himself is a little bit of an Easter egg within the movie because his name is Carl Goldner, and he was in some of Wes Craven’s lesser recent thrillers and horror movies like My Saw The Take and Read I. Here’s a very brief role because he is almost immediately killed in the parking lot, and we come to find immediately news of his murderer who he actually dies on. Like a lot of people in this movie spreads around and it becomes clear that he was still the original killer’s nephew, I think. So at the same time, we find this out about Stu’s nephew. We’re also learning that Sam is the daughter of Billy Loomis, and so the other sister, Tara, the other sister being targeted. The name of the movie starts to make sense as part of this pattern of the killer targeting people who are related to people from the original movie going back to the original sort of the thing and then Sam, there’s a lot going on, but take us to when they finally do bring back an actual character from the original movie.
S3: The first thing that happens before then. If we lose a couple more sort of present day frame characters who are also connected, we lose a Wes. And his mom is the current Sheriff, Judy Hicks, played by Marley Shelton. This sort of, you know, sort of, I don’t know, spends enough alarm among the survivors. And once they start realizing that all these people are connected to the original crimes, they need to track down somebody sort of connected to the events of the first movie and the person who is still currently in town. Now, a divorced ex sheriff living in a trailer park is Dewey, played once again by David Arquette.
S1: I just read this entire movie as sort of a commentary on that dissolution of David Arquette and Courteney Cox marriage. Really? That’s that that was my takeaway from Scream five, but glad to see that they were able to share the screen together, able to have some lovely moments.
S3: And there’s such a sort of perfect introduction to him, too, because David Arquette has always, you know, since being sort of the goofy deputy Dewey and the first movie, he always had such a sort of like kind of charming leave like hangdog presence here. So here he’s like, you know, divorced, you know, washed up living in a trailer. But the first thing we see is him like watching Gale, who is now basically an anchor of the Today Show in New York. And he’s just, you know, watching her on TV like he does every morning, apparently.
S1: So I’m not a big Star Wars guy, but it seems pretty obvious to me that he is the Harrison Ford slash Han Solo of the Scream series, and he gets brought back in the reboot prequel, whatever we want to call it, and we’re getting a little bit ahead of ourselves, but we can spoil the spoiler. Special heat the same fate befalls him that befell Harrison Ford slash Han Solo in one of the recent Star Wars movies, right, sir.
S3: Yes, and almost exactly the same way, too. He doesn’t get a lightsaber through the chest, but he gets a sort of similarly like disemboweled sendoff in this movie.
S2: Yes, he’s the only character that they brought back in what I thought was actually a meaningful way where they had a lot of presence. Sydney eventually comes back later and Gail, you know, parachutes in to cover the new murder, since it’s sort of her thing. But he actually had sort of a little bit of an arc in this movie, and I’m grateful that they finally killed one of them because it’s beginning a little bit ridiculous. But before Dewey dies, he sort of sets into play sort of the mechanics of them questioning each other and trying to figure out who the killer is. When he meets Sam and Ritchie, he immediately asked Sam how long she’s known Ritchie, and it seems like a joke at the time, but maybe she shouldn’t take it as such a joke. And then he’s sort of like, very begrudgingly agrees to get involved in trying to sleuth out what’s going on here.
S3: Dewey is also the one who sort of has like the equivalent of like the rules speech in this Jasmine side of everyone’s character is sort of like she’s the token sort of cinema nerd in this movie. But Dewey is the one who says, like, look, it’s always somebody from the friend group. You know, your first suspect is always the love interest to a Sam boyfriend, which turns out to be very good advice that they don’t take for a while. So he’s the one who, based on his actual experience of tracking down a serial killer rather than having seen a lot of movies about serial killers. He’s the one who gives them that advice. But of course, you know, one of the things that happens in this universe is there’s the two things always end up being the same kind of movies. Serial killers and the real serial killers are always feed in on each other.
S2: Yeah. And we should say in this, like the scene, they’re throwing a lot of terms around like a brick wall, like a combination of a remake and a sequel. I don’t even know if that’s a real word. I don’t remember anyone saying that. But in any case, there’s these two twins, Mindy and Chad. And it turns out in this scene and one of the movie’s more charming cameos that they’re the nephew, as we mentioned before of Randy Meeks, who. Was the sort of original voice like what’s really happening in a horror movie and Scream and his sister, who appeared in Scream three as sort of a surrogate for him after he was killed in the second movie, appears in this one in a very brief role. What does that actress Jasmine heather moderato
S3: Mod. Yes, from. Welcome to the dollhouse. Yeah, I
S1: was going to say the exact same thing. Like again, either not having seen or not remembering Scream three, the fact that this was a reference to the Scream movies, but I thought I was just like a shout out to the Todd Solondz fans in the audience like, Wow, that’s another matter. So, yes,
S2: I know she played. Yeah, she was Randy’s sister. And so it was, I don’t know, it was a charming moment, the whole, the whole movie. It’s like these scenes play out in a way where it’s like basically as competent at like, the dialogue is pretty fast and funny, but this movie in particular struggles to create any sense of connection with her originality. With this new characters, I felt and that was really starting to settle in here for me, the extent to which these people were mainly there to be killed or not killed as weirdly often the case in this movie.
S1: There’s also a long chunk in the middle of the movie where the new characters are largely abandoned, which I don’t recall exactly how long it was, but it was notable to me and watching it, and I think there is a kind of dispense ability to the new characters, both in terms of that. You know, if you look at the body count but also at screen time, it’s just like, I’m not saying that I necessarily missed them when I wasn’t there, but it didn’t seem like the directors really cared about them either, which, you know, you could tell based on the arc of the plot.
S3: Yeah. I mean, one of the things that made the original Scream work so well for me is it had this, you know what felt very new and fresh at the time sort of meta commentary aspect to it. But it also just worked so well in a really straightforward movie like that opening murder of Drew Barrymore in the first movie. Like, like I remember, like actually making me like sick to my stomach when I watch, it just really shook me, you know, physically
S1: disemboweled and hung in a
S3: tree. Yeah, so it was really, you know, is not like fucking around and, you know, and the characters were sort of clichés or characters or something, but they also had a certain they were these like, memorable. I mean, you’re not going to forget, like Matthew Lillard’s performance in that movie, for example, that I just I don’t think like any of the characters or the actors in this movie are really getting that much to do. And it kind of shows you where where the movie’s interests lie, which is really not in, you know, making you care that these people are eventually getting their guts ripped out.
S2: Yeah, I think that’s totally true and especially the new Scream Queen. I understand that people love this actress, but the Sam character is subfloor, and it just the performance does not register here. The sister, played by Jenny Ortega, I think, is her name, Tara, that has a little bit more of a distinctive thing, and she ends up sort of becoming more the heart of the movie in a weird way, which takes the sense of what the next sequence that we were just referencing, in which Dewey finally meets the knife or meets the knife fatale as his stabbed in pretty much all of these movies there in the hospital. Basically, they’re running to the hospital because the killer tricks the cops from coming over to where the deputy and her son or the sheriff and her son had just been murdered. And so she’s unprotected on this and this hospital floor that she’s all by herself. And so there’s this really kind of brutal sequence where she’s trying to like reel away and her hands that are, like, you know, have been stabbed. It’s like extremely violent. And then they show up and they actually do manage to get away, but not before shooting the killer who shows up and like Dewey just before he’s about to get on the elevator and get out of there with them. It’s like, No, he’s going to come back. I have to go chuck to kill her and then goes to where the killer is lying there and somehow, what is his cell phone rings? Gail’s calling him or something. And that’s enough for the killer to jump up and stab duty to die. And is, like, fairly conclusive. He’s dead. So at least the movie has some nerve. And I have to say last David Arquette for not only being willing to, like, relive his divorce in this like play acting way in which, like famously publicly, he was the one who did not want a divorce, and she did that film Scream four in Ann Arbor. And I was still living there at the time because I was at the University of Michigan and all around town. That was when they were divorcing and all around town, David Arquette was just in smash in bars, and it was so sad because everybody knew what was going on. And for him to come back and play this movie only to be stabbed to death and really bloody fashion. He was a very good sports. Thank you, David Arquette for this performance, and he
S3: doesn’t even he doesn’t even get to see Gail. Very, very poignant.
S2: Let’s pause our conversation for a quick break. OK, welcome back. You may have noticed one person in this movie that we have not talked about at all is Sidney Prescott, played by Nough Campbell, who is in this movie? Not that much. She doesn’t really come back when this all starts. It’s revealed that she has children. She’s walking them on the boardwalk when they call her. She makes a joke about how she has a gun and she Sidney Prescott, and she’ll be fine. But when Dewey is killed, she does come back to Woodsboro and meets with Gail Josh. Do you want to take us ahead with Sid’s return?
S1: Yeah. So there’s a little kind of joke in that Dewey tells both Gail and Sidney not to come back. We obviously know that they are going to come back, and they both inevitably do. There is a little Easter egg, which I only know about because I read it on the internet that Sidney says that she is married to Mark, who apparently is a character played by Patrick Dempsey. And one of the earlier movies which made me think, if you have Patrick Dempsey in a Scream movie and you don’t kill him off, that seems like a huge missed opportunity. But apparently he’s still alive, not seen on screen.
S2: I did not realize that they explicitly acknowledged that he but yeah, he was Mark Kincaid, the detective who says Sidney at the end of Scream three. And I’ll say this. He was at peak hotness Patrick Dempsey. This is like McDreamy era. So it made sense that he lived. Kind of. They were like a cute couple at the end of Scream three. They like are like at a house together and they leave the door open, and it’s meant to say that they moved beyond Ghostface.
S1: It’s referenced in such a way that only the hardcore fans even harder core than Jeff Bloomer apparently would get the reference that she is with Patrick Dempsey. But yeah, she comes back and she sort of like, you know, very sort of self-confident and like, I have been here before. I know what’s happening. I mean, a come in Rakshit, you know, in the classic Sidney Prescott fashion. And I found her performance. And maybe Jeff, you can tell us like this is in keeping with how the character has developed over the series. But I found her performance like, strangely, just like, totally unaffected by anything going around her, just like seeming like pretty blasé about the whole thing, just like unconcerned, unruffled and almost like not taking it seriously, which struck me as a little bit odd. But maybe that’s just like my lack of knowledge of the character.
S2: It was sort of the her vibe and Scream four as well, like in Scream three, as she was Iraq by Scream four, she had written a book about it and like it turned out in Scream four that her likeness was the killer and she like it electrocuted her to death in like a hospital bed with like those paddle things like she like doesn’t give a fuck anymore. But that said, that’s I think that’s a fair criticism. Like, if Halloween has made Laurie Strode into like a crazy militant backwoods like lunatic like Sydney seems like pretty well-adjusted. Comparatively, she’s back, and she’s kind of like trying to, like, connect with the new characters, but it’s really not that interesting. Basically, though, pretty soon after she gets back, we go pretty quickly into the final sequence. Sam Do you want to set that up for us?
S3: Yes. Well, so naturally, Sam and Tara and Sam’s boyfriend, Ritchie have decided once again to go back where they started and get the fuck out of Woodrow so they are on their way out. But they discover, Oh, inconveniently, that terror does not have her inhaler that she needs, so they have to stop by Embers House, where again, for whatever reason, their friends have sort of decided to throw a ranger. So they’re stopping there. And meanwhile, Gale and Sydney are sort of doing their snooping, checking on the kids. They put a gale. Still, these sort of intrepid, ethically shaky reporter has put a tracking device on their car,
S1: actually Sam Sydney as the one who puts the tracker,
S3: Oh my god, I’m sorry, the wrong person ethics. And I apologize. It is. It is at this point that they realize that the house that Amber lives in is the House of Schumacher, the kind of forgotten sort of other killer from the first movie, which tells you, based on the way this movie works, that some shit is going to go down.
S2: Yes, so we get and when they realize this is the house the climax of the original Scream took place, then I neglected to Google to find out if they just, like, use the same house or if they sort of retrofitted some other house to look like it. But it’s like a sort of a cute Easter egg, I suppose, and people seem to enjoy it in the air that I was in. So this party is proceeding. The characters are behaving in really stupid ways. Of course, one won’t have sex with this girlfriend because he’s like, Well, I don’t know that you’re not the killer. And of course, her response to that is to, like, run off. And I got away from everybody else, and some of the characters won’t go in the basement because there’s like an echo of the scene where Rose McGowan is killed in the original Scream. And there’s all this kind of stuff going on. But pretty quickly people start getting killed and this is as Sydney is on the way. And for whatever reason, Sam, Tara and Ritchie are stuck there, even though they just went to get Tara’s inhaler. They don’t seem to leave with any haste from this party. They kick other people out, but it doesn’t. It’s still ongoing, and one of the twins that’s Randy’s nephew is killed when he goes looking for the girlfriend he wouldn’t have sex with or seeming like. Old and then there is maybe I can’t remember if anyone else dies in that immediate interlude, but pretty soon it’s time to unmask the first killer. It happens when a character is like they’re all kind of staring at the older woman who looks like she’s 30. What was her name live? Ironically, yeah. So she, like she had discovered her boyfriend stabbed in bloody at that point. And so they suspect that she’s the killer and she’s going on about how she’s not the killer. The girl whose house it is, Amber, says, I know you’re not the killer. It takes out a gun and shoots her in the head. And so it’s like that classic great screen moment, even though in this one, it’s like completely random kind of who the killers ultimately are. It’s revealed that she is, in fact, one of them.
S3: She also says, you know, just in a as a hand sort of a level of self-awareness here, she says, Welcome to Act three as the introduction to the third act.
S2: Yes. And then the characters start to scatter a little bit and there’s like a maybe a brief few. And I can’t really remember Josh using this by recently. Take us to the next step and what is perhaps the more surprising reveal.
S1: So Tara’s not around at this point. The one who is the younger sister who had been attacked in the opening of the movie. And you know, at this point, there’s a dwindling number of people who are either still alive or not totally incapacitated. We have amber, we have Sam, the older sister, we have Ritchie, that boyfriend. We have Tara, the younger sister and Sam and Ritchie are having a conversation as some of the very few people who are still alive and Ritchie is like, Maybe it’s Tara. You know that younger sister could be there. And so Sam goes upstairs in this house and finds her younger sister actually tied up mouth taped in a closet. And Tara, actually, I believe, confronts her own sister with a knife. Even the siblings are doubting each other and turning on each other, and we kind of leave that scene and don’t really know what that outcome is. Yada yada yada. Some other stuff happens and Ritchie the boyfriend ends up and a surprising twist. Or maybe not that surprising twist, stabbing his girlfriend, Sam.
S2: I thought that that was a relatively decent reveal as much as I’ve been impugning this movie’s ability to make you care about the new characters because that one was written in a funny way where he’s like spending the whole movie, watching the old stab movies, trying to learn the rules of everything. It turns out in his reveal, and once they start talking as all the colors in this movie is always do, this is the king of the talking killer movies, as Roger Ebert used to call them. They start talking about how their stab superfans and that all these references to stab a Henry and Johnson and true fans of the original movies being miffed by the the last couple of sequels. I suppose there’s one where the Ghostface is like wearing a metallic mask and using flamethrowers and stuff, and obviously they don’t like that very much. And the whole thing they’re doing with this movie is an attempt to drive back to the original and set up another movie that can then be made. And I don’t know. I kind of believe that it was an Ritchie and it was even though everyone kept saying that it was him earlier in the movie.
S1: I will confess that I was surprised as well, but I had chalk that up to my just chronic inability to guess what’s going to happen in movies. I thought I was just being an idiot, because when you think about it at the end and once it’s revealed like retroactively, it doesn’t seem surprising at all. And you kind of feel dumb for not anticipating, which I guess is a good, you know, piece of filmmaking. Like if you’re like, oh, like, it’s worse. If I think in some of these movies and the and you’re like, Well, it could have been any one of a million people and this wasn’t really set up in any kind of particular way. But in this movie, it actually was set up. They did kind of leave clues, and it actually does kind of make sense that it was Sam, even if you if it did feel surprising in the moment, so bully to them,
S3: they sort of double bluff you in a way because Dewey explicitly says, like, it’s always the love interest. And then it’s like, Well, I can’t be the love interest, because Dewey said it’s a love interest, and it has to be a surprise. So it can’t be the thing that somebody has already explicitly said it should be. And then it turns out it is.
S1: And Sam, I think it’s also, you know, to consistent and maybe to the credit of the filmmakers that it was the love interest and the original Scream movie two. And so that’s like fits with the theme of going back to the original.
S2: Yes. And in Scream two, at the end of that, if you recall, she reawakens is her boyfriend and then her boyfriend gets killed by the real killer. And he’s like, You’ll never let anyone again kind of deal. So it’s playing with like lots and lots of layers here of shit. But anyway, they go on this long tangent and they say they basically reveal all of this. And I should say in another pretty clever badass, Gale and Sydney show up to the house. And Amber comes out pretending like she’s been stabbed, and Sydney and Gail kind of look at each other and they’re like, No, this is definitely a killer. But Gail ends up getting shot anyway, because I don’t even understand. Gail always gets shot in the same place in movies like in her lower abdomen and then like, it’s basically out of. And now I’m going to ask you, Josh, because I can’t exactly remember everything that happens, but you can guess that these killers are about to be dispatched in terrible ways and you would be guessing, right? One of them get set on fire. Can you recall here
S3: because she gets covered in hand sanitizer, too, which is this movie’s only possible concession to the pandemic? But yeah, they cover her with, you know, alcohol based hand sanitizer and then get her up against the stove and shoot her, and that not only she’s got shot but also lit on fire and must be dead at that point because, you know, clearly it only takes one one shot to kill somebody.
S1: So that happens to her. And then with Ritchie the boyfriend, there’s some sort of machinations to get the gun out of his hand or whatever. I honestly don’t remember that part, but the part that I will never forget, at least for the next week or so, is that Ghost Skeet Ulrich emerges at just the right time. Sometimes you don’t want ghost skeet all right over your shoulder, and sometimes you do. And he points his daughter towards a knife and is like, You know, you got to do Sam, but let’s get this done. So she picks up the knife and stabs Ritchie, then stabs them again, stabs them again, stabs them again, stabs them again, over and over and over and over again. And it’s a very kind of affecting moment. She embraces her serial killer DNA, and so he is definitely dead. Even in the world of Scream, he’s dead. But as Sam was getting out before, the woman who had been totally barbecued does emerge to take a second shot at that. Our heroes, but she got shot and then it’s over.
S2: Yes, and I believe it’s Tara who pops out finally, the one who had been cut up and left in a wheelchair for most of the movie from the beginning. And she shoots her and she has what I think is the best line in the movie, which is I still prefer the Baba Duke Grey comeback. I actually laughed.
S3: Yeah, you saw that with a crowd. Like, how did the crowd take that one?
S2: Oh yeah, people loved it. This movie, I will say it’s the first one that doesn’t have the writer or director Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson from the original involved. They hit a lot of notes of like genuinely funny lines and the clip of dialogue in a way that I was fairly impressed by compared, especially to Scream three, which was written by Aaron Kruger of Transformers fame and just like terrible dialogue compared to the other movies. This one was genuinely pretty funny.
S1: And this is the team radio silence behind like VHS and ready or not. I loved writing or not. I thought I was one of the better horror movies of of this recent generation, and so I thought it was kind of an interesting choice by both them and by whoever in this post. Weinstein Universe has the rights to this movie that because it was, you know, fairly faithful, except for a few small ways, and it was it didn’t really require their talents of reinvention and reanimation of the genre. It was fairly reverent. And it was also interesting, given that there’s all these references to stab it and Ryan Johnson, right? Like because Wes Craven had been involved in all of the Scream movies before they couldn’t say like in a more direct way, like Scream four. It was bad, for example, or Scream three was bad. So they had to invent fake like movie within a movie like Stab eight because they didn’t want to impugn Wes Craven’s legacy. It’s sort of like a tricky tightrope to walk there.
S2: Yeah, absolutely. And I do think they did entirely too much in terms of like a layer upon layer of winking reverence and like perhaps not quite enough in like making this movie genuinely scary, given its Omicron era strong box office. I think that we can fairly say we’re going to be in for I don’t know what are they going to call the next one? The Kabhie Scream six Scream kills, scream forever. Scream more. I don’t know, but we’re going to
S3: have Scream Scream two, too. Yeah, I don’t know.
S2: I think we can rest assured on that. Paramount is not going to sleep on this new jewel and its cap, and it’s going to be releasing more Scream movies. So these guys are going to have another shot at it, and hopefully they feel emboldened to do a little bit less or to do something a little bit different because I think that it’s even for me, a superfan who has an power been watching this movie since he was 11 years old. I’m ready for them to maybe do something I don’t know.
S1: We’ll see two closing thoughts for me, one kind of qudos and one thing that I found totally confounding. The CUDA is going back to the opening scene because I think that’s really the trademark of these movie. Is the movie trivia thing in the beginning, once you know who the killers are and that they’re these kind of obsessed fans who like, want to bring back the Sam movies, it actually makes more sense than the movie trivia aspect and the original Scream opening sequence. Unless I’m like missing out on something like, I don’t think Billy Loomis and Stu Makar like the kind of quintessence of their characters was like, they’re obsessed with the movie Halloween, like their motivation was more around like family and things like that. Whereas in this movie, it just seems like it’s kind of like a lame callback to like, Oh, they’re doing movie trivia again. It’s actually like kind of motivated by the plot, which I thought was kind of clever. Then the thing that I didn’t understand at all, and maybe I’m just like not allowing myself to fall into the Scream universe. I’m right and thinking that it turns out to have been Amber, who was the one that killed Dewey, right, and is in the hospital and like, gets
S1: multiple times like and must be, if not dead. Apparently, then like suffering some fairly severe wounds, then went at like the party sequence at the end. She’s just like hopping around. It doesn’t seem to have like any evidence of having gone through like any sort of trauma doesn’t have any like oozing like when they’re covered in bandages or anything.
S2: You might have missed one beat there in a very lame, classic, stupid horror movie move Ghostface lifts the costume and it’s a bulletproof vest. It’s like not. I don’t blame you for missing that because it’s just stupid. But yeah, I mean, it’s true, though. The other thing with Canberra is that she’s like, what five foot and must weigh like a hundred and ten pounds and she’s like, absolutely fucking carving like these grown men up all over the place. And it’s like, that does seem a little bit ridiculous.
S3: I mean, there’s like a long history in these movies, right, Jeff? I mean, Ghostface is always sort of the same height and super strong and, you know, has the same voice, no matter whether it is like a five foot woman or a six foot. Two man underneath the robe like part of that is just kind of hiding the ball, so you can’t tell who’s in there, but Ghostface is always sort of alarmingly strong and fast in a way that is like not quite superhuman, but not quite like practically plausible, either.
S1: Maybe scream sex will be two toddlers in a trenchcoat. Like, maybe that’s the direction that the franchise will go in.
S2: They got to figure something out, but I’m really heartened to know that we all sort of agree. Not bad. Scream five.
S1: Not bad. I mean, this has been a real journey for me to realize that I had reviewed Scream four, and I remember that. So I’m sort of like facing my own mortality here, but I enjoy talking about this with you guys.
S2: I very much enjoy talking about it with both of you, and we have to do this again for Scream six so that I can also mount my defensive Scream four so listeners can really anticipate that. Thank you to Josh and thank you, Sam. That’s our show. Please subscribe to the Slate Spoiler special podcast feed and you like the show, please rate and review it on the Apple Podcast Store or wherever you get your podcasts. If you have any suggestions for movies or TV shows we should spoil, or if you have any other feedback you’d like to share at all, please email spoilers at Slate.com. Our producer is Jasmine Ellis. Our senior managing producer is June Thomas for Sam Adams and Josh Levin and Jeffery Bloomer. Thanks for listening.