***½/**** Image A- Sound A Extras B
starring Melissa Berrera, Mason Gooding, Jenna Ortega, Neve Campbell
written by James Vanderbilt & Guy Busick
directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin & Tyler Gillett
by Walter Chaw Kevin Williamson and Wes Craven's Scream cycle, in terms of its influence on modern film, constitutes the most important metatext of the last 25 years in that it's not only self-referential, it's curious about how self-reference can be an essential ontological tool as opposed to a mere existential exercise. They're better movies, in this respect, than The Matrix and its sequels, and, at least in terms of their popularity, they're more important than even Charlie Kaufman's extraordinary but limited-appeal body of work. The Scream saga, for lack of a better word, matters. Not for nothing does Scream 3, despite being the weakest installment of the original four and the only one of those that didn't involve Williamson in any significant way, take place mainly on a simulacrum of hero Sidney's childhood home and neighbourhood, recreated inside a soundstage like the to-scale streets of Kaufman's Synecdoche, New York. If the first film is a watershed, the second is perhaps the series' masterpiece: a phenomenal bit of pop philosophy that sees Sidney (Neve Campbell) as a Cassandra figure, literally forced onto the stage with a pack of masked murderers to re-enact her trauma from and into eternity. It's her role in these Passion Plays to be preyed upon--and through her suffering, the "rules" of engagement between women coming of sexual age and men wanting to possess and punish them for that are forged. She has become an archetype, a thing that is representative of a fundamental truth, and the movies understand that. When she makes her entrance in the new Scream (hereafter Scream 5), standing up in a hospital waiting area to greet a young woman initiated into the abattoir, it is framed and shot as though we are all in the presence of a divine visitation.