Warning: This article contains spoilers for Scream (2022).
The new Scream movie acknowledges its role as both a sequel and a reboot when Randy’s replacement horror buff explains that it’s a reinvention with a new cast of characters and a continuation of the familiar story with just enough legacy characters to keep long-time fans happy.
While returning icons like Neve Campbell as Sidney Prescott, Courteney Cox as Gale Weathers, and David Arquette as Dewey Riley provide a lot of fan-service fun, 2022’s Scream also has a bunch of exciting fresh faces to guide the series’ future.
2 Returning Characters
While there’s a new killer (or killers) under the mask in each Scream movie, Ghostface is a character unto himself. The murderous persona is not only defined by his black cloak, his blood-soaked knife, and his goofy Halloween mask; he’s also got a distinctive voice.
In the latest Scream-quel, Roger L. Jackson returns as the unmistakable voice of Ghostface. As always, Jackson nails the menacing line deliveries on top of the growly, captivating tone of voice.
Marley Shelton reprises her role as Judy spectacularly, filling the role that Dewey usually fills as the police character investigating the Ghostface murders.
One of the most palpable audience responses in the new Scream movie is the warm reaction to Courteney Cox’s reappearance as biting news reporter Gale Weathers.
Gale is now a high-profile anchor. Dewey broke up their relationship because he couldn’t hack it in a big city, but they still care about each other (and she still cares just as much about getting a big scoop).
The first legacy character to be reintroduced is David Arquette as Dewey Riley when Sam and Richie pay him a visit at the trailer where he now lives. Life has taken an unfortunate turn for Dewey: he left Gale, he’s been asked to retire from the force, and his entire life revolves around watching Gale’s show and remembering the happiness he threw away.
But Arquette maintains Dewey’s warmth and the character goes out heroically with a heartbreaking death scene while he’s trying to make sure Ghostface won’t get back up (and, of course, he gets back up).
Sidney might not be the lead character in the new Scream movie – a first for the franchise – but she’s still crucial to its plot and her part in the movie honors the legacy of Neve Campbell’s beloved performance. Campbell seamlessly reprises the role with the same sharp wit and unbridled ferocity that has defined the franchise.
While she initially has no intention of returning to Woodsboro, Sidney ends up reluctantly heading back to her hometown to wipe out the latest generation of Ghostface killers to allow her to sleep at night (because she now has kids to worry about).
1 New Characters
While Sidney appears in the new Scream movie, for the first time in the franchise, she’s not the main character. Instead, Melissa Barrera leads the movie as Samantha “Sam” Carpenter, later revealed to be the illegitimate daughter of Billy Loomis. She’s plagued by visions of Billy, played brilliantly by a returning Skeet Ulrich, encouraging her to succumb to the family business of killing.
Sam is the ultimate Scream protagonist. She’s the perfect intersection between the righteous badassery of Sidney Prescott and the unstoppable murderous rage of a Ghostface killer, exemplified when she stabs Richie over and over at the film’s climax.
Mikey Madison gives a terrific performance as Amber Freeman. She does a great job of throwing the audience off the trail. At first, she seems to just be the wisecracking best friend, nailing the comic line deliveries. The audience rules out the character early on, because part of the killer’s introductory reign of terror is cloning her phone and spying on her. But she turns out to be one of the twisted masterminds behind the murders.
This is Madison’s second performance as a sadistic killer who targets victims based on the notion of deconstructing the media’s portrayal of violence. In Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, she played the Manson Family murderer who decides to go after Bounty Law star Rick Dalton instead of Sharon Tate on the night of August 8, 1969.
Jamie Kennedy hasn’t appeared in a Scream movie since his cameo via videotape in Scream 3, because he was controversially killed off in Scream 2. But he appears in the new movie in spirit as his niece Mindy Meeks-Martin, played hilariously by Jasmin Savoy Brown, takes his place.
Mindy fills Randy’s role in the new movie’s finale as she sits on the couch and obliviously watches a slasher movie while her friends are picked off by a masked killer around her. She’s the franchise’s new resident movie-loving slacker who explains horror lore.
Jenna Ortega stars opposite Barrera’s Sam as her sister, Tara. Tara is an inversion of Casey from the original movie. In the opening scene of the original Scream, Drew Barrymore cameos as a high schooler who answers a call from Ghostface and is promptly killed.
In the opening scene of the “requel,” Tara survives her encounter with Ghostface following the fateful phone call. She spends the rest of the movie recovering from the killer’s stab wounds and even beats one of the killers to a pulp with her crutch in the finale.
The audience inherently trusts Sam’s boyfriend Richie Kirsch, because they recognize Jack Quaid as Hughie from The Boys. Initially, Richie seems to be the everyman counterpoint to the genetically ingrained violent rage that Sam keeps bottled up – but he turns out to be even more psychotic than her.
As Dewey points out when he first meets Richie, the audience should never trust the love interest in a Scream movie (or a Stab movie). Richie hilariously represents toxic horror fans: “How can fandom be toxic? It’s about love!”
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