Whether fans want it or not, Scream 5 is well on its way. The movie took a major step forward recently with news that David Arquette is officially returning. The actor played Dewey Riley in all four previous Scream movies. Moreover, his casting means one-third of the series’ main trio — which also includes Neve Campbell and Courteney Cox — is now onboard.
But after three sequels — one of which serves as a quasi-reboot — and a TV series, Scream 5 needs a new angle. And some fans think they’ve figured out the best way to set the new movie apart. Better yet, the proposed concept could very well honor the late Wes Craven at the same time.
‘Scream 5’ needs to find a way to honor Wes Craven’s legacy
Scream 5 directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett have big shoes to fill. After all, Craven directed all four previous films. The duo’s 2019 release, horror-comedy Ready or Not, indicates they have the right idea about how to toy with genre conventions. But taking on a legacy property like Scream requires more than just a deft storytelling hand.
The franchise has been around for decades. And especially after Craven’s death in 2015, any subsequent movie needs to pay tribute to the late director and his work. So far Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillett seem to be on the right track. Kevin Williamson — who wrote three of the four Scream films under Craven — will return for Scream 5 as an executive producer.
But for the fifth entry in a horror franchise, the real trick will be finding a story angle that feels fresh. Certainly, someone in a Ghostface mask will engage in a murderous rampage. Yet, the circumstances surrounding that can’t risk leaving fans of the decades-old series feeling like they’ve seen this before. Thankfully, the dedicated Scream fan base have that covered.
Fans have come up with the perfect way to bring back the original cast
One common fan theory about where Scream 5 can go is for Campbell’s Sidney Prescott to become the killer. After being the central target of four previous killing sprees, it’s plausible she would crack and grab the Ghostface mask for herself. But screenwriter Brian Lynch recently took to Twitter with an even more tantalizing notion.
Lynch’s idea is for the new film to be set in the real world. So, instead of Campbell, Arquette, and Cox playing their respective roles, they would be playing themselves. Essentially, a “real-life killer” inspired by the Scream movies takes the fate of the franchise into his or her own hands.
As Lynch points out, this opens the door for any of the series’ previous cast members to return, including Drew Barrymore. For most horror series, this idea would be too high-concept to work. But Scream has always prized itself on embracing its own self-awareness. Lynch’s idea would take that notion to the next natural step. Plus, it’s one we know Craven would love.
Wes Craven took a similar approach with ‘Wes Craven’s New Nightmare’
Without the legendary horror filmmaker around to helm Scream 5, all the series can rely on is the body of work he left behind. And it just so happens that the director applied a very similar premise to his other signature franchise.
In 1994, Craven wrote and directed Wes Craven’s New Nightmare. The seventh and final entry in A Nightmare on Elm Street stars Heather Langenkamp as herself. The actress who played Nancy Thompson in the series battled Freddy Krueger. And she winds up having to make another Elm Street film to stop Freddy from continuing his real-life rampage.
In many respects, Wes Craven’s New Nightmare feels like a spiritual predecessor to the first Scream, which Craven made just two years later. Instead of Freddy, Scream 5 could reveal Ghostface to be Campbell herself, who wants to return to her signature role. Perhaps Cox — arguably the most successful member of the original cast — will even be the opening victim.
In this scenario, Scream 5 would echo the original Scream and allow the meta-focused series to riff on Wes Craven’s New Nightmare. Will this be the story Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillett end up going with? Fans will have to wait and see. But after previous entries commented on horror movies, sequels, trilogies, and reboots, it feels like the perfect way to bring it all full circle.