This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
James’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
This is one of those movies where I had an enjoyable enough time watching it in the theater, but the more I think about it, the less I like it.
I gasped, I laughed, I jumped. I nodded in amused recognition of all the self-references and fun inside jokes. But I still can't shake the feeling that this was a huge missed opportunity, especially when it comes to the new urban location.
Relocating the story to New York City promised such fun, fertile ground for revitalizing the franchise with virtually limitless possibilities for suspenseful urban set-pieces, yet there's very little here that they couldn't have done in any other city or town, including Woodsboro. The subway scene was the best, but even that felt unimaginative and underdeveloped. You have a city full of museums, brownstones, Empire State Building, Central Park, subway tunnels, restaurants, underground clubs, etc., and you settle for a next-door neighbor tossing over his Home Depot ladder to bridge two apartment buildings? (Something that would NEVER happen here by the way, and only makes even the slightest bit of sense if he was the building's super or something). Or staging the climax in a generic abandoned old movie theater? Might as well have just stayed in Woodsboro if that's the best you can do.
And as much as I love all three characters and would have been sorry to see any one of them go, I do feel like THREE miraculous survivals really strains credulity, especially when Mindy and Chad already survived similar attacks from the last Ghostface as well. At least one of them needed to die for me to take this film and its Ghostface seriously. (My theory is that Chad is bisexual and therefore being spared in accordance with the whole "gay exemption" established in Scream 4, which I guess would leave only Gale).
For all the scary talk about every character being expendable, they sure do allow for an absurdly high survival rate. As heartbreaking as Dewey's death was in the last film, at least it added some emotional gravitas to the overall story, and heightened the sense of danger and overall stakes.
This one also seemed awfully light on the satirical meta riffs, one of the things that has always made this horror-comedy franchise so unique and endearing. Mindy and Kirby chatting about their favorite horror films made for fun banter, but it's hardly the edgy, self-aware meta-commentary we've come to expect.
Last but not least, that Letterboxd burn was really one step too far. As Dewey put it in the last film: Maybe you're the killer, because that cut deep.