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I mean of course she has a gun. In the twenty six years since she was targeted by Billy Loomis and Stu Macher, Sidney Prescott – THE Final Girl, in my opinion – has been targeted by no less than nine serial killers (See Vulture’s list of the best killers ranked, and see if you agree!).

Nine. I mean come on to Christ, I’d be surprised if she didn’t have a holster on her thigh like a Western-style belle in a bar. The fact that she utters this line while (*spoiler*, but I mean come on, obviously this post is going to be littered with spoilers) out with her baby just makes the line all the more impactful.

Scream 2022 explained

Think Molly Weasley in The Deathly Hallows Part Two, “Not my daughter, you bitch!” Sidney reminds us that, while the new roster of killers and kill-ees might be new to this serial murder game, we – viewers since the 90’s – are well versed in how to not die at the hands of Ghostface, shoot first, ask questions later.

But before we get into that, here’s a quick rundown of what happens in the film.

The Scream (2022) Plot Explained

In Scream (2022) of course we get our iconic opening kill scene. Or do we? Since Drew Barrymore and Wes Craven gave rise to the term “They Drew Barrymore’d Us!” (just me? okay) we have come to watch the opening sequence of the Scream films with the reckless abandon of a messy, delicious first kill.

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Scream knows this. So much so that they duped us at least twice in the Scream Four opener. But this is a Scream film through and through and it’s fully aware of its staples, and, more importantly, how to subvert them.

Tara Carpenter (played by Jenna Ortega) is brutally attacked in the film’s opening. Ghostface, by threatening her friend, Amber Freeman (played by Mikey Madison), is able to coerce Tara into playing his infamous “What’s your favourite Scary Movie?” game. The scene ends with Tara’s demise and Ghostface’s escape…or does it?

No, obviously, or I wouldn’t have made such a big deal about it.

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Tara’s sister, Sam (portrayed by Melissa Barrera) and her boyfriend, Richie Kirsch (portrayed by Jack Quaid, son of Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan) immediately come back to Woodsboro to care for Tara who (surprise!) survived her assault. What follows is a semi-formulaic reel down of meta discourse and macabre mystery as to who the killer really is.

The Scream (2022) Ending Explained

Who’s the killer in Scream (2022)? **Killers. Plural.

Yup, we’re going back, back, back, back, back again. And I would argue that killers this time really do punch you in the gut a bit, but not because they are well disguised as the killers, but because one of the potential candidates of being the killer is so well set up.

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The killers are Amber and Richie, who met online after Amber became obsessed with the original killings after moving into Stu Macher’s family home (arguably more of a revelation than the killers themselves).

Richie, a Stab franchise fanatic – oh looking back at the glee on his face as he pretended to watch Stab for the first time is fabulous – and Amber begin this weird relationship where they both equally hate the Stab movies trajectory yet are desperate to help retcon Hollywood’s mess with a requel (Reboot-Sequel) (which is so close to a Ruqual it could have been lifted from an episode of Drag Race) (Read CBR’s article on how Hollywood is creating a new mess with this concept here.) The requal of course being based around their own little murder spree. Blah, blah, blah.

Scream 2022 ending explained

Far more interesting – and a very proficient red herring if ever there was one – is that Sam and Tara are actually half-sisters. For us here in the UK, this was a Jeremy Kyle moment. No, I will not elaborate on who Jeremy Kyle is.

Sam (after some exposition nonsense about found diaries in the attic, I mean, ca’maaannnn) reveals that she is Billy Loomis’ secret daughter! Woah! Sam is tormented by these visions of Billy in her reflections and the film could have just as easily went for a Shrooms-like reveal that she had been the killer all along. It seemed so obvious to the point that it had to be true. But, then, wasn’t.

Its Place in the Horror Pantheon

Scream (2022) has already eclipsed its predecessor financially and critically so a new Scream trilogy seems all but assured.

— FOUNDATIONS OF HORROR

Further explore these subgenres & tropes. more>>
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So, is Scream right? Is Halloween? Is the new Texas Chainsaw? Is it time horror got rid of its messy pasts with this universe, and that universe, and this continuity?

Its ironic that this question is coming up on the eve of Dr Strange and the Multi-verse of Madness, with Hollywood seemingly more open to interconnected, yet also distinct timeliness for its highest grossing franchises, in an effort to experiment with new ideas and concepts.

But already, voices are beginning to warn of exactly what Scream is credited with revitalising in the nineties – the stagnation of a genre. With more timelines to explore, or at least, more ease in covering them up (requal that bitch!) is Hollywood heading for toward the same disaster again? And if it is, would Scream be strong enough to resuscitate more than just a single genre this time? Perhaps.

Or perhaps Scream could Drew Barrymore us and kill itself to save us all with its meta-take on the requal as a harbinger of doom rather than a narrative choice for Hollywood to rehash its old ideas.

Just a thought.

Additional Links

Here is a great article on who the directors believed was in the Ghostface costume each time a kill happened on screen. I just couldn’t find a place to fit it in.

Here is a deep dive into the “requel” obsession.

Last Updated on February 5, 2022.

Conner McAleese
Conner McAleese is a current PhD student at the University of Dundee studying 'spaces' in contemporary horror. His debut novel, The Goose Mistress, was published in 2018 by Dark Ink Press and details Eva Braun's experience of World War Two. McAleese now considers himself a horror writer and has had his short stories published in Blood Rites Magazine and Haunting Voices among others. He looks to the 'disturbing' for inspiration, hoping to academically push back the last taboos in literature to analyse what they represent for today's cultural fears and anxieties. However, he hopes to balance this with a satisfying and long career in horror writing. He currently lives in Dundee and is working on his first horror novel.

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