News: Neve Campbell Confirmed for Scream 5

After much anticipation and speculation, Neve Campbell has officially confirmed that she is back as the long-suffering, frequently-terrorized Sidney Prescott in Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett's upcoming Scream 5. She joins returning original-film cast members David Arquette and Courtney Cox, as well as returning Scream 4 cast member Marley Shelton, and prominent newcomer Jack Quaid (The Boys). The new film - the first new Scream property since the death of Wes Craven, who passed away shortly after the TV show, for which he was an executive producer, premiered - will be directed by the duo behind Ready or Not, Devil's Due, and segments in the anthology films V/H/S/ and Southbound. The film is being written by James Vanderbilt (Zodiac, Independence Day: Resurgence) and Guy Busick (Ready or Not, Castle Rock).

Campbell confirmed her return today with an instagram post featuring a new poster for the film, with the words "Hello, Sidney... remember me?" over the Ghostface mask, and a release date of January 14th, 2022. She accompanied the image with #ImBack. The official Scream account later confirmed the casting. 

Having the three big stars of all four previous films back for the new sequel is certainly a promising sign, and an indication that despite being made long after the death of Wes Craven, this will be a true sequel to his films, continuing his legacy. Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett certainly have strong horror cred after their critical and commercial hit with Ready or Not, and their segments in the cult favorites V/H/S and Southbound, and in a May interview with ET, when Campbell first revealed she was in talks to return for the sequel, she said that the duo "have such a great respect for Wes Craven. They really want to honor his work. So that's really lovely." Personally, my biggest reservation about a Scream 5 was simply that I was skeptical of whether any other filmmaker could successfully fill Wes Craven's shoes; that statement from Campbell, and the duo's success as horror directors so far, has me feeling pretty good about them taking over. This will, however, also only be the second Scream film not written by Kevin Williamson: while he returned for Scream 4, he skipped 2000's Scream 3, which turned out to be easily the worst in the franchise. The duo taking over have some solid credits to their name - most notably Guy Busick's role as story editor on Castle Rock, and James Vanderbilt's as the writer of David Fincher's superb Zodiac - so hopefully the franchise will be safe in their hands.

A fan-made poster, but a very good one.
The release date on that poster gives me pause, though... a mid-January release date is usually where studios dump the junk that they don't think could succeed in the summer or fall, and it's a very weird date to give what should be a triumphant return for a fan-favorite franchise. For perspective, Scream and Scream 2 were both high-profile Christmas releases, and Scream 4 kicked off the summer movie season in mid-April, while the generally-regarded-as-pretty-bad Scream 3 got dumped at the beginning of February. Ideally I would hope to see this as either a summer film, or (even better) a Halloween release; seeing it dumped into what is usually thought of as theatrical no-man's-land is disappointing. I certainly am not trying to suggest that the film won't be good; the talent involved is quite promising. I am concerned that the date might indicate that the studio doesn't believe in or support the film in the way they really should. However, at a time when everything about the film business is in a state of complete flux, this could easily change, and if Scream 5 ends up being a truly worthy successor to Wes Craven's series, that release date could move to one a bit more prestigious. Only time will tell. At the very least, we can now be certain that Sidney is indeed back to play another game.

- Christopher S. Jordan

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