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Slasher rehash seems less frightening than Midtown

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The fifth “Scream” movie doesn’t try to reinvent the squeal.

The rebooted “Halloween” “Candyman,”They successfully dragged their franchises into today with additional social commentary. The tired teen slasher movie is stuck in the past. It is proud of it.

Thought “Scream” is set in the modern day, it’s a cinematic time machine to 2000. The whole time you feel like you’re surrounded by Beanie Babies while gorging on Pizza Bagels and listening to the Backstreet Boys. 

movie review

Running time: 116 min. Rated R for strong bloody violence, language throughout, and some sexual references. Friday, in theaters

But shouldn’t a serial killer blood-bath feel so comfortable and familiar for its audience? It doesn’t want to keep us interested. Cinco de Screamo plods along with routine kills. It has few surprises, even when it tries to shock.

The heroine’s backstory is a groaner. An unmoving development that should be devastating is actually quite shocking. And when you think you know who is behind the Ghostface mask, you’re probably right.

Ah, oh, the meta jokes. They got out control in later sequels, and Cinq drowns under them.

The big gag here is to mock the recent rise in critically-acclaimed (and, umm, better) horror films.  

“What’s your favorite scary movie?,”Ghostface asks Tara (Jenna Ortega), a young woman, at the beginning of the chapter as she stands in her Woodboro kitchen. Drew, however, said that Drew was wrong. “I dunno,” cinema-savvy Tara replies, “‘The Babadook.’ It’s an amazing meditation on motherhood and grief.’”

Ghostface can also kill me

Ghostface is back “Scream.”

After Tara is stabbed — not fatally — the self-referential bits come faster than they did in “3” “4.”They are a lot of fun “The Witch,” “Jurassic World,” “The Last Jedi,” Jamie Lee Curtis, David Arquette and Courteney Cox’s divorce and on and on. Trouble is that Parker Posey isn’t here to bat the bland material out of the park.

The worn-out old pattern is the basis of the rest of the story.

Tara’s estranged older sister Sam (Melissa Barrera) rushes to her side at the hospital, and ends up at the center of another Woodboro murder spree. We ask the same questions every time: Which friend will be next? Is this sweet guy the killer or just a victim? What was Courteney Cox’s last movie role?!

Richie (Sam Quaid) explains to Sam, her boyfriend, that Ghostface copycats try to make a big splash in town. “every decade or so. The last time was in 2011.” See? It’s been 10 years since the third sequel. These zingers are amazing!

That’d be writers James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick, who put so much effort into the humor, such as it is, that they’ve thrown the fright in a blender. I’m a wimp and I might as well have been watching “The Great British Baking Show.”

Neve Campbell is back as Sidney Prescott.

The new cast fits in well. Directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, taking over for the late Wes Craven, have poached a few popular young actors like Dylan Minnette (“13 Reasons Why”Mason Gooding (“Love, Victor”) perhaps in hopes of drawing in their impressionable fans. 

Barrera, who was a wonderful in “In The Heights,” has an earnest intensity that will give her a long career. It’s fun seeing her kick ass with Neve Campbell, Cox and Arquette, whose chemistry is a sure thing at this point.

Yet, it is just as important as “Scream” references the aughts films and celebrates the slasher genre, it forgets the most important part — the original was actually scary.

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