By this point, the horror movie “final girl” is a well-known (and well-worn) concept. However, outside the community of dedicated horror fans, most final girls languish in relative obscurity. For instance, can you name the final girl in, say, Black Christmas? (The original, not the remake. Or the other remake.) On the other hand, some final girls become iconic, like Laurie Strode. And like Sidney Prescott, my personal GOAT final girl. So when I heard about another Scream sequel, her inclusion seemed like a foregone conclusion. And now it’s official: Neve Campbell in Scream 5 is a go.
A Brief Scream Refresher
In case you’re a tiny Gen Z baby or you just somehow missed Scream all this time, then here’s what you need to know. To this day, there have been four Scream movies of varying quality. (Yes, that’s why the upcoming one is Scream 5. I knew you’d get it.) The first Scream is set in the fictional California town of Woodsboro. Woodsboro is a fairly average town. Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) is a fairly average high school student when we meet her. That is, until the murders start.
Sidney is no stranger to trauma; a year earlier, someone murdered her own mother. However, when the seemingly unrelated killings begin, and Sidney becomes the focus of the unknown killer, something in her snaps. From the beginning, she doesn’t come off as weak or as a shrinking violet. But pinned there in the killer’s gaze, she transforms. She becomes…more.
In her first direct encounter with “Ghostface,” the killer, we can see that transformation happen practically in real time. When he momentarily gets the better of her, and is seconds away from planting a knife in her chest, it happens. Her eyes widen and she kicks him in the kidney, before scrambling away. Yes, she runs upstairs, instead of outside, but she gets away, doesn’t she? She survives, again and again.
Anyway, that scene is not only revelatory, but it’s also my all-time favorite final girl moment. And it’s emblematic of how good the film as a whole was. Unfortunately, though, as I said, not all of its sequels would be up to par. All of them are watchable, but not all of them are classics. And Scream would also usher in a wave of other meta horror movies, each of which was dying to prove its wit. Again, not all classics.
Neve Campbell in Scream 5: A Continuing Legacy
Perhaps the one thing that made each Scream watchable was Neve Campbell’s continued involvement. Throughout the life of the franchise, she’s carried its weight just as Sidney’s carried the burden of being the center of attention for yet another obsessed murderer. Other legacy cast members, including Alabama’s own Courteney Cox (as Gale Weathers) and David Arquette (Dewey Riley), are important, too–don’t get me wrong. But Sidney Prescott is the beating, bloody heart of Scream. And she always has been.
Courteney Cox and David Arquette in Scream, image via Dimension Films
Campbell has already talked about her plans for Scream 5, so today’s announcement doesn’t come as a total surprise. She joins a cast that includes Cox and Arquette, as well as Scream 4 alum Marley Shelton (Deputy Judy Hicks). Other cast members include Kyle Gallner, who’s finally aged out of being typecast as a school shooter, Jack Quaid (The Boys), Dylan Minnette (13 Reasons Why), Jenna Ortega (You), Mikey Madison (Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood), and Jasmin Savoy Brown (For the People). Mason Gooding (Love, Victor) and Melissa Barrera (In the Heights) round out the rest of the cast so far.
Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, known for segments in Southbound and V/H/S, as well as Ready or Not, are directing the film. Guy Busick, who wrote Ready or Not, and James Vanderbilt (Murder Mystery), are supplying the story. According to reports–me squinting at the movie’s IMDB page–the movie “will follow a woman returning to her home town to try to find out who has been committing a series of vicious crimes.” Presumably that woman is Sidney and whoever is committing those crimes ain’t got long to live.
Scream 5 is set to hit theaters January 14, 2022. I’m reserving my seat now.
How hyped are you to see Sidney Prescott return? Is she your favorite final girl? Tell us in the comments, on social media, or from a respectful 6-foot distance while I wait patiently in the theater.
featured image via Dimension Films
Salomé Gonstad is a freelance writer who grew up in the swampy wilds of south Alabama. She now splits her time between the Appalachian wilds (of Alabama) and the considerably more refined streets of New York City. When she's not yelling about pop culture on the internet, she's working on a supernatural thriller about her hometown. Also, we're pretty sure she's a werewolf.