Scream 5 was a great surprise as it subverted expectations of the franchise by putting the focus onto Billy Loomis’ daughter, Sam Carpenter. Since the franchise opted to focus on a new generation of characters beyond the original cast, it allowed the narrative to expand into something fresh and unpredictable. Handing the reigns over to Sam Carpenter means that the franchise can go more into a character-driven direction that’s never been explored within the series.
When Scream first hit theaters in 1996, it became a cultural phenomenon because of the clever script that took on classic slasher tropes and subverted each and every one of them. Sidney Prescott is considered one of the best final girls in horror because the layers about her character were greatly developed throughout the series. However, the formula for a Scream film became predictable by the time the third film rolled around. With Sidney’s story being completed in Scream 3, her inclusion in the fourth and fifth instalment felt forced. Scream 6 allows for the series to move on from the popular protagonist and create a new legacy of its own.
It Allows a New Type of Final Girl To Take Center Stage
Sidney Prescott was the antithesis of what a final girl was in horror films during that time period. Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson went out their way to play with audiences expectations, yet still respect the characters within the series. Sidney Prescott was a sympathetic figure who’s life was met with tragedy due to the death of her mother. Her entire journey was about her gaining the strength to move past her traumatic experiences and close a chapter that she didn’t particularly start.
Sam’s story is equally tragic, but subverts the final girl status with her being the daughter of Billy Loomis. Scream 5 was a character driven story because it tapped into Sam Carpenter’s past of being the daughter of a deranged serial killer; that means the series is allowed to go into a bold direction that never undermines Sidney’s journey, yet paves the way for something original and fresh.
Opens The Possibility Of Taking The Franchise Into A Deeper And Darker Direction
Billy Loomis’s past isn’t known much beyond the story of him and Maureen Prescott; however, the Scream series can dig deeper into the mythology of its legacy character in a way that can truly change the game for the status of a final girl. The black cloud looming over Sam Carpenter is whether she’ll turn out to be just like her father; it’s an intriguing story to tell and there’s endless possibilities on how to explore such a rich narrative. Plus, it gives Scream new material to cleverly subvert since Sam Carpenter’s story is vastly different from Sidney Prescott’s.
However, it isn’t just Sam’s story that’s unique as most of the supporting cast are remnants of legacy characters. Scream wasn’t traditionally a character-driven franchise but having the second generation be the focal point of the reboot allows for them to go further into the people that came before them. Using the history of legacy characters widens the scope beyond the traditional Scream formula of two masks killers wanting to murder the protagonist.
It Allows The Franchise to Move on From Sidney Prescott
Sidney Prescott’s story ended in Scream 3. The third installment didn’t necessarily go deep enough into Maureen Prescott’s past, but the journey was certainly a conclusion of Sidney’s entire arc. Scream 4 had a solid reason to bring her character back, but her return in Scream 5 just didn’t have the same impact it did previously as a result of her plot armor mainly due to her legacy status. Focusing on Sam and her friends instead allows the series to organically grow without the shadow of Sidney Prescott looming over the new characters who are still developing.
This doesn’t mean that Sidney Prescott shouldn’t return to the Scream franchise. Dewey was the star of Scream 5 because his arc was so well written. If the series can naturally find a way to bring back Prescott’s character into the mix then that would be great, but as of now, the franchise does need to escape the shadow of its famed final girl.
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