Warning: Major spoilers ahead for Scream!
Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett's Scream added a new chapter to the hit slasher franchise, but the movie's ending was full of gore-filled twists. Nearly 25 years after Wes Craven launched the first Scream movie, the city of Woodsboro became the site of another massacre, bringing together Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), Dewey Riley (David Arquette), and Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox). However, at the center of 2022's Scream was newcomer Sam Carpenter (Melissa Barrera).
In a sequence that paid homage to Casey Becker's (Drew Barrymore) death scene in 1996's Scream, Sam's sister, Tara (Jenna Ortega) is attacked by Ghostface while home alone. This leads to Sam, Sam's boyfriend, Richie (Jack Quaid), and Tara's circle of friends to become the latest Woodsboro targets. Sidney, Dewey, and Gale are also brought into the fold when it's made clear that the new Ghostface slayings are directly connected to the original massacre at the hands of Billy Loomis (Skeet Ulrich) and Stu Macher (Matthew Lillard) over two decades prior.
Scream's legacy characters had moved on since Scream 4, believing the threat was over, but deep down, they all knew otherwise. Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillett were tasked with taking over a beloved franchise with a huge fan-following. Not only did they make sure to ramp up the gore through a campy lens, but the duo also used the element of fandom to introduce a new twist to the series, specifically in Scream's Ghostface identity and ending.
What Happens In Scream 2022's Ending
The third act of Scream returned to a familiar location: Stu Macher's house. What seemed to be a memorial house party in honor of Wes Hicks (Dylan Minnette), who fell victim to Ghostface, was actually a planned gathering to bring together Sam and the remaining legacy characters, Sidney and Gale. Richie, Sam, and Tara arrived at the home, which now belonged to Amber Freeman's (Mikey Madison) family, to retrieve Tara's emergency inhaler. As Tara's friends continued to get picked off by Ghostface, Amber revealed herself to be the first killer by shooting Liv McKenzie (Sonia Ben Ammar) in the head. After tracking Richie's car, Sidney and Gale weren't far behind, leading to the latter being shot by Liv as Sidney entered the same house that held the showdown between her, Billy, and Stu.
Shortly after Sidney bravely faced the terror again, Richie revealed himself as the second Ghostface killer. Amber and Richie had planned the "third act" as a way to pin the latest Woodsboro killings on Sam, claiming the legacy characters, especially Sidney needed to die. Tara briefly thwarted their plan, forcing the killers to split up with Amber dealing with Sidney and Gale while Richie set his sights on Sam. Following a scuffle in the kitchen, Sidney and Gale bested Amber, shooting her as she burst into flames from the oven after being drenched in hand sanitizer. Meanwhile, Sam, who suffered a stab wound like Sidney, faced off against Richie. After envisioning her father, Sam got hold of a knife and uncontrollably stabbed Richie to death. As another nod to the first Scream, Amber jumped back to life, forcing Sam to put a few more bullets in her.
Amber & Richie's Motivations For Being Ghostface Explained
Similar to Scream 4, 2022's Scream used the concept of fandoms in the motivation for the Ghostface killers. However, unlike Jill Roberts (Emma Roberts), who wanted to be the sole survivor of her own real-life movie to gather her own fan following, Amber and Richie were on the other side. Amber became obsessed with Sidney's story and the Stab franchise after her family moved into the old Macher house. Her sick obsession led her to Richie through a subreddit, a superfan who was tired of being put down for his love of the Stab movies, especially the original.
Unhappy with the evolution of the horror genre in the present day and the direction of recent Stab sequels, Amber and Richie needed the "movie" to return to its roots, so they took it upon themselves to "save the franchise." To do so, they needed to inspire a new story. Reuniting Scream legacy characters was key, but the new Ghostface killers also needed to implement a twist, which led to pinning the murders on Sam. Though the duo failed, the hope was to blame Sam, the secret child of psycho-killer Billy Loomis. Amber and Richie thought the child of an infamous killer returning to kill originals and those connected to legacy figures would be the perfect way to connect the past for a new for Stab to focus on.
Why Dewey Needed To Die In Scream
Sadly, not all of the legacy characters made it out alive in Scream. Dewey was living a hardened life without his career as a sheriff and his wife by his side. Initially reluctant, Dewey agreed to help Sam find and stop Ghostface because that's the caring guy he was since the first Scream movie. During his journey, Dewey has learned the rules that follow Ghostface, including making sure the killer was certainly dead. This meant turning around in the hospital hallway after a Ghostface attack. Dewey shot Ghostface multiple times, but the killer popped back up thanks to a bulletproof vest. This led to Dewey's tragic demise after various near-death run-ins over the past few decades. Though some predicted that not all of the legacy characters would live after surviving Scream 4, Dewey's death made sense from a story standpoint.
Despite their separation, Gale returned to Woodsboro even though Dewey told his former wife to stay away. She may have needed to cover the story as a journalist, but Gale also knew her husband needed her. That said, Sidney listened to Dewey and stayed away from her hometown of Woodsboro. That was, until Dewey's tragic death, one of the only events that would have brought Sidney back to the mayhem. Without Dewey, there was nobody else to take control of the situation to truly stop what was going on. Amber and Richie must have known that the death of someone like Dewey wouldn't be able to keep Sidney away, which helped them set up the showdown at Stu's house.
Sam's Billy Loomis Visions & Richie's Death Explained
Before it was revealed that Sam was the daughter of Billy Loomis, she saw a vision of Skeet Ulrich's blood-drenched character, hinting at some kind of an unsettling connection. Many of Scream 2022's characters had links to characters from the original, but Sam's link to Billy goes deeper. Being the daughter of a serial killer wouldn't be easy, but the struggle was heightened by Sam's recurring visions of Billy baiting her. Sam may have made mistakes in her past, but she was nothing like her true father, or so she thought.
During the final fight with Richie in almost the same spot Billy died, Sam envisioned her dad encouraging her to fight. She then found a knife on the floor before turning the tables on her attacker and viciously stabbing him. Granted, it wasn't one or two stabs; Sam repeatedly forced the knife in and out of Richie. The scene was meant to hint that some of that serial killer sense may run in Melissa Barrera's Sam, implying that she might not be as innocent as she seemed. The way she cleaned the blood from the knife was eerily Ghostface-like. Then again, it made sense that she lost control while getting revenge on the person that nearly killed her and her sister.
Scream 2022's Survivors (& How They Set Up Scream 6)
Sidney, Gale, Sam, and Tara make it out of the former Macher house alive. Tara wanted out of Woodsboro, and Sam would surely be in agreement. However, before the sisters left, Sam made sure to ask Sidney and Gale if they would be okay. She also asked about her own fate as Sidney reassured Sam that there's still life to live. When Sam walked back to her sister, she got a glimpse of Billy one last time, serving as another hint that Sam might have some violent struggles ahead. She may have been the victim, but she might have enjoyed killing Richie a little too much. She could very well appear in a future Scream installment, but she could truly be on either side of the chaos.
After receiving care for yet another stab wound or two, Sidney will return to her husband and kids in the hope the terror will be over for good. As for Gale, she planned to get back to writing, but rather than make Amber and Richie famous; she wanted to write about her hero, Dewey. Aside from Sidney, Gale, Sam, and Tara, the twins, Mindy (Jasmin Savoy Brown) and Chad Meeks-Martin (Mason Gooding), survived, throwing out a thumbs up to each other before being put in ambulances. A few Scream legacy characters are around, but the future of Scream would likely focus on the younger characters like Sam.
The Real Meaning Of Scream 2022's Ending
The latest Scream, which was often referred to as a "requel," poked fun at itself while also bringing into focus the notion of toxic fandoms. Craven's initial trilogy was self-aware and campy, targeting cliches and tropes often used in horror movies. Scream 4 took that up a notch by adding a meta element. The 2011 movie also attempted to use a new generation of characters to serve as copycats with ulterior motives. Since then, the universe within the franchise got out of control through Stab movies. The sequels fell off track, like many long-running franchises do, leading hardcore "true fans" like Amber and Richie needing the story they loved to go back to what made it so meaningful in the first place.
There were a lot of expectations leading into the new Scream, especially with it being the first movie without Wes Craven. Fandoms often have a handle in steering those expectations, and the toxic side of those fandoms has a way of crucifying sequels, reboots, and revivals if they don't live up to originals. Amber and Richie personified the toxicity of those who can't separate movies and real-life as Sidney, Gale, and Sam struck down their skewed viewpoints. Stab may have been a movie franchise, but those like Sidney lived through the terror, and she was quick to reiterate that truth. In doing so, Scream presented another self-aware discussion about the genre it has been an influential part of for over 25 years.
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