2022's fifth installment of the Scream franchise, simply titled Scream, left fans of the franchise on edge. With the popularity of the Halloween franchise reboots (the most recent being 2021's Halloween Kills), along with several new, solid additions to the world of the slasher genre like Netflix's Fear Street trilogy, the anticipation for Scream was huge. Fans wondered if a new installment after 11 years could live up to the same success that its competitors enjoyed. So, did it?
Fundamentally, Scream managed to keep its predecessors' meta-loving, self-reflective, and comedic tone while still delivering authentically good scares and death scenes that fans of the franchise love. However, since the original Scream (1996), such methods have become so common in the slasher genre that it doesn't necessarily make the movie good. So, let's get into Ghostface's latest exploits and break it all down. You've been warned, from one meta-lover to the next, spoilers are coming . . .
Who Was the Ghostface Killer in Scream (2022)?
Any Scream franchise fan knows that each movie features a different killer underneath the infamous Ghostface mask. Most movies also feature two killers, so the characters and the audience have difficulty pinning down a single culprit. At some point, the guilty will look innocent and the innocent will look guilty as the killers swap places and provide solid alibis for each other.
Scream (2022) is no different. As was expected, the fifth film also features two killers. Amber, the best friend of Ghostface's very first victim, Tara, takes center stage as an overprotective and loving best friend. Early in the film, she's even jokingly accused of being the killer because she is obsessed with Tara and may even be in love with her. Joining Amber as the killer is none other than Richie, the love interest of Tara's older sister and main protagonist, Sam (who also happens to be the illegitimate child of Billy Loomis). Just like the original films, Dewy even points out very early on in the film that you should always look at the love interest because they're usually involved. Of course, this throws suspicion on both Amber and Richie almost immediately, but as is often the case, the rest of the movie works overtime to make the viewer doubt their instincts.
Mimicking 1996's classic where Billy was accused and over-emphasized throughout most of the movie, making him the too-obvious choice, this film executed a similar premise beautifully. The film even led the audience to believe Amber was a lesbian when she was in a relationship with Richie the whole time.
True to tradition, Amber and Richie reveal themselves as the killers when they begin their final massacre. Amber rips off the Ghostface mask and exclaims, "Welcome to act three!" Amber and Richie unveil themselves. Only after, of course, an elaborate scheme that consisted of getting Amber's entire friend group to Amber's home (the original house where Billy Loomis and Stu Macher had their showdown) and the original "final girls," Gale and Sidney. With a burning desire to succeed where no other Ghostface has, they're confident they can put the original final girls in the ground.
Why Did Richie and Amber Take Up the Ghostface Mantle in Scream (2022)?
To put it simply, Amber and Richie were obsessive superfans.
The Scream movies are notorious for having an in-universe film series that replicates the events of the movies called Stab. The original Stab was based on Gale's book inspired by the first Ghostface incident with Billy and Stu. While the films objectify Sidney's trauma and paint the Ghostface killings as something almost whimsical rather than respectful of the horrors that happened at Woodsboro, the films are massively popular in-universe. The quality of these films, like many slasher films, continues to decline with each new installment, though. In this movie, they've gotten all the way to Stab 8 (simply called Stab, which they hilariously made fun of to mock their own choice at calling their fifth movie Scream), which has no connection to the original at all.
For superfans Amber and Richie, that simply won't do. They are so obsessed with the original film and how genuinely amazing they believed it to be, their desire for a better sequel serves as their motivation. So they plot an elaborate scheme that brings in an entire cast of new characters that somehow connect to the originals (or Legacy Characters, as the movie refers to them) so they could make a movie that is both a sequel and a reboot all at once.
The way Amber and Richie talk about their schemes actually sounds like they're talking about making a movie rather than murdering people. They're "taking it back to the basics" with new source material that will inspire a proper Stab movie. They even make clever commentary on how important specific incidents were for a good and compelling story. Killing Dewy off, for example, proved that their addition to Stab would be bigger, better, and have more stakes because they showed their finesse early on. When Richie reveals himself as the second Ghostface killer, he even expresses that it has to be him because Dewy called it, making him the perfect fit for the role. It had to be him.
Amber and Richie, however, never planned to be the star antagonists of their Stab movie. That's why they put so much emphasis on using Tara to lure Sam back to Woodsboro. After discovering that Sam was the daughter of Billy Loomis, they decided framing her for all the killings would be the perfect conclusion for their movie. The daughter of the infamous original serial killer following in her father's footsteps? Genius!
Amber and Richie act as a perfect pair to take up the mantle of Ghostface. They're deranged and derailed, and their motivation is ridiculous and over the top. They also offer great commentary on the real world and how it is becoming more and more common for people to mix reality and fiction in an unhealthy way. As out there as this couple seems, they also feel eerily plausible in today's social climate.
Did Ghostface Kill the Final Girls in Scream (2022)?
Of course not. In their cockiness, Amber and Richie don't ever entertain the idea that there could be holes in their plans. So while they get close to their goal (Sidney even compliments them on being some of the most determined killers she's ever faced off against), in the end, it still wasn't enough. We did get a deliciously juicy montage of believing this might finally be it for Sidney and Gale, though.
The film ends with Gale confirming that she isn't even going to write about what happened, insisting that they should die off in obscurity without anyone ever knowing the story they wanted so badly to create. In this way, they failed where even Billy and Stu succeeded. While the original killers ultimately met their demise, they were immortalized through Gale's book and the Stab movie that followed the events of their murder spree. Thanks to Gale, everyone knew every detail of the original Ghostface murders, but Amber and Richie won't get the same love and rabid fanbase.
An honorable mention to them killing off Dewy, though. No other film in the franchise and no other Ghostface has ever managed to kill off one of the main three legacy characters. Amber, as Ghostface, even says, "it's an honor," while slaughtering Dewy in a painfully drawn-out murder scene.
While Amber and Richie didn't succeed in their in-universe goals, they did succeed in taking up the Ghostface mantle. Like many Ghostfaces before them, they were the perfect combination of unhinged, entertaining, and socially relevant.