WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Scream, now playing in theaters.
After Scream 4 revealed that Jill -- Sid's cousin -- was the murdering mastermind behind the latest slew of Woodsboro killings, fans came up with several theories around how a sequel could connect to the original film's final girl. For four previous films, Ghostface targeted Sid and her legacy, using her life (and her mother's) as vengeful motivation to slay teens. Well, 2022's Scream switches up Ghostface's motivation to murder and finds a unique way to bring it all back to the original Woodsboro murders -- but this time, it all goes back to Billy Loomis, Sid's serial killer ex-boyfriend from the original film, and his surprise daughter, Sam.
Scream's best reveal is learning that at some point during Billy's relationship with Sid, he unknowingly got another mysterious "her" pregnant. While the film never specifically says Billy cheated on Sid, based on his death and his years with Sid, it's clear he did at some point before she shot him in the head. Although Scream never says who Sam's mother is, given the bloodshed of 1996's Scream, it's fair to say she was not a starring character as she survives to raise Sam. This choice to not only give Billy a surprise daughter but also to mix her origins with a "nobody" (in the terms of franchise stars) and a villain harkens back to the original Star Wars trilogy's treatment of farmboy Luke Skywalker and its sequel trilogy treatment of scavenger Rey Skywalker. Surprise parental reveals (especially villainous ones) aren't new to film, but this is the first time fans have seen a slasher's final girl wrestle with killer cravings.
In The Return of the Jedi's most pivotal moment, fans saw Luke wrestle with whether or not to kill his father, Darth Vader, after chopping off his cybernetic hand. However, Luke ultimately chose to save him because he believed in the light inside of him. That choice ends up inspiring Vader to save his son. By the end of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Rey learns she's a Palpatine, but despite her evil grandpa emperor egging her on to become a Sith, she resists. Rey's choice to give her life to the Light Side not only literally saves her with the power of goodness but also helps Kylo-Ren tap into his light side so the pair can defeat the supreme evil once and for all. Scream takes this evil parental idea, however, and flips it on its head.
Throughout Scream, Sam takes antipsychotic medications to curb the visions she's having of the dead Billy Loomis. The ghost of her father stalks her from reflective surfaces, taunting her to give in to her killer impulses. Like Luke and Rey, Sam is initially shown as a do-gooder. While she's aware of who she could become, the audience doesn't believe she's capable of anything sinister because they've only seen her as a capable fighter that's devoted to protecting her family and friends. When she first tells her boyfriend, Ritchie, she's the daughter of a serial killer, he pretends to not know this and be "horrified." Yet, it comes out later that it's this exact link that made her a perfect target for Scream's killings and Ghostface's escape plan. 2022's Scream isn't looking for a final girl, it's looking for the perfect scapegoat. Amber and Ritchie's plan is to frame Sam for all the bloodshed people expect of her because of who her father is.
All of the pointing to Sam's possible bloodthirst makes it seem like she can't possibly be Scream's next Loomis. However, when the final battle between Sam and the Ghostface killer begins -- something changes in Sam. There's a flash of Billy Loomis, pushing her to fight back -- not unlike a pang of the dark force. Of course, her life is in danger so she does fight back but the important part is how she chooses to fight back -- just like what kind of force Sith and Jedi choose to tap into to battle enemies.
In a cleverly shot frame, Sam looks for a weapon to attack Ritchie. There's an umbrella -- a callback to Sid's weapon to defeat Billy Loomis in 1996's Scream, and a butcher knife. Sam chooses the knife. Audiences see a glimpse of a dark force inside Sam the second she wields the knife. Once she learns Ritchie is one of the Ghostface killers, she stabs him a lot, even as he begs for his life and to finish his "ending" for the psychotic murdering film he's making in Woodsboro, aka the murders. Sam slays with a kind of exuberance and speed that feels indicative of something darker brewing inside her. As Sam brutally kills Ritchie, Sid and Gale watch on in slight horror from the sidelines. When they remind Sam to shoot Ritchie in the head to ensure he's dead, Sam takes a gun and effortlessly shoots him three times. There's no hesitation in Sam and her murder feels as natural.
At the end of 2022's Scream, Sam carries on the original Scream's legacy by defeating her murdering boyfriend. However, one of the film's final frames hints at a possibly troubling future for Sam. As Sam leaves the now-crime scene, she catches a glimpse of her dead father in a car window. Sam sees Billy nods with approval, a look that causes her to falter in her steps for a moment. By the end of the film, it's unclear what this nod means for Sam. Now that she's given into this feeling once, will she slay again?
Choosing to show a final girl wrestle with the desire to kill was a bold filmmaking choice, and if the franchise continues, it'd be a fascinating point for future films to think about as they follow Sam. In slasher films, viewers often don't think twice about murdering the killer -- because, hey, they deserve it. -- but Scream shows that murder, even for the final girl, can have some killer consequences. Regardless, one thing is for certain: several of Woodsboro's beloved residents died in 2022's Scream, and after the quick flash of Ghostface in the movie's end credits, one can bank on Ghostface's vengeful return.
To see Scream do its best Star Wars impression, the film is in theaters now.
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