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The Ending Of Scream (2022) Explained

Ten years after "Scream 4" pointed Ghostface at the Facebook generation, a brand new killer has arrived in Woodsboro to terrorize a brand new class of students. But they're not the only ones on the chopping block; Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox), and Dewey Riley (David Arquette) are in just as much danger as everyone else in the town. Given the franchise's signature meta take to the horror genre, you'd be forgiven for thinking that a legacy sequel would be too on-the-nose for "Scream," but directors Tyler Gillett and Matt Bettinelli-Olpin have a smart approach to the latest chapter in the series.

Obviously, there are going to be spoilers bleeding out all over the place, so here's a quick warning, if you haven't seen 2022's "Scream" yet it's probably a good idea to stop reading now ... Still with us? Then we'll get right into it. 

The film kicks off with a very typical set-up: Tara Carpenter (Jenna Ortega) is home alone when a stranger starts calling her landline phone. Shocker — the new Ghostface has found his first victim. The film takes the time to acknowledge how the horror genre has changed since we last took a trip to Woodsboro, as Tara explains she's a fan of "elevated horror," name dropping the likes of "The Babadook," "It Follows," and "Hereditary" in her chat with the killer.

But in the first of many subversions of the classic set-up, Tara survives her ordeal, even after being stabbed a couple of times. She's final girl material to say the least. It marks the first time in a "Scream" movie where someone isn't killed in the opening few minutes. But most importantly, the attack draws Tara's estranged sister, Sam Carpenter (Melissa Barrera) to Woodsboro.

The new victims go under the knife

When Sam gets a call from Wes Hicks (Dylan Minnette) about the attack on Tara, she hotfoots it to her hometown with her helpful boyfriend Richie (Jack Quaid) in tow. However, she's quickly interrogated by Tara's fiercely protective best friend Amber (Mikey Madison), and to be fair, it makes sense. Sam conveniently comes home the day after Tara is attacked? It seems too good to be true. Resident film nerds Chad (Mason Gooding) and Mindy Meeks-Martin (Jasmin Savoy Brown) are quick to point out Ghostface is involved, and everyone's a suspect — even the main character.

However, Sam left Woodsboro because she uncovered a dark family secret: She's the secret daughter of Billy Loomis (Skeet Ulrich), and what's even more terrifying is that she suffers from hallucinations of Billy himself. Obviously, this shifts her up to prime suspect number one, because Billy Loomis Jr.'s arrival in Woodsboro around the same time the killings is just far too suspicious.

What do you do when a new Ghostface starts hunting your family and friends? Well, you get help from someone with expertise, of course. Enter, Dewey Riley (David Arquette). The washed up former sheriff lives alone in his trailer, separated from Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox). He helps the new class of victims establish that the killer is trying to make his own 'requel' — a reboot/sequel, which plays on themes of the original, which is why he's going after anyone connected to the previous killing sprees. 

Ghostface even slaughters "Scream 4" alum Judy Hicks (Marley Shelton) and her son Wes in a stunningly tense sequence set inside the Hicks' house.

One of the original cast is killed defending Sam and Tara before the obligatory party

Look, it just wouldn't be a legacy sequel if one of the original characters didn't die in a sacrificial blaze of glory. The film is all about passing the torch, so obviously a fan-favorite character has to meet their end at some point. Gale Weathers is the second original character to show up in the film, arriving in Woodsboro to cover the news for her successful morning show. Although she divorced Dewey after "Scream 4," they reunite at the Hicks house, which gives them the opportunity to resolve the issues that drove them apart. Oh, no. Character development? You can see where this is going.

Ghostface obviously doesn't stop with the Hicks' family, making their way to the hospital where Tara is recovering so they can finish the job they started in the film's opening. Thankfully, Dewey shows up, shooting Ghostface in the chest several times so Sam can get Tara to safety. But as soon as he steps into the hallway, he's practically signed his own death sentence. The killer butchers Dewey with two knives, ripping his abdomen and back to shreds until he bleeds out on the floor. R.I.P. Dewey. Thankfully, Gale has Sidney to lean on for support — which is surprising, since they've always had an uneasy relationship over the years.

While all this is happening, the teenagers are holding a remembrance party for Wes in Stu Macher's (Matthew Lillard) old house — the place where the original finale happened. It wouldn't be "Scream" without a party now, would it? Although most of the partygoers leave after realizing they're practically begging to be killed by being there.

Welcome to Act 3

Chad is attacked by Ghostface, while various members of the group like Liv (Sonia Ben Ammar), Tara, and Richie go missing. But this is "Scream" we're talking about, so there are always going to be plenty of red herrings for the audience to over-analyze. Thankfully fans don't have to wait long for resolution, because in a moment of extreme paranoia in the group Amber whips out a gun and executes Liv at point blank range. "Welcome to Act 3," indeed.

But who's her accomplice? Well, the writers cleverly subvert a typical trope in the franchise, because surely it can't be the main character's boyfriend again, can it? Actually yes it can, as Richie outs himself to Sam, Sidney, and Gale as her accomplice. In typical "Scream" fashion, the two killers wax lyrical about their motives, and it's just about as meta as you'd expect. Amber and Richie are both disgruntled fans of the "Stab" franchise — you know, the movie-series-within-a-movie that's based on the events of the original movie. They bonded online over their shared hate for the most recent film, "Stab 8," before coming up with the idea for their own movie.

Amber and Richie go on their killing spree so the "Stab" franchise has fresh source material to work with going forward. By creating their own Ghostface, the duo hopes to essentially shape the narrative of the next film, believing that their ideas for a sequel are better than anything the studio will come up with. In Richie's own words, "Someone has to save the franchise." 

It's a clever maneuver from the writers, who are clearly taking pot-shots at specific fandoms in the real world who go on mass-hate campaigns when specific movies and sequels aren't to their liking.

Like father, like daughter

Although Amber and Richie feel like they've created a victim-proof plan to frame Sam as the new killer in their "Stab" 'requel' — they don't account for the fact that she has an inner darkness that is personified by the Billy Loomis hallucinations. It's a clever way of turning the deadly Loomis legacy into something positive, as Sam tells Richie he shouldn't "f*** with the daughter of a serial killer," before stabbing him over, and over.

Amber doesn't get away either, as Sidney and Gale tag team the teenage killer in the kitchen, knocking her back so she face-plants on the lit stovetop, setting her on fire. It's a horrifying fate for the disillusioned student, but it's also some sweet revenge for Gale. Since this is "Scream," we're all expecting the killers to get back up for one final scare, but we get yet another subversion here, as Sam unloads several shots into Richie's bloody body before that happens. 

Out of the new cast, there's a healthy batch of survivors — with Tara, Sam, Chad, and Mindy all making it out alive. After everything Sidney and Gale have been through over the years, they both deserve a happy ending — although Gale makes a point of saying she's not going to write about the killers. No, this time she's going to write about Dewey. She's arrived at a point where she doesn't need to memorialize the evil in the world; Gale's ready to honor those who always try to do good. 

Now that's character development.