What to watch | A horror franchise returns to form, a tall teenage girl's dating struggles and an awesome nature doccie

The Ghostface killer is back in the fifth Scream movie. (PHOTO: Gallo Images/Alamy)
The Ghostface killer is back in the fifth Scream movie. (PHOTO: Gallo Images/Alamy)

Scream *****

Horror. With Melissa Barrera, ­Mason Gooding and Jenna Ortega. Directors: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett.

Twenty-five years after the first series of murders took place in the small US town of Woodsboro, a new killer wearing the Ghostface mask attacks student Tara (Ortega), which brings her estranged sister, Sam (Barrera from In the Heights), back home.

Sam is reunited with Tara’s friends, including Mindy (Jasmin ­Savoy Brown), and turns to retired sheriff Dewey Riley (David Arquette) for help. 

Dewey feels obliged to inform the original killer’s target, Sidney (Neve Campbell), as well as his ex-wife, reporter Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox), about the new murders, which draws them both back to try to uncover the truth. 

Though it’s the fifth film in the franchise, like the new Candyman (2021) Scream does away with the numeral, signalling it’s a “requel” or a legacy sequel, a new style of sequel that’s been popping up over the past few years. 

These films follow the continuity of the first movie but take place years later and focus on new main characters, although some of the original stars return to add prestige and nostalgia. 

The first Scream set the benchmark for clever, self-­referential slasher movies that were scary but also played with genre clichés. 

This fifth instalment is a delight and fans won’t be disappointed. Once again it pokes fun at contemporary horror films – in this case the current trend of so-called elevated horror such as Hereditary (2018) – as well as entitled fans who spew hate on the internet when sequels don’t live up to their childhood fantasies. 

The film’s young heroes use new technology and apps to try to survive the murder spree but their methods can’t compete with the original survivors’ wit and experience. 

In one tongue-in-cheek call-back to the first film, horror expert Mindy tells her friends there’s a new set of rules for a requel they must follow to survive, and it’s lots of fun to watch this unfold. 

But seeing Gale, Dewey and Sydney team up again to save the day makes watching this worthwhile even if you’re not a fan of slasher movies. 

Late horror icon Wes Craven, who directed the first four films, would’ve been proud.


2022. 114 MIN. 18HLV. AT THE CINEMA.

Tall Girl ***

Anjelika Washington, Ava Michelle, Tall Girl
Anjelika Washington (left) and Ava Michelle in Tall Girl. (PHOTO: Netflix)

Romantic comedy. American teen Jodi (Ava Michelle), the tallest girl in her high school, has always felt ­uncomfortable in her own skin. 

Then she meets Stig (Luke Eisner), a seemingly perfect Swedish foreign-exchange student who’s even taller than she is. Jodi’s new crush turns her world upside down and throws her into a surprising love triangle. 

After years of slouching, being made fun of and avoiding attention at all costs, Jodi finally decides to find the confidence to stand tall.

With the help of best friends ­Fareeda (Anjelika Washington) and Jack (Locke & Key’s Griffin Gluck), as well as beauty queen sister Harper (Sabrina Carpenter), Jodi realises she’s more than her insecurities.

Director Nzingha Stewart has ­directed several punchy episodes of popular TV shows such as Grey’s Anatomy, Pretty Little Liars and How To Get Away with Murder, but her feature-film directorial debut is somewhat watered down and a little bland.

But Michelle, in her debut role, is an outstanding role model for teens and the movie delivers the important message about loving and ­accepting yourself. Tall Girl also ­succeeds in high-lighting how unkind the world can be to young adults, an important ­issue that requires continuous representation and advocacy. 



The Green Planet

Green Planet
The relationship between plants and animals is explored in BBC's new doccie. (PHOTO: BBC Earth)

When it comes to nature documentaries, no one can beat the BBC. With extraordinary camera work that swoops and dives through habitats, zoning in on tiny details and speeding up to show plant growth, soaring ­music that makes the action feel as exhilarating as any blockbuster, and the comforting, engaging tones of David Attenborough, the BBC’s ­series are the best of the best. 

This time the focus is on plants, which are responsible for all life on Earth. Think that sounds boring? Well, images showing leaves unfurling, flowers popping open with dazzling colours and adaptations that have evolved to capture unsuspecting bugs are as nail-biting and mind-­boggling as anything you’ll see in a big-budget sci-fi movie. 

Consisting of five episodes that each examine a different environment and how plants survive in it – from human and tropical to seasonal and desert – the series also looks at the relationship between plants and animals, including humans. 

It shows how we’ve sent certain plants to the edge of extinction but also offers hope in examples of conservationists fighting to preserve and restore biodiversity. 

The series could even make you look differently at and possibly even admire weeds, or as Attenborough calls them, pioneers. Entertaining, informative and ­topical, The Green Planet is not to be missed!


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