Scream 5 Ending Explained: The Identity Of Ghostface And Their Motive In The Slasher Sequel

Neve Campbell as Sidney and Courteney Cox as Gale in Scream (2022)
(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains massive spoilers for Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett’s Scream. If you have not yet seen the film, proceed at your own risk.

 The Scream series is enjoyable on many different levels, but certainly ranking toward the top is the central Ghostface mystery. The meta commentary about the horror genre is fun, and we love to see surprising kills, but above all we want to know who it is that is wearing the mask. That’s been consistent throughout the first four chapters, and it remains the case with 2022’s sequel – which, naturally, features a killer ending.

Who is Ghostface in the new Scream, what are their motives, and how do they fit into the satire tradition of the franchise? We dive into all that in more in this feature – but, again, please only continue on if you’ve either seen the film, or you’re totally fine with all of the biggest surprises being spoiled!

Mikey Madison as Amber in Scream (2022)

(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

What Happens At The End Of Scream

With some movies it can be a challenge to precisely identify the beginning of the end, but Scream is meta enough to make the process hilariously easy. Films don’t typically announce out loud “Welcome to Act III,” but Amber (Mikey Madison) does exactly that, and she punctuates the sentiment by shooting Liv (Sonia Ammar) in the head – revealing herself as Ghostface #1.

Chaos erupts among the small group still at the party/left alive, and they all scatter. Sam (Melissa Barrera) and Richie (Jack Quaid) go down to the basement, but their unity is fractured when Richie reminds his girlfriend that there are always two killers. Sam pulls a knife on Richie, unable to trust him, and she goes back upstairs.

Sidney and Gale Arrive

Outside, Sidney (Neve Campbell) and Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox) arrive, tracked Sam to Amber’s party a.k.a. Stu Macher’s old house. Taking guns out of the trunk, they walk to the front door and Amber comes out calling for help. Sidney and Gale recognize it as a trap, but the killer is quick and shoots Gale in the stomach before running back inside. 

Sidney says they should go to the hospital, but Gale insists she press on for Dewey (David Arquette). Once inside, Sidney starts shooting doors, hoping to hit a hiding Ghostface.

Meanwhile, Sam discovers her sister, Tara (Jenna Ortega), tied up in a closet, and hesitates to unbind her – concerned that she may be the second killer.

On the second floor, Sidney gets a call from Ghostface, who says they are the “other one” (a.k.a. not Amber). They verbally spar, but Sidney hangs up before the killer is done taunting. Getting to another closet, she shoots and hits somebody inside – namely a hiding Richie, who takes a bullet in the leg.

Richie goes wide-eyed as he sees Ghostface sneaking up behind Sidney – and the two of them tumble over the railing down to the front hall of the house. The gun slides away, and there is a chase for it, but it’s Sam who ends up with it. She thinks she is safe as Richie hobbles down the stairs, but she is horrified when her boyfriend slides a knife into her side. He reveals that he took Tara’s inhaler as they were leaving the hospital, forcing Sam and Tara to stop at Amber’s.

The killers in 2022’s Scream, it’s finally revealed, are Amber Freeman and Richie Kirsch.

The Killers Execute Their Final Moves

Sam and Sidney are brought into the kitchen, and Amber goes outside to get Gale. Richie explains he was motivated to start his murder spree in Woodsboro as a means of repairing the Stab franchise, as he wants to bring the horror series back to basics – like being based on a true story. He further reveals that Sam is being set up as the villain, what with her being the illegitimate daughter of Billy Loomis (Skeet Ulrich).

It’s explained that Amber found this out because A) Woodsboro is small, and B) Sam’s mother is a drunk. She connected with Richie via Reddit, and he searched for Sam in Modesto – seducing her into a relationship as part of the murder plot. Sidney tries to go for a knife, but she gets stabbed in the gut.

Richie says that Sam should have listened to Dewey, who specifically warned them about significant others, and he gloats that he even got Sam to distrust Tara. This last bit turns out not to be true, however, as Amber discovers that Tara is missing, and Sam reveals that she did cut her loose, despite her hesitancy.

The Tables Are Turned

Coming out of nowhere, Tara starts beating Amber with one of her crutches, and Sam gets away. After being slammed to the ground, Amber fends off Tara and runs to the kitchen, but Gale and Sidney are there and ready. The teenager tries to apologize, saying that she was “radicalized,” but when that has no effect she lashes out and successfully knocks Sidney back and gets Gale on the ground.

Meanwhile, Richie is following a trail of Sam’s blood up the stairs.

Amber chokes Gale, telling her that it is time to pass the torch, and Gale exclaims, “It’s all yours bitch” before head-butting her into the gas range – causing some of the burners to turn on. Amber tries to play innocent a third time, but Sidney and Gale both shoot her, and the killer is set on fire and drops down. “Enjoy that torch,” Gale quips.

Out in the front hall, Sam is able to surprise Richie and the knife skitters away. They struggle, and Sam starts to crawl for the weapon. She gets to the blade and tells her soon-to-be-ex that she proposes a new rule: “never fuck with the daughter of a serial killer.”

Leaping at Richie, Sam savagely stabs him until he is a bloody mess. He weakly asks, “What about my ending?” to which she replies “Here it comes,” before slashing his throat.

Gale and Sidney warn about finishing off the killers, and Sam casually plugs three bullets into Richie. After a beat, a heavily burned Amber charges out of the kitchen with a knife, but it’s Tara who comes out of nowhere to put her down – announcing, “I still prefer The Babadook.”

The Aftermath

As emergency services arrive, we see that Mindy (Jasmin Savoy Brown) and her twin brother Chad (Mason Gooding) have survived, and Sam thanks Sidney and Gale for their help. The reporter decides that it is about time that she gets back into writing, and that she is going to write a book about the heroics of Woodsboro Sheriff Dwight “Dewey” Riley.

Sam goes to Tara’s ambulance, telling the younger sister that she is going to hold her hand all the way to the hospital.

Melissa Barrera as Sam Carpenter in Scream (2022)

(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

How The Scream Ending Fits The “Requel” Premise

From The Thing, to Jurassic Park, to Halloween, to Terminator, to Star Wars, modern franchises have deemed “requels” as the defining approach of the era – the term being a portmanteau of “remake” and “sequel.” The goal is to capture the energy/spirit of the classic original in a series, but approach it with an ensemble that mixes brand new protagonists with select legacy characters. It’s this Hollywood methodology that is the main target of the pop culture satire in 2022’s Scream, with the new film winking as it executes echoes of Wes Craven’s 1996 masterpiece.

Scream is consistent in its approach to the “requel” rules throughout the runtime… but we’re here to specifically discuss the ending, which is very much an extension of the satire. After all, fans will remember that the original movie also saw the climax of the story play out in Stu Macher’s house. That being said, the new chapter takes the familiar and constantly adds twists to the mix.

A perfect example of this is Amber’s stumble outside to meet Sidney and Gale – which is reminiscent of Dewey stumbling out the door in the first movie. Obviously the difference is that Dewey really got stabbed in the back, and in the new film Amber is just faking.

2022’s Scream also mirrors 1996’s by having the big culmination of the killers’ plan unfold in the kitchen, with a tied up hostage being a kind of cherry on top. But while Billy Loomis and Stu Macher were successful in keeping Sidney’s dad taped up, Richie doesn’t suspect that Sam would free Tara – and it’s the biggest mistake he makes.

Finally there is the aftermath. In the development of the original Scream, Deputy Dewey was essentially saved by test audiences, as positive responses to his character during the film’s post-production resulted in him surviving his knife to the back. In the “requel,” the stakes are raised because Dewey is successfully murdered by Ghostface (specifically Amber), but still there is an echo with Mindy and Chad at the very end – both of Randy Meeks’ cousins alive and set to be carted off to a hospital.

Of course, one of the extra interesting things about “requels” is their tendency to spawn a fresh series of their own, and now Scream is in a prime position to do exactly that. Sam, Tara, Mindy, and Chad are all established as survivors who could make a comeback in a sequel – we’ll just have to wait and see if the film is successful enough to warrant continuance.

Scream is now playing in theaters everywhere. Check out our Scream movie rankings to learn how we view all of the films in the franchise in head-to-head comparison, and to learn about all of the scary movies heading to theaters and streaming in the coming months, head on over to our Upcoming Horror guide.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.