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"I still prefer The Babadook."
—Tara to Amber Freeman


Tara Carpenter is the deuteragonist of Scream (2022 film) and its untitled sequel (2023). She is portrayed by Jenna Ortega. While home alone, the "elevated horror" fan becomes the first target of the 2021 Legacy Killings. Despite this, she survives, an inverse to the tradition of the previous four film openings.

Her survival is intentional, however. She is lured as live bait for her estranged, elder sister Sam Carpenter. Sam returns and reveals she is actually her half-sister (maternally), as Sam is original Ghostface, Billy's daughter. The revelation caused Tara's biological father to abandon them both (when Tara was around 8). The estranged sisters put the past behind them to survive the 25th anniversary killings, where Tara's Woodsboro High friendship group are suspects.

Tara's life is also saved by original legacy survivor, Dewey Riley, who sacrifices his life to save her. Her Asthma condition and required inhaler become a key element to the film's climax. Her best friend, Amber Freeman, and Sam's boyfriend, both a secret romantic couple, worked together to plan the honorary requel murders. Tara kills Amber in revenge.

Based on the date of birth shown on her hospital wristband, her age in the fifth film is 18 turning 19. She most likely repeated one grade of high school, and her sister Sam, who allegedly abandoned her on her 18th birthday, actually left Woodsboro closer to 19 than 18. Although a production error, both remain a possibility.

Biography

Early Life

Tara's wristband reveals she was born 12/14/2002.

Tara was born to Mr. Carpenter and Christina Carpenter on December 14, 2002 and grew up adoring her older sister, Sam, who is 5 years older than her.

In mid-late December 2010, Sam was 13 and discovered that their legal father was not her biological father, making Sam and Tara maternal half-siblings.

As a result of exposing this information, Tara's father left the family that night. Sam then eventually went down a downward spiral for the next approximate 5 year period (almost 6 years most likely), eventually abandoning her family.

She allegedly left on her 18th birthday according to Amber at the bar, but it is likely to be when she was almost (or turned) 19, sometime in 2016, as the fifth film occurs in late-2021, five years after she left.

It is possible Amber, who is later revealed to be the eighth Ghostface killer, said she left as soon as she turned 18 to exaggerate Sam's flawed qualities to arise suspicion in her from her friends. (See: Timeline)

2021 Woodsboro Legacy Murders

Almost 25 years after the original Woodsboro Massacre and 10 years after the Second Woodsboro Murders, Tara is a young, 18-year-old adult. She is under 3 months shy of her 19th birthday. As a legal adult, she was left alone at the Carpenter Residence while her mother Christina was at a conference in London.

Tara speaks to "Charlie".

She gets a call on the landline from a man at 9:27pm on Thursday, 23rd September 2021. The man identifies himself as "Charlie" (possible Easter egg reference to the Stab 8 Flamethrower adaptation of the sixth revealed Ghostface killer, Charlie Walker), a friend of her mother's from "group". She finds the wording of "group" curious, and ponders to know whether it is drug or alcoholism-affiliated.

Tara casually speaks with the man, who has a calm, friendly and husky voice. In a friendly way, he reveals that her mother said she likes horror movies. Tara goes along with the conversation and eventually he asks Tara if she wants to play a game.

Tara tries to ignore the call, but the killer sends her a video of her best friend, Amber Freeman, revealing that he'll kill her if she doesn't play his game. Tara plays along and she is forced to answer trivia questions about the Stab movies. She loses on a question when she forgets to mention that Stu Macher was also a killer in the original, and the Killer breaks into her house.

Tara tries to flee but the killer (soon revealed to be Amber) breaks her leg and then stabs her seven times before being interrupted by the police. Tara is taken to hospital, and the next day Samantha returns to Woodsboro, California when she is called by Tara's friend, Wes Hicks. Sam visits Tara in the hospital and the two make amends. However, this is short-lived, as Samantha gets a call from Ghostface (Amber), taunting her over the knowledge that "he" knows her little secret. Sam then reveals to her younger sister she is the daughter of Billy Loomis, and this causes a rift between the two again.

Tara attacked on the private floor.

Tara is moved to a private hospital floor and room after Sam's attack, initiated by Sheriff Judy Hicks. However, she is left unattended by the Deputies, and one named Deputy Keith, her assigned post-guard is throat slashed by Ghostface. As a result of this, Ghostface breaks into the hospital to finish her off. Tara attempts to flee and is temporarily "saved" by Richie Kirsch, Samantha's boyfriend.

However, Ghostface (Amber) knocks him "unconscious" and then uses Tara's phone to call Samantha and force her to choose between Richie or Tara. Samantha and Dewey Riley arrive at the hospital and shoot at Ghostface/Amber. As Sam, Richie and Tara leave, Dewey stays behind to finish off the killer, meeting his maker. However, Dewey is killed in the process. As a result, Sam decides it's time to leave Woodsboro and she, Richie and Tara drive off.

As they leave, Richie steals Tara's inhaler in secret. Having lost her inhaler, she asks them to stop at Amber's to get a spare one, unaware that Amber's house is 261 Turner Lane, the house formerly belonging to Stu Macher. Amber and Tara go off to get the inhaler. When Mindy Meeks-Martin is attacked, a fight breaks out amongst the group and Amber reveals herself as a killer. Liv, tired of being accused, yells that she is not the killer, and Amber says, "I know" before whipping out a gun to shoot her in the head. As everyone stands in horror, they disperse from her.

Red Herring Tie Up and Gagged: An homage to Neil Prescott in the original Scream (1996 film), and also Trevor Sheldon in Scream 4 (2011 film).

Amber ties Tara up, tapes her mouth shut, and traps her in a closet and Richie, now revealing himself as the second killer, attempts to make Sam doubt Tara. Unbeknownst to them, Samantha has untied Tara, and she threatens Richie and Amber before killing Amber. Tara attacks Amber with her crutches and cries while doing so. Strangely, Amber does not use excessive force as with her other victims, as she seemingly knocks her unconscious.

Gale Weathers and Sidney Prescott, who have tracked Tara's sister down to 261 Turner Lane, are injured and cornered by Amber amidst this. After Sidney and Gale co-team to set Tara's former friend on fire with a burning stove in the kitchen, they rejoin Samantha in the living room area. After Richie is stabbed multiple times to death in defense by her sister, Gale, Sidney and Samantha take a look at the bloodshed around them.

S22-Unmasked-56.jpg

Amber, however, is half-burnt to crisp and rises, screaming with a knife as she launches an attack on the three individuals. Amber charges towards them only to be expertly shot directly in the head by Tara, whom regain consciousness after Amber's attack. As reporters dish on the murders, Tara is loaded into the back of an ambulance, and she leaves with Samantha. In a humorous-to-the-audience way, she asks to go to a different hospital.

Committed Murders

AmberDeath.jpeg Amber Freeman Burnt alive and shot through the head Scream (2022)

Relationships

Family

Allies

Enemies

Quotes

Big sister protection: Sam and Tara.

  • "It's an amazing meditation on motherhood and grief". (About the 2014 horror film, The Babadook).
  • "It's elevated horror. You know, it's like scary, but with complex emotional and thematic underpinnings."
  • "It is Gale Weathers, you motherfucker!"
  • "I got it right!" (Easter egg reference to Kirby Reed's Remake Call in Scream 4)
  • "I still prefer The Babadook"
  • "I'm so high right now"
  • "I need you to GET THE FUCK OUT!"

Trivia

  • Her character name was confirmed by HelloSidney.com in January 2021. [1]
  • She and Tara are the first sister characters to be introduced in the series together, both alive. The first sister dynamic introduced in general were Maureen and Kate Roberts.
  • Her Zodiac sign is Sagittarius.
  • Her phone battery is 96%, a reference to the release date year of the original Scream.
  • In the original script and in casting calls, she was depicted as a lesbian, and the ex-girlfriend of Amber Freeman (later revealed to be a bisexual psychopath). These elements were removed in the theatrical release, rendering it non-canon. Mindy Meeks-Martin has also been confirmed to be the first explicit and canon LGBTQ character in the Scream film series (the second being Frances).
    • It is still possible the character of Tara will be revealed to be a lesbian in a future film, however.
  • Her age is a glaring continuity error unresolved and unspoken by the directors, Matt and Tyler. She is explicitly noted as 5 years younger than Sam Carpenter, the biological daughter of Billy Loomis murdered in 1996, and the events of the film are allegedly almost "25 years later to the day" of his murder, hence 2021 (another reference to 2021 is made with Stab as a digital release on Youtube). Despite this, she is still in high school. Even if Sam were born 9 months after Billy's near-murder, her age is still a mistake.
    • To rectify this, it is possible she is a high school senior grade repeat, or the film takes place one year earlier (despite an on-screen reference being 2021). Her wristband reveals she was born 12/14/2002, revealing she is turning 19, and one year older than a traditionally aged senior.
    • For more: see Timeline.
  • She has strong references to Casey Becker.
    • In the photoshoot, Tara’s scene in the kitchen of her house standing by the knife rack and answering a home phone while by it is a direct homage to Casey Becker’s scene in the original Scream.
    • Like Casey, she was taunted and harassed and forced to answer horror trivia questions to save her life.
    • Like Casey, she has to answer the horror trivia questions to save her partner's (Amber, if other than friendship) life.
    • Like Casey, she punched and kicked ghostface in defense.
    • Like Casey, she was stabbed multiple times.
      • Unlike Casey Becker, she survives. The fact that she survived and became a final girl makes the requel of the film further connect Casey Becker and Sidney Prescott's hybrids between these two characters. This fulfills the original intention of what Wes wanted for Drew Barrymore to play out as a final girl. (She survives due to her other strong references to Sidney)
  • She has some strong references to the 17-year-old Sidney (due to her surviving and being a final girl).
    • Like Sidney, she attempts to go out the front door during her original chase.
    • Like Sidney, she succeeds in kicking ghostface in defense and knocking them off his (or her) feet.
    • Like Sidney, she was able to contact the cops in time of her attack.
    • Like Sidney, she has a close friend, Amber (like Tatum for Sidney) who is more concerned for her then other friends.
    • Like Sidney, she is flipped over the sofa in the 261 Turner Lane household by the killer when attempting to defend herself.
    • Like Sidney, she shoots the killer in the head, killing them, and remarks her movie preference.
  • Tara is the first "opening kill victim" to survive a Ghostface attack in the entire Scream franchise, including the television series. The "death" is simply an attack, revealed in the aftermath of the title card. This twists a tradition spanning the first four films.
    • The character of Becky from the TV Series in Season 3 does not count, as she was never targeted, but was simply a red herring for the audience (and if the logic was simply appearing in the opening, other characters, such as the Beckers would be considered survivors). Though both plot elements carry similar themes.
  • Tara being taunted by Ghostface, by getting asked trivia is an homage to the original while also attacking her as well as to various characters in the openings of the films in and throughout the franchise.
  • Tara had the killer breaching her home’s security by unlocking the doors while she saw it through her phone’s home security app. This is similar to Emma Duval from the TV series being threatened by the Lakewood Slasher in the second episode of the first season “Hello, Emma”; wherein the killer calls, posing as a home security caller of her house, only to taunt her by keeping her on the phone about whether she locked the killer inside or out.
  • Tara’s confrontation with Ghostface in the trailer, via text message and through the phone call, are perhaps references to the opening of Scream 4 and of the film within the film Stab 6, where the characters Sherrie and Trudie deal with the killer taunting them through cat fishing and stalking Trudie on Facebook, texting her and making phone calls; which lead to them opening the front door, and Ghostface appearing and killing Trudie from the inside in the back, while Sherrie is killed running through the door up front. Similar to Tara albeit that was from a film within a film.
  • Neil Prescott homage: Sam discovers her mouth taped and tied up in a closet. She is the second reference to the character, after Trevor Sheldon.
  • Tara’s floor crawl across after being stabbed by Ghostface whilst trying to escape is likely an homage to Tatum Riley, Maureen Evans and Jenny Randall, in which the leads all find themselves trying to escape their killers after being attacked.

Gallery

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Tara Carpenter has a Photo Gallery.

Appearances

Character Guide

References

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