An incredibly solid entry into an already strong franchise; if viewers didn't previously believe it's the most consistent horror series, they likely will now.
BY BECCA JOHNSON MARCH 12, 2023
Just a year and two months after the previous instalment, Scream VI has hit cinemas after a long spout of the coolest, hype-inducing marketing we've seen for a while. This time around, our new leads attempt to start afresh in New York City, until it becomes apparent that the danger has followed them all the way to the Big Apple. Scream VI has promised new rules in its new setting, a heavy focus on it's new set of characters and most importantly – bloodier kills. Does it deliver this?
It became quite clear after the events of Scream (2022) that there isn't as much room for our legacy characters, and that it may be time for some newbies to take the limelight. Luckily, the characters introduced to us last time are developed further in this instalment, and they are great. Jenna Ortega continues to impress in the horror genre, and has a lot more to do in this script compared to last year. She delivers an emotional performance, making Tara a final girl we can't help but root for. Again, Jasmin Savoy Brown and Mason Gooding are charming and hilarious as siblings Chad and Mindy Meeks-Martin, relatives of fan-favourite Randy. They deliver a lot of the fun that this movie has to offer, especially Mindy with her horror movie knowledge reminiscent of her Uncle's. However, don't be fooled – this is Samantha Carpenter's movie. Melissa Barrera really comes into her own for Scream VI, giving not only a career best performance but turning her character Sam into a ridiculously strong, deep and complex one. Her future in this franchise is very exciting. If the core four are the characters we will be following, we will be in great hands. Let's just hope they survive...
Of course, it wouldn't be a Scream movie without at least one or two returning characters. Courtney Cox once again reprises her role as Gale Weathers; though many would argue she is the least interesting of the original group, it's undeniably fun to have her back. The script doesn't utilise her as effectively as the previous movie, but she is given one of the greatest scenes as she finally receives her call directly from Ghostface. Going forward, it may be hard to find a place for her in future instalments, and her place in this one didn't always feel warranted. Back from what audiences thought was the dead is Kirby Reed, Hayden Panettiere reprising her role. Kirby, arguably the best character in Scream 4, doesn't get to be quite as fun as she was when we met her, but with Hayden's excellent performance and the character fitting into this setting well, it was a great choice to bring her back.
The new setting is just what this franchise needed to spruce things up a bit, and it was utilised very well. From a high-rise apartment chase scene to Ghostface appearing in a jam-packed subway carriage to cause havoc on our main characters, the New York setting forces our killer/s to be more public than ever. We may have to occasionally suspend disbelief when it comes to Ghostface not being seen or getting caught, but the bloody and gruesome kills mask this immediately. The goriest of the franchise to date, it never shys away from showing us the money shot, as our villain is more bloodthirsty and ruthless than we have ever seen. Full of blood, guts and death, Scream VI is a successful entry into the slasher genre if anything. It delivers on the large amount of chase scenes that fans wished for, and will easily impress wider horror lovers with it's attention to gore, despite it's kills lacking a little creativity.
This is certainly not a perfect movie, and it's script occasionally stops it from reaching true greatness. Where the writing never falters, however, is with our characters. Amongst all the chaos and bloodshed, they are developed particularly well which allows the audience to truly get behind them. The plot is also engaging enough; it's slightly slow to start, but once it gets going it's entertaining, fast-paced and incredibly tense. It delves into it's social commentary well, and although it's meta conversation on the rules and tropes of horror movies feels more forced than usual, it is present. The Ghostface shrine is a dark yet clever way for fans to look back at all the best bits of the series so far, highlighting all it's strong points and adding further to the meta element that we all know and love. The franchise is famous for it's opening scenes, and this may be one of the best. It subverts expectations within the first five minutes, letting us know we'll be in for one hell of a ride. However, it doesn't continue to subvert our expectations, and this is the movies main issue.
Unfortunately, Scream VI falls into familiar territory all too quickly, and once again, it's killer reveal during the third act is a little underwhelming. Scream movies have always had a certain amount of plot armour, but this instalment asks us to suspend more disbelief than usual. Characters survive that definitely shouldn't due to their injuries, Ghostface murders or attacks in broad daylight with no witnesses despite being in a busy city, and the motive of the killer/s and their ability to get away with it is nothing short of a long shot. Whilst this doesn't ruin the entire viewing experience, it does make us doubt whether more time should've been taken to develop the script and the awesome ideas the team had. Scream movies ultimately rely on their final reveal, and if this is underwhelming or hard to believe, the movie suffers.
Scream VI is an incredibly solid entry into an already strong franchise; if viewers didn't previously believe it's the most consistent horror series, they likely will now. The characters are interesting and backed by great performances from all involved, the kills are bloody and gory and the new setting was one of the best ideas this franchise has delivered in a long while. The movie is good enough to not let us miss Woodsboro or Sidney Prescott, two of the franchises best elements, so it has to be commended for this. The kills may not be the most creative and the reveal may cause the third act to be lacklustre, but it's still an extremely good time. It has fun like every other instalment, and creates excitement for what may come next.