Review: Scream VI

When creating a franchise, you need to make sure that each film stands out cause if not, the audience will quickly turn their back on you. When director Wes Craven (Shocker, Cursed) decided to release Scream in 1996, he probably didn’t know that the Scream movies would become one of the most loved horror franchises. We’re six films in, which is rarely given that franchises seldom have more than three movies. Isn’t a six Scream movie just a bit too much? Let’s find out!

Scream 6
From left, Melissa Barrera, Jenna Ortega, Jasmin Savoy Brown and Mason Gooding in “Scream VI.” // CREDIT: Paramount Pictures

New York: The city that never sleeps

Set a year after Scream (2022), half-sisters Tara (Jenna Ortega) and Sam (Melissa Barrera) move from Woodsboro to Big Apple alongside fellow survivors Chad (Mason Gooding) and Mindy (Jasmin Savoy Brown). They hope to finally escape their past, move forward and enjoy their lives. However, it seems that dread and murder find them wherever they go. Soon after their arrival, a series of brutal murders happen, inspired by Ghostface, the Stab movies and everything that has to do with it. Someone is continuing the work of the likes such as Billy Loomis, Roman Bridger, Jill Roberts and Stu Macher and again, the “core four,” as the group calls themselves, fear for their lives.

However, with Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox) and former classmate/now FBI detective Kirby Reed (Hayden Panettiere), they decide to try and get rid of Ghostface once and for all, but during Halloween night, New York is full of people in Ghostface costumes. Will they be able to find the real killer and bring him to justice?

The perfect combination of nostalgia and modern aspects

When watching Scream VI, it’s clear that this movie wants to honour its predecessors in the best way possible. Think of the massive shrine the killer has set up, Mindy’s monologue about the different elements of a horror slasher movie and the many subtle and not-so-subtle mentions of horror classics. But it’s not all about tradition in this movie. No, by swapping Woodsboro for New York, the filmmakers can use brand-new ideas. A bigger city, more people, and more potential victims all lead to a more inventive, bloodier and funnier film.

Ghostface in Scream VI // credits: Paramount Pictures

While the ‘core four’ certainly has more fun in this movie, they can’t fully enjoy it because Ghostface is always right behind them. With a higher population, the Big Apple is the perfect playground for Ghostface and directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin (Ready or Not, Devil’s Due) and Tyler Gillett (V/H/S, Ready or Not). This is highlighted during the subway scene and the bloody and adrenaline-fueled climax. We even dare to say that Scream VI might have the best opening scene since the first movie. We don’t see much of Samara Weaving (The Babysitter, Babylon), but she undoubtedly impacts with her strong performance. 

A new environment, the same old great performances

Speaking of solid performances, both Barrera (In the Heights, Carmen) and Ortega (X, The Fallout) absolutely carry this movie. You might not have liked Sam in Scream (2022), but we’re confident you will change your mind when watching this film. Ghostface having even more rage and a sharper tongue and knife ensures that Sam has to step up her game, and Barrera does that. Her fierce, strong and clever performance ensures you will sympathize and root for Sam.

Barrera’s on-screen sisterhood with Ortega is extremely powerful. This is also because Ortega is in top form. After being stuck in the hospital for most of the previous film, she now gets to shine, and that’s precisely what she does! She’s finally allowed to have fun, stab around and bring out the badass in her. Do we have a new scream queen on her hands? Maybe not, cause Tara still feels a bit underdeveloped.

Because Sidney Prescott didn’t return to this movie, Gale Weathers gets a lot more screen time, and Cox (Scream, 3000 Miles to Graceland) certainly grabs that opportunity with both hands! Weathers is finally standing face-to-face with Ghostface, resulting in a standout scene and a knockout performance by Cox. She brings both power and humour to this movie. While the return of Panettiere (Custody, The Forger) as Kirby is wonderful to see, her excellent acting doesn’t come through as much due to the unfortunate wig and mainly supporting role. It’s only during that climax scene that Panettiere can show us what she got.

Courtney Cox - Scream 6
Courtney Cox in Scream VI // Credits: Paramount Pictures

Scream is bloodier, creepier and funnier than ever!

After the release of Scream (2022), fans were questioning how the franchise could stay alive after Craven’s death. With his death, we lost a master in horror, but directors Gillett and Bettinilli-Olpin know what they’re doing. They have proven that by creating a frighting 2022 film and even bloodier, creepier, funnier Scream VI. Thanks to the many plot twists that certainly keep you on your toes, the standout performances, and the many wonderful easter eggs, the Scream franchise is still very much alive!

Scream VI is out now in U.K. cinemas

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Also Read: The Future of Scream Without Sidney Prescott

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