Scream VI – Film Review

Directors: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett

Writers: James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick

Starring: Melissa Barrera, Jasmin Savoy Brown, Mason Gooding, Dermot Mulroney, Jenna Ortega, Samara Weaving, Hayden Panettiere, and Courtney Cox

Rating: ★★★½

After Scream (2022) proved that there was still life in the franchise, it took just over a year for Scream VI to happen, with Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett returning as directors, as well as James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick writing the script. Sadly, a lot of the build up to the film was overshadowed by Neve Campbell not returning due to a contract dispute, and while she is missed, this entry does prove that Scream can survive without Sidney Prescott.

The tagline for this film is ‘New York, new rules’ and the opening definitely lives up to that. It completely subverts expectations and does something completely different, in more ways than one. It’s a wake-up call that this isn’t going to be the same as what’s come before. It’s shocking, brutal and very bloody. Ghostface is incredibly aggressive in this film, chasing the Core Four (which is the name that the survivors of 2022 have given themselves) constantly. The kills are brutal, and there’s a lot less comedy in this one than there is in the previous entries. It’s all about tension and violence. As the film progresses it does venture into very safe territory, re-treading elements of the previous films and not being as ambitious as the opening would have you believe it would be. Essentially this is to Scream 2 what 2022 was to the original.

That’s not to say there’s not absolutely great moments in the film, because there really is. There’s a long sequence with Gale being chased around her apartment that will have you on the edge of your seat holding your breath. There’s a shrine to Ghostface that is brilliant, with so many references to what’s come before, and that’s where the excellent finale takes place. An early scene in a little shop, that’s completely ruined by the trailer, is filled with tension and shows how aggressive Ghostface is straight away. The core characters are great and the way they deal with what’s happened in the past is really well done. They all deal with grief in a different way and they’ve changed a lot because of what happened to them.

At the same time it doesn’t have the edge that 2022 had. Maybe it’s too soon for another sequel, but this one lacks the same bite. There’s moments in 2022 that really hits like a gut punch every time you see it, and there’s nothing close that in this one. The new characters are essentially there to boost the kill count, which is even stated by Mindy, and there not that memorable unlike the ones introduced last time. There’s a neat look at online conspiracy theorists within the story, but it’s not that important to the plot, and it would have been nice to explore that even further.

While Sidney isn’t back, fan-favourite Kirby Reed (Hayden Panettiere) makes a reappearance after surviving Scream 4. This time around she’s an FBI agent who had been studying the Ghostface murders, and has been keeping tabs on the Carpenter sisters after the 2022 murders. Courtney Cox also reappears as Gale Weathers, doing exactly what you’d expect Gale Weathers to do, following the story and writing books about what’s happened before. Weathers is the only character from the original to make an appearance, and it’s very clear that she isn’t safe. After the last film the stakes are high, and anyone can be killed at any point.

Overall Scream VI is another solid entry to the franchise. It’s tense, bloody, and does stray a little from the formula that the series is known for. It’s not as strong as Scream (2022), but it’s still a worthy sequel and hopefully there will be more.

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About ashleymanningwriter

Young Adult Fiction writer. Horror and fantasy blended together.
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