Time: 122 Minutes
Age Rating: graphic violence & content that may disturb
Melissa Barrera as Sam Carpenter
Jasmin Savoy Brown as Mindy Meeks-Martin
Jack Champion as Ethan Landry
Henry Czerny as Christopher Stone
Mason Gooding as Chad Meeks-Martin
Liana Liberato as Quinn Bailey
Dermot Mulroney as Wayne Bailey
Devyn Nekoda as Anika Kayoko
Jenna Ortega as Tara Carpenter
Tony Revolori as Jason Carvey
Josh Segarra as Danny Brackett
Samara Weaving as Laura Crane
Hayden Panettiere as Kirby Reed
Courteney Cox as Gale Weathers
Director: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett
Four survivors of the Ghostface murders leave Woodsboro behind for a fresh start in New York City. However, they soon find themselves in a fight for their lives when a new killer embarks on a bloody rampage.
Recently I watched through all the Scream movies and was finally prepared to check out Scream 5. While not one of the better movies in the franchise, I did enjoy it, and it was pretty good as far as legacy sequels go. The Ready or Not directors would also be returning to direct the sixth movie, and I was ready to watch my first Scream movie in the cinemas. Scream VI ended up pretty good, and a notable improvement over the last movie.
With the exception of Scream 3 and 4, most of the Scream openings are great. However, the beginning of Scream VI rivals the original for the best beginning scene. A notable part of the movie which has been hyped up is the fact that it doesn’t take place in Woodsboro, but instead in New York City. This really isn’t the first time a Scream movie has taken place outside of Woodsboro, since they did that for its second and third movies. However, you do feel a greater scale in Scream VI, and you get environments and set pieces not seen in previous movies. Scream VI benefits from its strong focus on the story and its main characters. The story itself is fast paced enough, but spends enough time with its characters. An aspect present throughout the movies was the meta commentary, but there doesn’t appear to be much of it here. Most of it is relegated to Mindy (Jasmin Savoy-Brown) talking about horror movie tropes in a few scenes, otherwise its not present much. Scream VI is really more a commentary of its own franchise and I was actually fine with it. The third act here isn’t as crazy as 2022’s but is more controlled and character motivated, and I enjoyed it. I think that a lot of people will have problems with the Ghostface reveals. While I admit my predictions weren’t entirely correct (compared to most people online who apparently figured it out quickly), it did feel somewhat underwhelming. Still, it does make sense in the story and is better fleshed out than most other Ghostface reveals. It doesn’t just pull a Scream 3 and introduce a long-lost secret brother of the protagonist and just expect the audience to roll with it. Something that’s always been a thing in the Scream movies is the high number of close calls during Ghostface attacks. Despite it being more grounded in realism compared to other modern slashers, there’s many instances of characters being attacked in ways that should kill them, yet they somehow survive. While this isn’t exactly a new thing, with the increased brutality over the first four movies, it really makes it harder to take seriously. Scream VI takes this to new levels of ridiculousness, and it can take you out of the movie a little. On a larger problem though, it does feel very safe for all its increased violence and a Ghostface who’s apparently “one like you’ve never seen before”, especially looking at the death. While some of these movies opt to move in bold directions, Scream VI aims to honour the series instead. While my instinct is usually to go against this, it still works for what it is.
There are some returning actors from the original 4 Scream movies, but not many. Of the main trio, it’s just Courteney Cox as Gale Weathers who appears here, playing a very small supporting role in the plot. The more prominent returning actor would be Hayden Panettiere as Kirby Reed who was assumed dead at the end of Scream 4. However, she was brought back for this movie, and it was great seeing her again; she plays off the other characters really well. The four surviving characters from Scream 5 return as the leads, and if there’s one thing that Scream VI gets right, it’s that it shows that even though the movie doesn’t have Dewey or Sidney and not a whole lot of Gale, these four can carry a film themselves. They have such great chemistry together and felt convincing as friends. Melissa Barrera is much better here as protagonist Sam Carpenter, and the movie fully takes advantage of the darker aspects with her being the daughter of Billy Loomis, which does well at setting her apart from Sidney Prescott as a protagonist. The only bad thing I can say about her character is that the film keeps adding in hallucination scenes with her dead father, which the movies really could’ve done without. The other three characters also get expanded on more. Jenna Ortega continues to give one of the best performances in the Scream movies (especially during the horror scenes), and the twins Mindy and Chad played by Jasmin Savoy-Brown and Mason Gooding also get to do a lot more here. Other actors like Dermot Mulroney, Jack Champion, Josh Segarra and Samara Weaving work in their parts too.
The Ready or Not directors (Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett) are back, and their work in Scream VI is a notable improvement over Scream 5, even though that was already a well-made movie. It has some great camerawork and cinematography with really good uses of colour. There are some strong set pieces, sequences and locations, and the setting change certainly allowed them to do a lot more. While Scream 5’s tension wasn’t that great, Scream VI is much better at this, with some genuinely suspenseful scenes. Brian Tyler returns to compose the score after his work in Scream 5, and again it’s pretty solid.
Even if it’s a little safe, Scream VI is another entertaining and strong entry in the franchise, with some memorable horror set pieces, and a great cast and direction. With 6 entries in the franchise, Scream seems to be one of the only horror franchises that remains strong on the whole. While I do wonder how long it’ll sustain this streak, I’m definitely open to watching even more of them.