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Film Review: ‘Scream VI’ Heads to the Big Apple with the Core Four for the Bloodiest Installment Yet

Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures

Now six films in, the Scream franchise has managed a remarkable run of quality. In particular, after the last effort, simply titled Scream, was as good as it was, expectations for another sequel were higher than most horror series that go on this long. It’s a testament to how fun and meta the genre flicks are, veering towards horror comedies at times, even. Now, we have Scream VI following the prior film going in such an interesting new direction. While it can’t maintain all of the freshness from the last movie, it’s still a top-notch slasher, one that clearly is enjoying playing around with various tropes. Bring on another sequel!

Scream VI is tackling the concept of legacy sequels again, even acknowledging that it’s a sequel itself. Along with a change in setting to New York City, there’s an evolution of the franchise’s feel. That and the film might be the most violent one to date, which is really saying something. If I found it less surprising than the last one, the movie still almost entirely works, with any nitpicks being of the fairly small variety.

Paramount Pictures

Taking place a year after the last installment, we have a vicious new opening set-piece and kills, only hinting at what Ghostface is up to this time. Having moved to New York City, Sam Carpenter (Melissa Barrera) is dealing with the trauma of the latest massacre in Woodsboro, while still looking out for her sister Tara Carpenter (Jenna Ortega). Tara is now in college alongside sibling friends Chad Meeks-Martin (Mason Gooding) and Mindy Meeks-Martin (Jasmin Savoy Brown). Whatever new life they’re working on in the Big Apple is threatened when not only do they realize Ghostface is back, but the killings are sending a message to Sam.

The group, along with Tara’s roommate Quinn Bailey (Liana Liberato) and Chad’s roommate Ethan (Jack Champion) sets the rules in place, hoping to survive. Aiding them is Quinn’s father, Detective Bailey (Dermot Mulroney), as well as two returning survivors. Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox) is back, as is Kirby Reed (Hayden Panettiere). However, this Ghostface is different, more brutal, and intent on punishment. Is anyone safe this time around?

Paramount Pictures

The core four have officially become characters I care about as much as the original group. Sam, Tara, Mindy, and Chad have distinct personalities, while the cast has great chemistry together. Melissa Barrera is again the lead, with her relationship with Jenna Ortega essential. Barrera in particular is a force, while Ortega is even better this time around. The same goes for Mason Gooding and Jasmin Savoy Brown, the former being incredibly charming, while the latter being a comedic highlight. Her setting up of the rules is once again a tremendous scene. It’s nice to still have Courteney Cox around, while bringing in Hayden Panettiere is fun, even if she doesn’t function too differently than a new character would have. Newcomers like Jack Champion, Liana Liberato, and Dermot Mulroney pull their weight, while it’s great to hear Roger Jackson. The rest of the cast includes Devyn Nekoda, Tony Revolori, Josh Segarra, Samara Weaving, and more.

Returning directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, along with returning writers Guy Busick and James Vanderbilt, are undoubtedly fusing the Scream sensibilities with their own. It creates largely positive results, as well as fuels the franchise to continue moving forward. They aren’t afraid of sacred cows or big swings, that’s for sure. They miss from time to time here (with a slightly bloated running time, to boot), and arguably don’t make enough use of the New York setting (outside of an incredibly intense subway sequence), but it’s still creatively vivid filmmaking.

Scream VI didn’t quite blow me away like last time, but it’s still wildly entertaining and an excellent slasher. Upping the violence and upping the stakes the last two films from the Radio Silence directing team has allowed the franchise to stay vibrant. As long as the Scream movies continue like this, I’m keen for the series to continue living on. Ghostface sure doesn’t seem done with us just yet…

SCORE: ★★★


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12 days ago

I hope you don’t mean 5, because there was absolutely nothing fresh about 5. But there were certainly elements that were subversive in a bad way:

-The opening victim survived, but no twist. The opening sequence was lackluster all-around (other than Jenna Ortega’s performance).

-They kill off one of the main trio, but it’s done in such a lame way with a rushed aftermath to boot.

-The motive is fresh and timely, but also silly and weak.


[…] Magidson of Awards Radar also praises the film but notes “it can’t maintain all of the freshness from the last movie, […]



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