The Scream franchise had its pseudo-official reboot in Scream V, or as Jasmin Savoy Brown’s character, Mindy Meeks-Martin put it from the last film in the series, a “re-quel.” Rules were laid out, and ‘legacy’ characters were all on the chopping block for the infamous serial slasher Ghostface.
The best parts of this new era for Scream have been how much it has changed its focus on humouring the past films and their tropes while branching off into new ones. It has shown how the series is a great film for the genre, but in an enjoyable experience parallel to what the Fast and the Furious films are to racing and action movies. The meta-commentary on horror movies of old is still active in this film.
While this film had some pretty gruesome stabbings and death scenes for a casual horror flick viewer, I would not recommend this film to someone who cares about the overarching storyline. A casual horror movie watcher could skip the first four films, but the last film had established a solid footing for Scream VI. Of course, for Scream junkies, the cameos and returning cast members are always a treat—like Courtney Cox’s Gale Weathers or Hayden Panettiere’s return from Scream IV.
Scream VI continued a few months after the Carpenter sisters, Sam (Melissa Barrera) and Tara (Jenna Ortega), experienced their first-hand encounter with Ghostface in Woodsboro. The sisters moved with the twin siblings from the last film to New York City, hoping they could put their trauma in the past by living in the big city.
Tara and the twins attend college as Sam tried to cope with her continued struggles knowing she was Billy Loomis’ daughter. They all quickly learn that the urban setting does not protect them at all as a new Ghostface emerges. However, the survivors have had enough of the killer constantly coming back—they have their own tricks up their sleeves.
Without spoiling anything, Scream VI managed to keep the excitement and tension throughout the film as it did since the last movie. None of the survivors felt like they were safe or were going to survive a few stabs or slashes. New characters were added, like Dermot Mulroney (Insidious: Chapter 3) and Josh Segarra (She-Hulk: Attorney At Law).
Were these new additions just lambs to the slaughter for Ghostface? You will have to see for yourself. As a Scream fan myself, I had a fairly interesting time theorizing who the killer(s) was or were throughout the film. All I will say is that if you are a long-time fan, you will definitely be rewarded for paying close attention to this film.
Slashers like Halloween, Friday the 13th, or Nightmare on Elm Street really established themselves in the horror genre in their own respective ways. Sometimes they got weird, like Jason X, where the killer Jason Voorhees was a slasher in frozen in the future and in space. Classic slashers always have some of the best and worst chase scenes with the killers versus their prey.
The chase scenes in Scream VI went above and beyond the old chase scenes where the victims typically fell a lot and then accepted their fate. The chases in this film were more realistic and gave the victims their chances to escape, but they either made wrong decisions or were just unlucky.
Scream VI took all the good and bad parts of these predecessor films and elevated the concepts. Obviously, the opening of this franchise has always begged the question of the killer, “What’s your favourite scary movie?” It has been a great recurring line and trope that still found a way of being a refreshing take in this film.
As I mentioned before, adding the cheesy one-liners and self-aware humour shone brightly in this iteration of the Scream franchise. The cheesiness was not over-the-top or cringe-worthy but made me (and multiple audience members) chuckle. The amount of blood some of the survivors lost suspended belief in reality, but I watch a lot of anime. So if I see characters losing a lot of blood the way Ichigo Kurosaki (Bleach) and Edward Elric (Fullmetal Alchemist) have, I can put all logic for injuries aside for this film.
The mystery this sequel traversed through was relatively simple and straightforward, but this was not a weakness of the story. Sometimes mystery or thriller films can be overly convoluted with backstories and weird details, but this one was a thrilling ride. The new city environment made the film feel like the Boogeyman was chasing them through the city the way John Wick hunted down the man who killed his dog.
“Scream VI may be the best Scream film of all time for its mix of goriness, fast-paced story and interesting use of its source materials…”
Even though the Scream movies are not as intricately written as ‘whodunit’ mysteries like Rian Johnson’s Knives Out films or Kenneth Branagh’s take on the Agatha Christie books (Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile), this new re-quel timeline has done similar things to modernize the slasher concept.
I always have low expectations going into this series that refuses to stay dead, much like its iconic Ghostface killer. But I have almost always been impressed with how the franchise continues to reinvent itself. Scream VI may be the best Scream film of all time for its mix of goriness, fast-paced story and interesting use of its source materials—while also breaking the mould of classic horror slashers.
The future of this newer cast of Scream characters has been great and lovable for their charm and wittiness. Scream VI was a fun ride. The story has evolved into so much more than its predecessors, and I cannot wait to see if they build out more to this zany, blood-filled series.