‘Scream VI’ Is A Gruesome, Ambitious Stab At The Franchise – Review
Just a little over a year after the requel trilogy began with Scream (2022), Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett of Radio Silence Productions, the directors behind 2019’s Ready or Not, and crew are back to take a stab at the next installment in the franchise!
Scream VI is taking on New York City, where Ghostface is ready to paint the town red. Tara (Jenna Ortega), Mindy (Jasmin Savoy Brown), and Chad (Mason Gooding) are off at college, with Sam (Melissa Barrera) following to be close to her sister. The new setting ushers in a refreshing era – NOTHING is off-limits here. The opening scene tackles this head-on, becoming one of the most exciting ways the iconic Scream opening kill has been executed. This invites so many directions that can be taken for this film and subsequent ones- while not every big swing in this film is executed flawlessly, I admire how ambitious it is—the implications these choices have for the franchise’s future.
When we first see Sam, she is dealing with the fallout of the previous film’s events. Something I enjoyed about this portion was the engaging commentary on the romanticization of true crime and serial killers in today’s digital age. Don’t get me wrong; this was also something that was prevalent decades ago (ahem, Ted Bundy fangirls of the ’70s). But with the advancement of technology and the rise of social media, we’ve seen this far too many times in certain corners of YouTube, TikTok, or Reddit.
Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox) is the only legacy character present, and the absence of Sidney and Dewey is felt in terms of nostalgia, but it doesn’t make this film any less satisfying for diehard fans. I was so happy to see Hayden Panettiere’s Kirby on-screen again, especially her horror film geek-out moment with Mindy! No surprise, Jenna Ortega’s Tara is still a HUGE standout, and her performance fully cements her as an iconic scream queen of today. Fan favorite siblings Chad and Mindy were phenomenal again, bringing so much light and levity while still nailing their impactful heavier moments.
The film’s highlight is how the crew grapples with the themes of grief and family. Even outside of our core four, every character in the movie is dealing with or running from some kind of painful past. It nails the weight grief can take on a person, both the healthy and unhealthy way of facing it. The idea of family is integral to the film- whether it is blood or found family. Chad shines in the way he helps hold the survivors of the last movie together, with all of them showing the strength they have in their numbers. It has genuinely hilarious moments and a hell of a lot of heart. The meta-humor may not land as well for some fans of the previous entries, but it makes sense for today’s day and age. The filmmakers have their finger on the pulse of legacy sequels and blockbuster slashers and execute their takes effectively!
This Ghostface is gruesome and almost sloppy in how they operate in the film’s first half. Ghostface is ready to take down every person in their path, as seen in the bodega scene from the trailers. There is a calculation, but there is also uneasy chaos to this Ghostface’s madness. The stunt choreography and the direction lean more into the action amongst the brutal kills, which is a far cry from some of the more bumbling, awkward moments we’ve seen from past killers (which I loved!)! The lengths this Ghostface will go to for their motive creates an intense, riveting watch.
Scream VI is relentless, never letting you go until the credits roll. As a lifelong fan, I’m enamored by the work the cast and crew put into this film! The little details and refreshing ideas make the love for the franchise palpable to the audience. It’s felt in every frame. This is easily the most gruesome Scream film to date, and I can’t wait to watch it again!