Directed by: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett
Written by: James Vanderbilt, Guy Busick
It’s not easy for a horror franchise to churn out consistently enjoyable movies, especially one that spans three generations, but Scream is a rare exception. Even at its messiest (looking at you, Scream 3), the Wes Craven-created series gives viewers memorable characters, high tension, and creative kills- and I’m happy to report that the latest installment is no exception.
Scream VI follows the latest batch of Woodsboro survivors to college in New York City, where they hope to put the past behind them. Of course, not even moving across the country to one of the most populated cities can help them escape another Ghostface Killer- and, as usual, everyone’s a suspect.
Having a Scream movie with only one returning character from the original trilogy could have spelled disaster for the series, but fortunately, the previous film did a great job of passing the torch on to the next generation, making the transition feel seamless. It helps that the new group of survivors (adorably nicknamed “The Core Four” by Mason Gooding’s Chad Meeks-Martin) are all incredibly likable and have great chemistry, making them genuinely fun to watch and the stakes feel higher when they’re in danger.
While I, like many, am utterly charmed by Jenna Ortega as horror’s latest final girl Tara Carpenter, my favorite performance comes from Jasmin Savoy Brown as Mindy Meeks-Martin, Chad’s twin sister who brings the same humor and loveable vibe Jamie Kennedy did as Mindy’s late Uncle Randy in Scream and Scream 2. Hayden Panettiere is delightful in a return as Kirby Reed (especially after her ambiguous fate in Scream 4). And of course, it’s always a treat watching Courteney Cox as the ambitious, tough, acerbic Gale Weathers, although having her default to “fame-hungry writer capitalizing off of a tragedy” at the beginning (AGAIN. For the sixth time in nearly 27 years) is kind of boring and exhausting.
On the subject of frustratingly-written characters, let’s talk about Sam Carpenter. Melissa Barrera does a great job in the role, giving a relatable and grounded performance, but I still can’t stop rolling my eyes at her being the secret child of the original Woodsboro Killer Billy Loomis (Skeet Ulrich). Besides the timeline obviously not matching up and the silliness of her late father appearing to her in visions, it feels like a missed opportunity to add more tension by casting suspicion on a character who’s supposed to be one of the heroes.
Sam has a lot of anguish about being the daughter of a serial killer, seemingly worried that it runs in her blood, exacerbated by conspiracy theories about her popping up after the latest string of murders, and all of that could make her an interesting suspect. It seems like that was what they were going for, but they didn’t fully commit to it, and it falls a little flat. Maybe they’ll explore it more in the seventh movie- which was greenlit before this movie’s public release.
Of course, I can’t write a Scream review without talking about the kills. This movie is not for the squeamish. I don’t think it’s excessively gory, especially since the kills are balanced well with exquisitely suspenseful scenes, but it is a slasher, so there is plenty of blood, and there were at least a couple kills that made me full-body cringe. Setting the film in New York makes the whole situation scarier because we see that this Ghostface isn’t afraid to go after his victims in crowded areas, making him even more menacing.
Overall, Scream VI is an excellent addition to the franchise. The series has often been called a love letter to the horror genre, and this movie absolutely supports that description. From callbacks to earlier movies in the series to references to other films in the genre, you can tell the people involved genuinely love horror. That dedication has been evident in all six installments, I’m sure it will be in the seventh as well.
Have you seen SCREAM VI? Well, what did you think?
4 thoughts on “FlixChatter Review: SCREAM VI (2023)”
That’s high praise! I’m still not sure I’ll see this in theaters because I really disliked Scream 5, but I enjoyed everything that came before.
Good to hear that it’s a good entry, I hardly remember the sequels. But I did see the last one and even though I enjoyed it, I figured out who the killers were right at the beginning. When they finally revealed, it wasn’t that surprising to me. Lol! Hopefully, this one will be a little bit less obvious as to who the killers were. 🙂
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