Fri. Dec 1st, 2023

What’s your favorite scary movie? Ghostface takes Manhattan in Scream VI, the new meta-slasher film that continues the iconic franchise. This movie is a direct sequel to the 2022 Scream, following Sam Carpenter (Melissa Barrera), her sister Tara (Jenna Ortega), and their friends who now live in New York City. A year after the previous film’s events, Ghostface is back and hunting down our heroes. This movie is another solid sequel in the Scream series, offering the kills, thrills, and meta-humor you would expect.

If the 2022 Scream was a “requel” to the original Scream, this film is a requel to Scream 2. Similar to Stallone’s decision not to return for Creed III, franchise veteran Neve Campbell decided not to appear in Scream VI over a pay dispute, making this the first film in the series not to feature Sidney Prescott. Her character’s absence in the movie makes logical sense while allowing the film to focus on its new set of characters. In addition, the movie develops Tara more as a character while showing what has happened to Sam’s life since the previous film’s events. We also have more screen time for twins Chad (Mason Gooding) and Mindy (Jasmin Savoy Brown), who are both likable in the film.

The opening sequence begins as a predictable sequence leading to a kill but quickly subverts an expectation and goes down a new path. From the introduction of our new killer, we have our Scream movie, which features some of the most intense sequences in the series. There’s a sequence involving a ladder that will have your palms sweating, and an extended sequence on the subway plays with the idea of Halloween night, a night with many people dressed as Ghostface. This movie leans into the horror and gore of the series more than others because, as Randy once taught us, the kills are more brutal in the sequel.

Fans of the series may enjoy how this movie pays homage to the other films. It references the events of every Scream movie before it, with a large room featuring items from its predecessors. The film also brings back Hayden Panettiere as Kirby Reed from Scream 4, a moment which may bring out applause from die-hard fans. There are many scenes that fans of the series will love, and some will love the meta-humor this movie offers, even if it does not feature the strongest commentary in the series.

There are some problems with the film, namely the way the marketing advertises the film’s New York City setting but doesn’t put the movie in distinctly NYC places besides the subway scene. Having an NYC Scream movie have its final act entirely indoors is a waste. In addition, the film needs to answer why so many people still own landline telephones, and there is some weak, on-the-nose dialogue. The movie features more of Skeet Ulrich as a CGI Billy Loomis when his role in the series really should have stopped at the first one. Finally, the film’s final act is underwhelming, with a few predictable twists that don’t have the intended impact. Also, some characters survive a few scenes that they realistically should not have survived.

However, Scream VI does a lot right with the franchise. It welcomes a new generation of Scream fans in a movie that knows how to combine the new with the old. Barrera and Ortega give excellent performances, and Courtney Cox is once again fantastic as Gale Weathers, even though the film entirely reverses her character arc from the previous movie. The writing can hold the film back from being one of the better Scream sequels, but no one can deny the grip a killer like Ghostface can have on its audience. Let’s hope that this series will be right back.

SCORE: 7/10

As ComingSoon’s review policy explains, a score of 7 equates to “Good.” A successful piece of entertainment that is worth checking out, but it may not appeal to everyone.

By Dave Jenks

Dave Jenks is an American novelist and Veteran of the United States Marine Corps. Between those careers, he’s worked as a deckhand, commercial fisherman, divemaster, taxi driver, construction manager, and over the road truck driver, among many other things. He now lives on a sea island, in the South Carolina Lowcountry, with his wife and youngest daughter. They also have three grown children, five grand children, three dogs and a whole flock of parakeets. Stinnett grew up in Melbourne, Florida and has also lived in the Florida Keys, the Bahamas, and Cozumel, Mexico. His next dream is to one day visit and dive Cuba.