Scream VI succeeds at offering new and exciting slasher elements for this fairly consistent franchise.
Published on March 16, 2023
Rating 4 /5
The sixth Scream film makes the smart call of engrossing more of its satire in its own world rather than being a self-aware meta-movie. The allure of Scream has always been that of characters realizing they’re in a slasher movie while still making slasher mistakes. A whole new crop of teenagers got to learn this hard the way in the fifth Scream movie, acting as a legacy sequel (or re-quel as the horror nerd of the picture coins). Although this next film does ride more of the nostalgic wave, it becomes less of a commentary on horror movies and more of a focus on a legacy of violence.
The slasher saga moves from the suburbs to the city as the characters of the last film move onto New York City. Sam Carpenter (Melissa Barrera) tries to get help after realizing that she’s the daughter of the first Ghostface killer, fearing that she’ll follow in her sinister father’s footsteps. Less concerned about this is her sister Tara (Jenna Ortega), who desires more of a typical college life than being a final girl constantly living in the past. Tara attends college alongside her survivor friends. The two friends are the devoted Chad (Mason Gooding) and the horror film aficionado Mindy (Jasmin Savoy Brown).
A new Ghostface arises, but it’s not another horror nerd gone mad for movies. The film starts with this returning premise and then guts it immediately, proving that there are plenty of twists ahead for this tale. The new killer on the loose targets Sam and leaves a trail of previous Ghostface killer masks, counting down to something. Even though a Ghostface museum is discovered during the investigation, there’s far more to the string of murders than just an obsessive fan. Without giving too much away, the central plot involves revenge and contemplating the repeated nature of violence.
Despite how articulate Mindy becomes in trying to decipher once again which type of horror film all these characters are occupying, Scream VI plays around with the concept and loads up with plenty of subversions and twists. Adding some surprise to the cast is the unpredictable nature of the additions of Dermot Mulroney, Devyn Nekoda, Josh Segarra, and Samara Weaving. There are also the returning characters, played by Hayden Panettiere and Courteney Cox, who bring their brand of smarts for handling the tactics of the Ghostface killer. Cox, in particular, knows enough with a gun and how to use a phone to get the drop on the copycat killer.
Of course, a good slasher is only as strong as its best kills, and there’s plenty dished out in Scream VI. It’s shocking how many stabs there are with each attack, where blood gushes constantly, and it seems like it takes a lot for Ghostface to kill its victims. It’s expected that Ghostface can take a lot of damage, and he does with plenty of blows to the head. But, wow, there are some vicious stabbings where it’s more shocking how many people survive these brutal encounters. There are also plenty of great locations for the stabbings, including an apartment building with a daring window escape amid much slashing.
Scream VI succeeds at offering new and exciting slasher elements for this fairly consistent franchise. For as much as this entry likes to point out the tropes of franchises, the sixth entry manages to walk the fine line between a knowing satire and an exceptional slasher narrative. It’s the best kind of Scream movie as one that plays with the cliches but still presents an earnest amount of thrills.
Mark has been a professional film critic for over five years and a film lover all his life.