“What’s your favorite scary movie?” Ah, how we love to hear those words. Kids, don’t pick up calls from unknown numbers. If you’re a fan of the “Scream” franchise and were disappointed by the absence of Neve Campbell as Sidney Prescott (our favorite final girl), then you’re in for a surprising subversion of expectations. “Scream 6” is grander in scale, not just in terms of the city it takes place in, but it’s more brutal, has a massively expanded cast, and might have some of the best kills in the franchise to date! If I haven’t made myself clear enough, this is a positive review, shockingly. I, too, was skeptical when I heard that Sidney wouldn’t be returning to the beloved franchise, but after having seen the film, it hurts to say that she wasn’t much missed. Before you decide to stab me for saying that, I’m not saying that Neve shouldn’t have been paid whatever she liked to return to this character, but it seems the best way to carry forward the franchise with the new leads, Sam and Tara Carpenter. “Scream” 2022 was a decent legacy sequel, tying in the edginess of the originals with the attitude of today for new audiences and old to enjoy, but it did have a few issues that prevented it from being a great movie. Specifically, Sam’s visions of her father, Billy Loomis, were too far from the reality that the franchise roots itself in. Fortunately, this side of things takes a step back in the sixth part, making Sam a much more amusing character.
It’s the return of “Ghostface,” but this time, there is no holding back. The knife-wielding-mask-wearing serial killer is ruthless, using any weapon in hand, including guns! Before we go further into details, I went into this film without having seen trailers, and it paid off.
Personally, I thought Melissa Barrera came across as quite stoic or wooden as Sam last year, but this time she’s brutal, she’s vengeful, and she is taking control of it all! I love the dynamic between Sam and Tara, and it’s always great to see the bond getting tighter. It is interesting to see that the “Core Four” manage to stick together across the film rather than splitting up, as we’ve seen dozens of times in slashers. Keeping that in mind, unlike the lonesome Sidney, Sam has an entire family that she cares about, and in turn, we as an audience care about her, making this possibly the most emotional of all the “Screams.” Sibling love is everywhere with the survivors of last year; Mindy and Chad are more fleshed out, and we love to see it. Mindy gives us more of that Uncle Randy energy, which I’m always looking forward to, and specifically, her interaction with fan favorite legacy character Kirby is, for lack of a better word, perfect. Kirby’s return is a big highlight of the film; I love the arc that her character has been on, and nothing seems forced. Gale Weathers returns as an obnoxious but super-efficient investigative journalist who writes books about everything that the Ghostface victims go through. This film may have one of her best sequences in the franchise too.
“Scream 6” has an opening sequence never seen before, a nail-biting twist that sets the quick pace of the 2-hour film in the first 15 minutes. It’s not often you get an auditory response from seasoned horror fans, but “Scream 6” is going to make you jump more than once. I highly recommend watching this one with friends after binge-watching the entire franchise for added effect (you can skip 3, and nobody will know). Reboots and sequels in the horror-slasher genre have been all the rage lately, but all of them have just done damage to their franchises (looking at you, “Halloween” and “Texas Chainsaw Massacre”). But directors Tyler and Matt clearly understand what they’re here to do, paying homage to Wes Craven’s original ideas while bringing their own into the film. The callbacks are incredibly fun, and fans of the legacy films are going to have a blast picking apart the easter eggs. I really don’t appreciate the letterbox callout, though; it felt like a personal jab.
Of course, we need to talk a little bit about the negative aspects of the film. Particularly, you must enjoy this ride by suspending your disbelief because there are some stabs in here that people should not be able to walk away from but manage to even run from. There were a lot of parts where I was ‘screaming’ at the screen because my favorite characters were about to be shredded to pieces, but the survivor count is too high, especially for a “Scream” film that steers too far from the previous parts. I think the ‘whodunit’ factor is there, but you understand early on who may be Ghostface because of certain actions of certain characters. I think the big reveal was not surprising at all, but that doesn’t mean the third act wasn’t savage. This film calls out conspiracy theorists and dabbles in cancel culture, but the film isn’t very topical like we’ve seen previously with the likes of 1 and 2.
Many may say that the Scream-verse does not need to expand, and I would’ve agreed before having seen this film, but now I’m looking forward to the seventh installment because of how entertaining and brutal this part was. Lately, it looks like we’ve forgotten that the purpose of films is actually to entertain, and that’s what “Scream 6” does impeccably. Plot holes and a long run time do not interfere with the fact that the movie is just enjoyable and delivers exactly what a slasher needs to. I give it a kill count of four out of five screams. An extra point for the camera, not shying away from the blood.