Ghostface is back once again with Scream VI, this time taking on the mean streets of New York City in what proves to be the most brutal version of the horror icon yet. However, tension and brutality do not necessarily equate to greatness, so let’s take a look at whether or not Ghostface’s sixth outing truly lives up to this fantastic horror franchise.
Scream VI sees the survivors of the 2022 Woodsboro Massacre living in New York City, trying to continue on with their lives. Unfortunately for them, though, a new Ghostface has risen in the Big Apple with a level of brutality and savagery unlike any of the previous killers.
With that out of the way, let’s get into one of the most pressing questions people have regarding the film, that being Neve Campbell’s Sidney Prescott. As has been announced, Campbell is nowhere to be found in the new entry because of failed negotiations and her feeling that the studio does not value what she brings to the table with the franchise.
Well, I am here to tell you that while the movie does feel weird at points without Sidney, her absence doesn’t really hinder the enjoyment of the film in any real way. Scream VI does an excellent job explaining why certain legacy characters are around in New York City and why someone like Sidney is not, with her even being mentioned in a few different moments.
Speaking of legacy characters, Scream VI does have a few, most notably Gale Weathers and the fan-requested Kirby. It’s fantastic to see both actresses back, and while they both have smaller roles than they probably should’ve had, they are still thankfully given incredibly memorable scenes. Gale in particular is given an absolutely incredible sequence, and Kirby does have fantastic banter with one of the newer characters.
Scream VI also rewards longtime fans of the franchise with easter eggs galore throughout the movie, especially with one of the locations in the film, which if you have seen the trailer, you know exactly what I am talking about. The movie has plenty more easter eggs throughout, though, even referencing some theories that Scream fans have had in a very fun and cheeky way.
One of the primary goals of this next installment is to really establish the “Core Four”, which is the group of newbies who survived Ghostface’s fifth try, consisting of sisters Sam and Tara and twins Mindy and Chad. One thing that Sidney’s absence really allows is for the Core Four to get most of the focus and genuinely come into their own, with the group becoming great characters in their own right.
Wednesday star Jenna Ortega is back as Tara, and she is fantastic as always, with some great scenes with her sister in particular. Tara’s older sister Sam, played by Melissa Barrera, returns as well, with her character clearly being the franchise’s new lead. Thankfully, Barrera does a much better job this time around, which may in large part be because Scream (2022) was trying to hide a lot about Sam, but now that it’s all out in the open, her character can shine a bit more. Not to mention that both Barrera and Ortega have much better chemistry as sisters this time around, giving both characters a fantastic assist.
Mason Gooding and Jasmin Savoy Brown are also here as Chad and Mindy respectively, continuing their portrayal of the lovable twins. Gooding has been making a name for himself outside of his famous father, and even though he has begun to be typecast as a cocky yet kind-hearted jock, he is just so amazing at it. Brown is the franchise’s new Randy Meeks, and she does just as good of a job here as she did in Scream (2022), especially with the monologue she has to give.
Another character that of course needs to be talked about is that of the legendary Ghostface, who has moved his killing spree to the Big Apple. Roger L. Jackson is deliciously evil as always as the killer’s voice, with the kills and chases in this movie being some of the most brutal and wicked the franchise has ever seen. Yet, while Ghostface may be grander in Scream VI, the movie’s writing is able to make him still feel like he belongs in the series. From a train to a convenience store to NYC apartments, even the city streets, Ghostface manages to be terrifying as he is genuinely willing to strike anywhere.
Part of the reasoning behind Ghostface needing to be grander comes down to how the film needs to ensure that it fits in with the New York City setting. Scream VI is the first time the franchise has taken on an environment like this, as while Screams 2 and 3 have city aspects, they feel much more isolated than this sixth entry.
The directors and writers are definitely up to the task with the film, making Manhattan feel like a natural evolution for the franchise, as the movie manages to continue feeling like the slasher series everyone knows and loves. This is largely due to Jackson’s performance and the dialogue he is given, as even though the setting is different, the general vibe of Ghostface is still there.
It may be one’s first thought that a city would be much safer when there’s a killer around, seeing as it is so crowded, yet this is certainly not the case as Scream VI portrays it. This makes it all the more terrifying because if you aren’t safe amongst a group of people, there is seemingly nowhere to hide.
The New York City environment is used particularly well in the film’s opening scene, which has become a hallmark of the Scream franchise, with Scream VI giving one of the series’ most unique and memorable yet. The opening does a great job of not only subverting expectations but also getting people into the right mindset as to what this new Scream movie is setting out to do.
To be able to have a horror franchise still do unique and fresh things is a real treat to behold, with Scream VI offering the series’ signature commentary, this time revolving around long-running franchises. As always, some hilarious observations are made about the cliches of these franchises and brands that are sure to delight hardcore fans of the genre when they hear them mentioned.
If there is anything to really criticize about the sixth Scream installment, it’s that the movie doesn’t have the greatest of third acts. I personally was able to solve most of what was going on before the big reveal of who Ghostface was, although the movie does execute it in a fun and unique way, so it’s not a huge complaint. It’s just worth noting that if you’re expecting some complex, hard-to-solve mystery, you frankly aren’t getting that this time around.
Not to mention that Scream VI’s third act is a bit more outlandish and has an overall different feel than the rest of the film, which slightly hinders the overall experience. It is worth acknowledging that the movie’s third act may simply be a victim of how strong the rest of the movie is, as there is certainly enjoyment to be had; it just gets outshined by the film’s most instantly iconic sequences.
At the end of the day, Scream VI is sure to be a great time, especially for those who are huge Scream fans and are willing to see another movie step outside of Woodsboro; it sure pleased this Scream fan.
There have been rumblings that Paramount was very pleased with the finished product they got here, and it’s easy to see why they would be. The New York City setting is woven exceptionally well into the franchise, with a great cast of characters and new moments that horror fans will surely remember for years to come. Rumors have even started that a Scream 7 will indeed be coming in order to finish out the new trilogy, and if it is anywhere near as good as this movie, I will be first in line to order tickets.
Scream VI releases exclusively in theaters on March 10, 2023, when audiences will get to uncover who precisely this new Ghostface truly is.