Scream vi | matt bettinelli-olpin | tyler gillett | james vanderbilt | guy busick | melissa barrera | jenna ortega | courteney cox | sequel | scream | slasher | meta | mystery | thriller | united states | canada | jasmin savoy brown | mason gooding | skeet ulrich | roger jackson
Film: Scream VI
Directors: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett
Writers: James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick
Starring: Melissa Barrera, Jenna Ortega and Courteney Cox
This is a movie that I figured was coming. I didn’t love the last one upon leaving the cinema. I did come to appreciate it more with a second watch though. This is also a franchise that I don’t love but was a big fan of the first two movies when they first came out. I still appreciate that there isn’t a bad movie in it yet.
Synopsis: the survivors of the last Ghostface killings leave Woodsboro behind and start a fresh chapter in New York City.
We start this movie off with Laura Crane (Samara Weaving) who is meeting a guy at a bar from a dating app. There are issues with him finding the place. She goes outside while talking to him on the phone with this version of the opening. It then follows Jason Carvey (Tony Revolori) back to his place where he gets an interesting surprise.
As Jason makes his way back, we see that he knows Tara Carpenter (Jenna Ortega). She is going to a frat party with Mindy (Jasmin Savoy Brown), her girlfriend Anika (Devyn Nekoda) and her brother Chad (Mason Gooding). Also joining them is Ethan (Jack Champion), who is the roommate to Chad. Tara is struggling since her sister, Sam (Melissa Barrera), moved there with them and is overbearing after the events of the last movie.
Sam is in a therapy session while they’re away. She sees a Dr. Christopher Stone (Henry Czerny). He wants her to open up with what she is repressing and when she does, this scares him. He doesn’t feel equipped to help her with her issues. She goes back to her apartment to learn from their roommate, Quinn (Liana Liberato), that Tara went to a party. She shows up there, saving her sister from going upstairs with a jerk. Chad also stepped in to prevent it.
On their walk home, Sam is accosted by a girl who thinks that she is a psychopath who got away with murder. There is a whole website that is run by a ‘Woodsboro Truther’. They are out to prove that Sam is the real killer and that she framed the person who was branded. The girl threw a drink in her face while recording the interaction. It is strategically edited to cut out what caused the incident.
When murders around this friend group start up again, we have others pulled in. Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox) lives and works in NYC. Quinn’s father works for the NYPD, Detective Bailey (Dermot Mulroney). He is assigned to the case. Sam has a crush on Danny Brackett (Josh Segarra) who is her neighbor. Kirby Reed (Hayden Panettiere) also joins in a reunion of Woodsboro survivors. Mindy points out the new rules here as we are now into a franchise where the deaths are bigger, there are more of them and no one is safe. Everyone is also a suspect.
That is where I’m going to leave my recap and introduction to the characters. I did what I could to dance around without getting into spoilers. My first thoughts walking out the theater, I liked this one more than the earlier one. I’m not sure if it is the change of scenery or just settling in more with this new group, but I liked it. This also makes it feel like our returning characters aren’t as safe. It could also be that Sydney Prescott (Neve Campbell) didn’t return. That situation is sad as to why, but it also feels like they didn’t have to cater to protect her. Gale references her and what she says make sense. I almost wish that would have been used last movie, but I digress.
Starting with positives, this lives up to what Mindy says about a franchise. They get bigger with the body count and the killings are brutal. There were times that I audibly said something with being impressed with certain kills. I’ll go ahead and pull the effects in here. This one did what the earlier did with how vicious deaths are. I’m not a gore hound by any stretch, but I can still appreciate it. I know this used CGI for parts of it. This is also used practical as well and I think they work well together. I should also say that the cinematography also helps here with hiding what they need to with the framing.
Then moving from this, I’m not going to spoil the reveals like I’ve said. I was wondering what they could do here with the killer. I did guess part of it. This movie is taking a hard look at the franchise as a whole. What is interesting is the meta-aspects within the world of the movie. There is a series of movies based off the different murders that happen in Scream and its sequels. This film is bridging the gap once more to connect them. Bringing back up the speech that Mindy gives, it lays out potential motives for characters. Ethan being the weird roommate. Danny being the guy across the way. Quinn is also new to the group. Anika and the other new people here could intentionally get close to kill them. Quinn flips it that their trauma of surviving an ordeal like our returning characters did could make them snap, keeping them as suspects. I like the thought put in here.
Now another critique I’ve seen is that this is just remaking Scream 2. I get that. This takes place near a college campus. You have set pieces that are legit mirrors of the older movie which I did appreciate. There are times as well where it is borrowing story elements. Pieces of this didn’t necessarily work for me, but on the whole it was fine. It did enough for me to set itself apart. Since it referenced that other film, I also give it credit.
Upon watching this a second time around, I think I know what my issue is with this franchise. I’ve heard Scream fans state that you can no longer make Sidney the killer and can’t kill her off either. This is one of the longer slasher series that protects their legacy characters. I hate this. They use it to say that because of its length, it sets it apart. My problem is that this franchise pulls its punches. My second watch was with my wife. She assumed certain characters die and during the ending, we see that isn’t the case. I hate that this does that as it doesn’t work for me.
That should be enough that I want to go into with the story so I’ll shift to the acting. Our two leads are good in Barrera and Ortega. I’m a big fan of the latter and it is good that we got more of her here. I think they play well off each other. For Barrera, they are trying to blur her psyche a bit so I don’t know if it works for me, but it also doesn’t ruin it. Brown and Gooding are solid to bring back. I don’t mind bringing in Mulroney, Champion, Segarra, Liberato, Nekoda, Czerny, Revolori and Weaving. I could use a bit more of the latter, but I also digress. What they do with Cox and Panettiere was fine as well. The acting is solid across the board. There were parts that were awkwardly written that made me cringe. I do come to expect that being this far into the franchise.
In conclusion and to re-iterate what I’ve already said, I enjoyed this one more leaving the theater than the previous. I like what we’re doing with the characters and if they decide to continue following them. How they handle the characters is good, but I also feel like they pull the punches at times when it comes to them. I hate that. This movie does go brutal though. There is a story here that makes sense to me and I like what they do to incorporate the earlier movies. The acting is solid across the board. If I have an issue, it gets cringey at times with the dialogue. I think I have this on the upper end of the franchise. I’d recommend watching this if you’re a fan of the series.
My Rating: 8 out of 10