March 5th, 2023
MOVIE: SCREAM VI
STARRING: MELISSA BARRERA, JENNA ORTEGA, COURTENEY COX, MASON GOODING, JASMIN SAVOY BROWN, HAYDEN PANETTIERE, DERMOT MULRONEY
DIRECTED BY: MATT BETTINELLI-OLPIN, TYLER GILLETT
AMovieGuy.com’s RATING: 3 ½ STARS (Out of 4)
At this point it seems like the Scream series can never die. This marks the second installment without the late great master Wes Craven and the wild reality is that this series is not only thriving, it’s getting better. Scream VI picks up where the last Scream left off, with the group of young twenty-somethings that were still standing, once again trying to stay alive for one more day. The difference this time is that directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett move the narrative to New York city. Whether it’s in the small town of Woodsboro or the big apple, Ghostface comes in many forms, with the meta-horror-verse turning the slashing up to a whole other level. Scream VI is a killer good time.
After the expected intro of someone being slashed– and this one might be one of the best– we then catch up with Sam Carpenter (Melissa Barrera) and sister Tara (Jenna Ortega) living in New York. Tara is attending college and Sam is her roommate, keeping a watchful eye on little sis, along with new roomie Quinn (Liana Liberato), and the return of sibling friends Mindy (Jasmin Savoy Brown) and Chad Meeks-Martin (Mason Gooding). When a string of news breaks that someone has been killing people and leaving Ghostface masks around the city, it puts the Carpenter sisters on high alert, with Detective Bailey (Dermot Mulroney) and FBI agent Kirby Reed (Hayden Panettiere reprising her role from Scream 4) on the case. And yes, with the recent string of murders we get Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox) back in the mix to report on the story, because this involves everyone, as the past always comes back to haunt them.
One of the interesting factors that comes with the Scream franchise is the amount of mileage it gets with its repeated premise. It often involves a group of teens-to-twenty-somethings being hacked off one-by-one, with a heightened awareness of horror movie culture. The writing from James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick is surprisingly funny and goes even further into the meta-ness of Scream. There is not only commentary on the current state of horror cinema but also the history of the Scream/Stab franchise. Working alongside the impressive narrative is how this new group of young actors have picked right up from where the original gang had started. Barrera makes for an excellent new final girl but there’s a new bond between Ortega, Brown, and Gooding that makes Scream VI feel about family more than ever.
What is expected is the eventual twist that comes in a Scream movie, with Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillett turning up the energy, elevating the graphic kills and Ghostface attacks. Although the presence of Neve Campbell is sadly missed, the writing allows the returning characters, and new faces to blend nicely. There is nothing lacking from Scream VI. The set pieces alone, which includes a New York bodega, on the subway, and in Central Park, all become instantly great new moments to remember.
You will be hard pressed to find things to complain about with Scream VI. There is an excellent vibe, which is something that should not exist in the sixth installment of a franchise, yet here we are. It also continues to be a beautiful passing of the baton for what Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson created. We are witnessing a natural rising cast of actors, seeing creative narratives in a genre construct, and it will lead to plenty of conversation on “what’s your favorite scary movie”. Scream VI is fantastic. This is one of the best installments into the Scream franchise.
SCREAM VI IS IN THEATERS FRIDAY MARCH 10TH, 2023.
3 ½ STARS
Written by: Leo Brady