Scream 6 Review

You know, you're the tenth guy to try this, right?

by Matthew Kevin Mitchell
Image: Paramount Pictures, Project X Entertainment, and Radio Silence Productions

We were pleasantly surprised when Scream 6 was announced, and we found out it was set to release just a little over a year after Scream 5 successfully breathed life into a franchise many fans thought had taken its last call from Ghost Face. However, what sets Scream 6 apart from its predecessor is the fear of a new cast of characters, young actors, new directors, and writers. All have returned for the latest installment with the experience of surviving a slasher that we all come to expect.

However, whether new to the franchise or a returning fan, you have one big question you want to be answered. Will Scream 6 continue to build upon the successes of Scream 5 and continue to carry the franchise into the modern era, or will it cause the franchise to end up deader than a Ghost Face victim who failed to follow the rules so necessary for its survival?

The Setting

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Image: Paramount Pictures, Project X Entertainment, and Radio Silence Productions

The Scream franchise again leaves the small-town city of Woodsboro and heads to the biggest city in the United States, New York City. Scream 6 worked surprisingly well in a big city and handled many questions about how a killer could operate during different times in a city that never sleeps. Two scenes that shined were the bodega scene where Sam and Tara get their first taste of being hunted by Ghost Face and the subway scene extended from what you see featured heavily in the movie’s trailers. However, outside of those two scenes, you could replace New York City with any city, and it still would have looked and felt the same.

The Characters

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Image: Paramount Pictures, Project X Entertainment, and Radio Silence Productions

The Scream franchise was brought into the modern age with the two latest installments, and Scream 6 continues to build upon its new characters, who have become the faces of the franchise. Sam, Tara, Mindy, and Chad have dubbed themselves the core four and have cemented themselves as characters we don’t ever want to see killed by Ghost Face. In this way, they all serve their purpose in the story and have become surrogates to the Legacy characters.

However, this doesn’t mean they are carbon copies of those characters who came before them. Instead, each character now has more depth in Scream 6, and we see how they are dealing with the aftermath of their first dance with Ghost Face and how they handle themselves when it happens again. We now have a group of characters we can love just as much as the original core four from the first three installments.

The Story

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Image: Paramount Pictures, Project X Entertainment, and Radio Silence Productions

The core four moved to New York City to escape the aftermath of the events of Scream 5. We see that Tara and their friends are living college life while Sam is unsuccessfully trying to deal with the trauma her past has caused her. While it may seem like they got away from Woodsboro’s grasp, unfortunately, their peace is short-lived, and Ghost Face continues its legacy.

The one aspect of the Scream franchise that sets it apart from other horror franchises is its ability to stay relevant to the times it was made by being self-aware, meta, and subverting expectations. Every installment handles this differently, and the viewer is often given the rules that the installment we are currently watching follows. Scream 6 is no different and tells us that Scream is now a franchise where everything from the past will be repeated but in a much grander fashion. Scream 6 was a great callback to the original Scream without being nostalgia bait and follows the motive of its sequel in an original way.

The Cast and Crew

Matt-Bettinelli-Olpin-and-Tyler-Gillett
Image: Paramount Pictures, Project X Entertainment, and Radio Silence Productions

Scream 6 brings back many of the actors introduced to us in Scream 5, plus several additions. We knew what role the core four would play, but all sources involved were often quiet about what roles the newcomers to the franchise would serve.

Jenna Ortega cemented herself as this generation’s newest Scream Queen as she went toe to toe with Ghost Face and survived. Her performance in Scream 6 is even better, and she paired very well with Melissa Barera and Mason Gooding’s characters.

The second outstanding performance goes to Mason Gooding, who has a more prominent role in this film. His character was well-written and had a ton of depth that added to the film. He served as the core four’s glue that held them together, was the voice of reason when others weren’t thinking straight, and offered a much-needed comedic offset that contrasted the intense action scenes and moments of gore after a kill.

Despite the initial trepidation fans felt without Wes Craven at the helm, Scream 6 sees the return of directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett. While they put these worries to rest with Scream 5, they set themselves up to be the franchise’s core directors for all future installments. It would be hard to think of a new director who could step into their shoes if they are not involved in Scream 7 and beyond.

Scream 6 also sees the return of writers James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick, who wrote Scream 5. While Kevin Williamson’s writing is missed, you can tell that Vanderbilt and Busick have an understanding of the world that Williamson built. They have stayed true to it with their snappy dialogue, pace, and storytelling, making Scream what it is.

Music To Our Ears

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Image: Paramount Pictures, Project X Entertainment, and Radio Silence Productions

One aspect of the film’s soundtrack that worked well was using snips of songs used in previous films of the Scream franchise to invoke that nostalgic feeling and to tie Scream 6 into previous installments. Two examples are how “Red Right Hand” by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds was used in Scream 1 when Tatum and Sidney go shopping and then again on the college quad in New York City. Another song used was Dewey’s theme song which was played when Dewey and Gale interacted with each other but instead was used during a touching moment between Gale and Sam in Scream 6.

Gone But Not Forgotten

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Image: Dimension Films

We lost a beloved legacy character, Dewey, in Scream 5, which, according to the directors, was necessary because of what he meant to the franchise. He started it all and had always been a fan favorite, so it hit hard when Ghost Face slew him. Unfortunately, we also lost out on Sidney’s return due to a contract dispute with Neve Campbell.

Not having either of these characters in Scream 6 was felt in many ways. First, their characters make this franchise, and they are so tied into it that it is hard to think about it without them. Both characters were mentioned in Scream 6 as a way to include them for fans, but it was quick and felt cheaply done. The only saving grace was that Gale finally got that dreaded call from Ghost Face and did so without her partners in crime.

Missing the legacy characters is easy to understand because we have watched them fight nine Ghost Face killers in five installments that span almost 30 years. However, you can rest easy knowing that the new characters introduced to us in Scream 5 and cemented in Scream 6 can carry the franchise into the future. It’s unknown whether or not we will get more Ghost Face at this time, but we hope we can watch the core four as they fight Ghost Face for another thirty years to come.

The Verdict

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Image: Paramount Pictures, Project X Entertainment, and Radio Silence Productions

Scream 6 wasn’t without its stumbles. While we saw glimpses of New York City in two scenes, the city could have been used for a much better result. Multiple sources involved with Scream 6 said it was supposed to be the most brutal Ghost Face and goriest Scream to date but left much to be desired. The franchise also needs to do a better job of figuring out the legacy characters. Whether the creators finally let them be free of Ghost Face or work with the core four doesn’t matter, we need a stronger sense of closure.

However, the above issues weren’t enough to cause Scream 6 to be gutted by Ghost Face. It was, instead, a very worthwhile addition to an already iconic horror franchise. We are lucky to get new installments created using such high standards compared to other poor modern takes on old horror franchises. The new setting, intense scenes that never stopped, great acting, and intricate whodunit plot made this viewing experience one that will leave you screaming with joy.

- This article was updated on March 13th, 2023

"loved"
loved

  • Score: 4 / 5
  • Available On:
  • Published By: Paramount Pictures
  • Developed By:
  • Genre: Slasher Horror
  • US Release Date: March 10, 2023
  • Reviewed On:
  • Quote: "Scream 6 continues to breathe life into the iconic Horror franchise without forgetting its roots. While it has its stumbles, it successfully goes head-to-head with Ghost Face and will leave you screaming for joy."
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