Ghostface is back to slice and dice through more victims in Scream VI, the latest installment of the popular franchise. The team behind the previous film, including co-directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett and writing duo James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick, are back this time. Also in the mix is original franchise writer and creator Kevin Williamson, returning as executive producer.
It's been a year since Sam Carpenter (Melissa Barrera), her sister Tara (Jenna Ortega), and the Meeks-Martin twins Mindy (Jasmin Savoy Brown) and Chad ( Mason Gooding) survived the 2022 Woodsboro Murders. The quadrant of friends has relocated to the Big Apple, where Tara, Mindy, and Chad attend college. Naturally, they have met some new people, including Mindy's girlfriend Anika (Devyn Nekoda), Chad's roommate Ethan (Jack Champion), and the sexually confident Quinn Bailey (Liana Daine Liberato), who is also Sam and Tara's roommate.
Before delving into my review, I'll address the elephant in the room. As you know, franchise MVP Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) isn't in this sixth installment. This is a stark departure from the previous five entries, as Sidney has been the focal point for all of them. However, even though the filmmakers decided to go in a different direction this time, it worked.
Following the traditional Scream style, we have an opening sequence victim that sets the tone for the film. Luckily Quinn's dad is Detective Wayne Bailey (Dermot Mulroney), and he wants to help. As the bodies pile up, FBI special agent Kirby Reed (Hayden Panettiere), a survivor of the 2011 Woodsboro Murders, shows up to offer her assistance. And we can't forget about fan-favorite Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox), a talk show host, legacy survivor, and author who is also back.
I'm old enough to remember how upset fans were when Scream 2 leaks hit the net, so I want to keep my review as spoiler free as possible. I assure fans that the filmmakers wasted no time setting up the film's premise. The kills are brutal and bloody, the jokes are delivered quickly, and the meta references are spot on.
Regarding the acting, the franchise regulars offer the same antics as previous films. One of my favorite moments in the movie occurs between Kirby and Mindy, which will please horror buffs. In contrast, the new characters fall into the atypical tropes of the slasher template. I'm a fan of Dermot Mulroney, so I felt like he brought the most to the table. I also commend the writing team for where they took the script and character motivations. Character assassination, male toxicity, and conspiracy theories are handled tactfully and never come off as forced.
I generally enjoyed Scream VI and plan on seeing it again. However, there was a gripe. When the killer's motive arrived, I didn't think it worked. I acknowledge what the filmmakers were shooting for, but the repetition didn't land on my first view. Despite this, a franchise that is six entries deep and nearly three decades old still has all of the elements in place to rise above typical slasher tropes.
Final Grade: B+
Scream VI opens tonight.