“Scream VI” Review: Ghostface Returns

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“Scream VI” Rating: 4/5

Ghostface is back with an exciting new chapter in the “Scream” series. We find our characters from “Scream 5” in the next chapter of their lives, moving to New York to attend college. Sam has assumed a protective role over her sister. While Tera appreciates her sister’s care, she desperately wants to forge her own path. As they try to move on from the past, a new Ghostface emerges. But this particular killer is more sinister than the rest, intending to bring them down by any means necessary. Can Sam protect her friends? Or will Ghostface destroy everything she cares about?

Positives

The “Scream” series has always been a favorite of mine. Each entry in the franchise manages to subvert expectations and provide a generous number of thrills. I also look forward to the meta commentary, where each story examines the current state of horror and the culture that surrounds it.

Every film stands apart in a unique way with a great set of characters. All of this applies to the sixth installment here. The characters from the fifth film were one of my main gripes. I’m happy to say that each of them elevate their standing in the franchise, especially Melissa Barrera. I found her portrayal of Sam to be rather bland in the previous installment. Here, we see a true progression of Sam’s character in a believable way. This helps get emotionally invested as we move forward with the franchise. Props to her for improving Sam’s character.

These new leads have large shoes to fill. While I don’t believe their group is as strong as the original trio, they are certainly moving forward in a fresh way. The opening scene was also impressive. It truly did something new and unexpected. This set the precedent for a story that largely goes in a new direction from the rest of the franchise.

The New York setting was also a nice change of pace. The urban environment provided a tense, riveting series of chase sequences. The idea that Ghostface could be killing in front of other people and blending in with the public adds an extra layer of tension to the story. The bodega chase scene, the claustrophobic train sequence, the ladder escape, and Gale’s one-on-one with Ghostface were some of the best scenes of the franchise.

Ghostface was also at his best, featuring some of the most brutal kills in the series. His dialogue was menacing and mean spirited, creating a truly large threat for our characters.

The cinematography is also a standout. A number of sequences feature crisp imagery and well-crafted set pieces. I also enjoyed the killer reveal. It was quite a different way of going about the finale, embracing the bold, over-the-top nature of the film. Lots to love here!

Negatives

While I believe “Scream VI” is an improvement over its’ predecessor, the flaws are not small enough to overlook. There are certain elements about the fifth film that rubbed me the wrong way.The filmmakers run with some of these controversial ideas in this installment…for better or worse. I could see those who didn’t enjoy the fifth film relaying that sentiment for the sixth.

The film embraces the idea that franchises can evolve and go in a new direction. This could be a divisive aspect of the film, but ultimately I believe this is good to avoid feeing stale.

Some of the dialogue was poorly written and felt too quippy (like the fifth). My main gripe with the film is the amplification of major logic gaps established in the previous film. Characters surviving brutal stabbings and then moving along as if they’re not in pain are prominent throughout the film. This was an issue in the fifth but is more problematic here. Stretching plausibility to this extent can lower the stakes of a film, making the audience believe certain characters are unkillable. If there are no stakes, it’s hard to worry about what will happen. “Scream” used to do this very well, but these past two movies have been extremely lazy in this regard. The filmmakers seem to want to have their cake and eat it too. I hope this is adjusted in future “Scream” installments.

Once the killers are finally revealed, the motivations weren’t the strongest either. Their material felt familiar, while the rest of the film felt fresh.

Conclusion

“Scream VI” slays! It’s a fun, fresh entry that proves a slasher series can continue to surprise the fanbase. I enjoyed the new setting, chilling chase sequences and the character progressions.

While the logic gaps and plausibility continue to be stretched, a brutal Ghostface manages to make this one of the most fun entries in the series. As a longtime fan of the franchise, I definitely recommend checking it out. Strap in for a killer sequel!

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