Scream VI Movie Review
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If Scream (2022) left you unsure of the direction of the franchise, please let Scream VI (2023) put your mind at ease.
Six months after the terror in Woodsboro, Tara (Jenna Ortega) has moved with the twins, Chad (Mason Gooding) and Mindy (Jasmin Savoy Brown), and on to Blackmore University in New York to forget she ever lived in a town whose sole personality was breeding serial killers. Sam (Melissa Barrera), now over-protective of her little sister, sticks to Tara like cat hair. Sam brings with her the notoriety of surviving the Woodsboro Massacre, with internet denizens believing she orchestrated the Ghostface killings, drawing more unwanted attention and scrutiny when she goes viral after a minor assault.
After two college film students, trying to emulate the Ghostface murders in New York, are found brutally unalived with Ghostface masks from previous crime scenes, suspicion once again falls on Sam. With Tara’s roommate Quinn (Liana Liberato), Mindy’s girlfriend Anika (Devyn Nekoda), and Chad’s dormmate, Ethan (Jack Champion), they work together to both stay alive and ahead of the new Ghostface Killer in a city that has embraced the Ghostface mask with the usual cruel glee found in a city that never sleeps.
It’s not all running and screaming as Kirby Reed (Hayden Panettiere) returns from Scream IV, now Agent Reed, and she’s using the resources of the FBI and her wealth of horror movie knowledge to keep the college kids safe. Speaking of police, there’s Detective Bailey (Dermot Mulroney), who is also Quinn’s father, who thinks they can stop the Ghostface Killer from repeating history once and for all.
Scream VI reminds everyone that there are rules to be observed in horror movies, and because this is officially a franchise, everything is bigger: the kills are bigger and bloodier, no one is safe from catching a knife to the throat, absolutely no one can be trusted and expect the twist as the unexpected cherry on the sundae – but it’s probably a finger. With Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox) as the only returning survivor from the original trilogy, the Core Four as they call themselves, Tara, Sam, Chad and Mindy keep the 27-year-old franchise fresh, something the Halloween franchise seems unable or unwilling to do (yeah, I said it).
In keeping with the fun without being campy spirit of the original, nothing about Scream VI feels like a retread. The opening sequence points out modern sensibilities mingled with basic human fallibility, and every chase, corner, kill sequence is an original that doesn’t rely on previous movies or recycled ideas. The action is fast-paced, the dialogue is kept conversational, and it’s clever. There are funny bits and serious bits and bits that make you cringe.
Scream VI is a great drive-in movie, a fun theater movie, and a movie that could be watched at home in your favorite pajamas with the lights off. It feels like a good time with new friends, even as they’re all being murdered. That’s not to say Scream VI is without flaws, but horror movies are not the place for logic. You may have minor quibbles over a set piece or gravity or the practical depth of a knife wound in relation to the natural placement of human organs, but just keep telling yourself, it’s only a movie.
It’s more fun that way.
Scream VI (2023) is rated R for swears, people getting stabbed, sliced, gutted, and shot with sudden stops from high falls, and lots and lots of blood.