Scream VI

Scream VI ★★★★

“Fuck this franchise”.

Many thoughts, but I’ll keep it pretty brief and without important spoilers.

On a technical level, I have to say that this is a major improvement over V — which admittedly suffered due to COVID protocols. Here, fake New York City looks believable, with backdrops that pop and much better color grading. You can rest easy, this ain’t no Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes a Boat. Although, that gets a cute nod.

Moving the action from good ole Woodsboro to The Big Apple for this requel sequel provides an entirely new playground for Ghostface. As horror geek Mindy puts it, they’re all part of a franchise now — ignore the rules and hope for the best, because in order to continue an IP, you gotta be willing to sacrifice key players. This, of course, signals that everyone is fair game.

The Stab games that ensue — after a thrilling first night of mayhem, featuring the most cynical opening since the first two — bring back a confident vitality that I haven’t felt in a while with these films. Despite liking 2022’s relaunch, it played things too safely for its own good.

With this installment, the new team of creatives get to have fun with the sandbox they’ve created. We feel for the “core four” (as the survivors get nicknamed) as they’re thrown into this fresh nightmare. The series has never been more focused on trying to get us invested in its characters, which allows for several heartfelt moments.

The whole main cast delivers genuine performances, ranging from the signature meta wit to absolute terror. Side note: Melissa Barrera fully proves that Sam deserved to become the focus of V and now VI.

In between the tender interactions, Scream VI obviously doesn’t forget that it is a slasher movie. When the killer strikes, its presence elicits gasps of horror. The film’s main set pieces - a bodega, a subway, an apartment building, a luxurious penthouse and a shrine - all get to be properly utilized in a way we have not witnessed since the one-two punch of 1996 and Scream 2.

As for Act 3… fuck the gossip. It’s relentless, unhinged, and offers some excellent shots —including one that had me speechless despite being two seconds long; truly a top 10 ever.

Now, onto the nitpicks: Ghostface definitely feels like it can teleport, and this is more blatant than ever, but this late in the game you can maybe overlook it — it’s just a movie. Next, the killer(s) motivation surely could’ve packed more depth considering the theme that is hinted in the beginning — perhaps Scream 7 can build upon what was shown here. The meta commentary is also stretched thin, but at least Stab takes a backseat because of it.

Make no mistake though: you’d be hard pressed to find another slasher series other than Chucky that’s managed to maintain this level of integrity, six movies and nearly three decades in. And with the ending montage, a lot is promised… We might be headed for the most gut-wrenching chapter yet.

I say: Bring. It. On.

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