Scream VI

Scream VI ★★★

So I didn't necessarily anticipate seeing Scream 6 again so soon - as much as I adore the franchise, and I did think the latest entry was a pretty fantastic slasher despite some faults, I just didn't feel an urge to revisit it within the same month. That's not necessarily a bad thing at all, very few movies are ones I'd ever see again in the same year. A friend decided they planned to see it though, and I found myself with some free time, so what the heck.

Scream VI is worse on re-watch. There are some frustrating leaps that have to be made to follow the positions and the identity beneath the Ghostface masks when you're engaged with the knowledge of the reveal. It may be a standard horror trope for the killers to just be wherever they need to be when the film requires it, but Scream as a franchise has always felt a little better than this - the who dunnit element requires movement and character consistencies. The logical conclusion of who attacked at the corner shop doesn't actually make much sense when tracking the placement and timing of the scenes around them (and the context they'd need to escape to be in the mask), likewise, it's easy to understand how characters may have gotten through some locked doors - but when the camera is present in the room the entire scene in real time, the question of how they got through is frustrating (and we can conclude they definitely didn't arrive first).

All this is, well, kind of nit-picking for a genre that has never been above it - but when the third act/reveal is the weakest part of the movie, it makes a lot of other scenes feel cheated when you can't even fully follow along with the logic needed to solve the puzzle without some bold guessing and justifying. It also makes the Ghostface movie reverence dialogue feel a little more on-the-nose when it doesn't really suit the characters - but I guess they're getting into character.

This doesn't negate how fun some of the kills and chases are, Scream VI is a pretty top-tier demonstration of tension, coupled with some inventive kills. It also doesn't hurt that the pacing is really quite excellent, ignoring the obligatory "explain the rules" scene that kind halts the movie for a moment (and yes, I know it's not Scream without it, but if the filmmakers are so disinterested in doing that scene, then find a new way to do it). It's maybe more obvious when the script is serving the fans more than the directors too because of how good the acting is (significantly improved over the fifth), with always feeling like they're building the characters to something and exploring their relations. It's not revolutionary writing at all, but there are some excellent set ups and payoff moments to how people operate here. The ham-fisted movie explanations and one liners, on the other hand, feel separated from any of that. Instead, it's just kind of there.

Scream VI is also just not as funny as the films it's following - clever humour has been replaced with references or self-reverence, with the only fun jokes being repeats of the jokes we've seen before (the TV playing a horror movie foreshadowing the moment) or general quips.

So, what Scream VI is: arguably a bad Scream film, but a great slasher. That's all well and good, but in its attempts to mould into the Scream format, it has a tiresome third act and some forced joke lines that contrast with how truly great the execution of the good parts are.

But as I said with the fourth, then the fifth, and now the sixth - no other horror franchise has maintained this average level of quality or been this consistently watchable and fun. If the worst I can say about Scream VI is that it's changed from my preferred mode of the franchise, but it's still well directed and a lot of fun, then heck, I can't wait to see the seventh.

(7/10 First Watch, 6/10 on Second Watch - the disappointment in how the knowledge of the ending hurts the rest of the film is still pretty heavily countered by how fun the overall experience is regardless)

Block or Report

Taylor liked these reviews