Scream VI Review – Ghostface takes over Manhattan
Ghostface is back with Scream VI, this time taking on the mean streets of New York City with the most brutal take on the horror icon yet. Excitement and brutality don’t necessarily equate to greatness, however, so let’s take a look at whether or not Ghostface’s sixth appearance really does this fantastic horror franchise justice.
Scream VI sees the survivors of the 2022 Woodsboro Massacre living in New York City trying to get on with their lives. Unfortunately, a new Ghostface has risen in the Big Apple with a level of brutality and ferocity unlike any previous hitman.
With that, let’s address one of the most pressing questions people have about the film, which is Neve Campbell’s Sidney Prescott. As announced, Campbell is nowhere to be found in the new entry as negotiations have collapsed and she feels the studio doesn’t value what she is bringing to the table with the franchise.
Well, I’m here to tell you that while the film does feel weird in places without Sidney, her absence doesn’t really detract from the enjoyment of the film. Scream VI does an excellent job of explaining why certain legacy characters are around in New York City and why someone like Sidney isn’t, even mentioning her in a few other moments.
Speaking of legacy characters, Scream VI has a few, most notably Gale Weathers and the fan-requested Kirby. It’s fantastic to see both actresses again, and although they both have smaller roles than they probably should have, luckily they still get incredibly memorable scenes. Gale in particular is given an absolutely incredible sequence, and Kirby has fantastic banter with one of the newer characters.
Scream VI also rewards longtime fans of the franchise with Easter eggs galore throughout the film, particularly one of the locations in the film that if you’ve seen the trailer you know exactly what I’m talking about. However, the film has a lot more Easter Eggs and even references some theories that Scream fans had in a very funny and cheeky way.
One of the main goals of this next part is to really establish the “Core Four”, that’s the group of newcomers who survived Ghostface’s fifth attempt, consisting of sisters Sam and Tara and twins Mindy and Chad. One thing that Sidney’s absence really allows for is that the Core Four get most of the focus and really shine, with the group becoming great characters themselves.
Wednesday star Jenna Ortega is back as Tara and she’s fantastic as always, especially with some great scenes with her sister. Tara’s older sister Sam, played by Melissa Barrera, also returns, with her character clearly representing the franchise’s new lead. Luckily, Barrera does a much better job this time, which could be in large part because Scream (2022) tried to hide a lot about Sam, but now that everything is out in the open her character can shine a little more. Not to mention that both Barrera and Ortega have much better chemistry as sisters this time around and provide fantastic support for both characters.
Mason Gooding and Jasmine Savoy Brown are also here as Chad and Mindy respectively, continuing their portrayal of the lovable twins. Gooding has made a name for himself outside of his famous father, and while he’s begun to be seen as a cocky but kind-hearted athlete, he’s just so amazing at it. Brown is the franchise’s new Randy Meeks, and she does just as well here as she did in Scream (2022), especially with the monologue she has to deliver.
Another character that obviously needs to be talked about is that of the legendary Ghostface, who took his killing spree to the Big Apple. As always, Roger L. Jackson is deliciously evil as the killer’s voice, with the kills and chases in this film being some of the most brutal and evil the franchise has ever seen. However, while Ghostface may be grander in Scream VI, the film’s script can still make him feel like he belongs in the series. From a train to a supermarket to NYC apartments, even on the city streets, Ghostface manages to be terrifying as he’s really ready to pounce anywhere.
Part of the reasoning for Ghostface needing to be bigger has to do with how the film needs to ensure it fits into the New York City environment. Scream VI marks the first time the franchise has embraced an environment like this, as while Screams 2 and 3 have urban aspects, they feel a lot more isolated than this sixth entry.
The directors and writers are definitely up to the task with the film, making Manhattan feel like a natural evolution for the franchise as the film manages to continue to feel like the slasher series everyone knows and loves. This is largely due to Jackson’s performance and the dialogue he receives, because although the setting is different, the overall spirit of Ghostface is still there.
It might be the first thought that a town would be much safer with a killer around since it’s so crowded, but that’s certainly not the case as Scream VI portrays it. That makes it all the more frightening, because if you’re not safe in a group of people, there seems to be no place to hide.
The New York City setting is used particularly well in the film’s opening scene, which has become a hallmark of the Scream franchise, with Scream VI being one of the series’ most unique and memorable to date. The opening does a great job of not only beating expectations but also getting people in the right mindset as to what this new Scream movie is up to.
To be able to see a horror franchise still doing things unique and fresh is real eye candy, as Scream VI offers the series’ signature commentary, this time revolving around long-running franchises. As always, some hilarious observations are made about the clichés of these franchises and brands that will excite hardcore fans of the genre when they mention them.
If there’s really something to criticize about the sixth Scream part, it’s that the movie doesn’t have the greatest third act. Personally, I was able to pull off most of what went on before the big reveal of who Ghostface was, although the movie does it in a fun and unique way, so it’s not a huge complaint. It’s just worth noting that if you’re expecting a complex, hard-to-solve puzzle, you’re honestly not getting it this time.
Not to mention that the third act of Scream VI is a bit fancier and overall feels different than the rest of the film, which somewhat detracts from the overall experience. It’s worth noting that the film’s third act might simply be a victim of how strong the rest of the film is, as it’s certainly fun; it’s only outshined by the film’s instantly iconic sequences.
At the end of the day, Scream VI is sure to be a great time, especially for those who are big Scream fans and ready to see another movie step outside of Woodsboro; it sure made this Scream fan happy.
There were rumors that Paramount were very happy with the finished product they got here, and it’s easy to see why they would be. The setting of New York City is exceptionally well woven into the franchise, with a great cast of characters and new moments that horror fans are sure to remember for years to come. There are even rumors that a Scream 7 is actually coming to complete the new trilogy, and if it’s anywhere near as good as this film I’ll be first in line to book tickets.
Scream VI will be released in theaters exclusively on March 10, 2023, when audiences can find out exactly who this new Ghostface really is.
Our verdict: Must watch
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