The sequel to the sequel to the ‘Scream’ saga hits theaters, which in its sixth installment tries to reinvent itself (again) with a change of scenery and more blood and gore than ever. In ‘Scream’ (2022), Ghostface followed new rules, those of the reboot, among them that the murderer had to have a connection with the first villain, original characters had to appear and a lot of attention with the group of friends. In addition, he broke some of the pre-established rules, such as that any LGTBIQ + character had his survival assured or that the deaths had to be increasingly elaborate. ‘Scream VI’ has a new statute, that of franchises, in which no character is safe, neither the new protagonists nor the classics, and everything, absolutely everything, has to go further, that’s why we changed Woodsboro for the Big Apple, because if nobody in space can hear your screams, in New York they ignore them directly.
Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett return behind the scenes with a script by James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick, that is, same team for more (more) of the same. And what is it about? The survivors of the earlier massacre, the Carpenter sisters, head to New York where Tara (Jenna Ortega) and twins Mindy (Jasmin Savoy Brown) and Chad (Mason Gooding) attend college. Sam (Melissa Barrera) is still traumatized that her boyfriend Richie (Jack Quaid) tried to kill them and that her father was a serial killer living in her head; and of course a new assassin under the mask of Ghostface wants to stab the whole world. Also returning is Courteney Cox’s Gale Wheaters and Hayden Panettiere as Kirby Reed, the final girl from ‘Scream 4’, which returns to the franchise 12 years later. New additions include Dermot Mulroney, Jack Champion (‘Avatar: The Sense of Water’), Devyn Nekoda, Josh Segarra and Liana Liberato.
If the fifth installment was a tribute to the master Wes Craven and all his filmography, ‘Scream VI’ navigates its own metaverse (although with some homage to Alfred Hitchcock). And we no longer talk about winks, if not to incorporate into the plot all his lore. Win integers if you come with your homework done, but those who come back to the saga have nothing to fear, after all, this is not Marvel, and we have come here to see people die. To enter, you only need basic knowledge of horror movie clichés (not anatomy, forget those).
The film opens with his classic phone call, the first plot twist of a script that will not cease in its efforts to burst the expectations of both its fans and its characters. Who or who hides behind the mask? The question continues to work after 27 years of saga (and may continue to do so if the box office is good) because it continues to embrace the same irreverent and wild spirit. ‘Scream’ has always taken the genre tremendously seriously, with an enviable sense of humor and self-awareness. In addition, and unlike its predecessor, ‘Scream VI’ is less ironic and critical of its audience while the blood flows as expected of it.
“Who cares about movies?”
Following Mindy’s monologue precepts about what a sequel should deliver, not only the stabbings increase, but also their magnitude. We will see more violent and ambitious deaths and Ghostface even trades knives for firearms in one of the most memorable sequences of its 123-minute run. Of course, this has to compete with the set piece of the New York subway on Halloween night, a mousetrap full of monsters and movie references whose last stop is an abandoned movie theater converted into a museum. This scenario works almost like a metaphor for a film that uses the full weight of its story to gain momentum.
‘Scream VI’ doesn’t try to replace Neve Campbell, it doesn’t even try very hard to justify her absence, and the void left by Sidney Prescott hurts less thanks to Ortega, who has just swept away with an equally dark role in ‘Wednesday’; and Barrera, the psychopathic heroine we deserve. We must also highlight Gooding and Savor Brown as great secondary scene-stealers and Cox as an anchor to the legacy of Craven and Kevin Williamson.
Subversive and at the same time consistent with its own identity stamp, the new proposal of the (now) franchise has enough blood for fans of the slasher, enough easter egg for fans of the saga and enough rhythm, action and tension to succeed as a thriller. Ghostface is in good shape and ‘Scream VI’ is too.
The best: Your meta-consciousness.
Worst: It is a sixth installment, the final twist is no longer so difficult to guess.