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  • Rev Horror

Scream VI

Dir. Matt Bettinelli-Olpin & Tyler Gillett (2023)

The survivors of the latest attack in Woodsboro have moved to New York City for college, but that doesn't stop someone who is looking to pick up where the last Ghostface left off.


CAUTION: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS


I have not made it a secret that I was not at all a fan of last year's Scream, which I will heretofore refer to as Scream 5. I thought it was relatively convoluted, meta for the sake of meta, and lacked any truly great kills that set it apart from any other standard slasher. It was like a movie that was making fun of the Scream franchise, but in a mean-spirited way where the characters seemed to want to mention how "meta" everything was every chance they got to remind the audience which movie they had chosen to see that evening. The characters were unlikeable, and the whole thing felt like a cashgrab attempt to make zennials feel like they had a slasher franchise too. I didn't review it for here (though I'll get around to it someday, and maybe my opinions will have even changed by then!)


Thankfully, Scream VI, despite the radical change in scenery from the small town of Woodsboro to the bright lights and crowded streets of New York, felt more like a return to the roots of the franchise, wherein a killer with a convoluted backstory was doing his best to kill as many teenagers within a tiny friend group as possible. While I felt like VI was a decent movie with some fantastic death scenes and some better-than-average gore, the actual kill count was the one place where it really suffered and failed to live up to the previous installments, even V which I detested. If you don't want the film spoiled for you, you might want to go give it a watch on Paramount Plus before you read any further.

My biggest gripe with Scream VI is that the killers were incredibly ineffective. There was a friend group consisting of seven people, four of whom had survived the massacre from the last film and two of whom were roommates of the survivors. Gail Weathers returns, as does Kirby Reed from Scream IV. Of course, we have a few hangers-on that are easy cannon fodder, such as a significant other of one of the main characters, and a psychiatrist who was trying to fix Sam, the character from V who was the bastard daughter of Billy Loomis and was compelled to kill for no good reason at all, seemingly.


Of these people, TWO characters were killed by the killers. TWO. In fact, Ghostface's total kill count from the film, outside of a few randos in a convenience store, was, what, four people in total? There's a great kill at the beginning of the movie (which won't at all come as a surprise for fans of the franchise,) but that kill was by pretenders to the throne rather than the person (or people, we'll get into that in a second) who would be Ghostface for the majority of the movie. Considering that there were THREE killers, that's literally less than a kill per killer! I can promise you, if Ghostface continues to be as inept as he was in this film in future sequels, the Scream franchise won't be long for this world.

Those gripes being made, I do want to say that I actually really enjoyed the movie. There were the prototypical jumpscares, and Scream is rarely a scary franchise for anyone that's not new to the genre. The kills were fairly brutal, and there were a couple of memorable scenes that I particularly enjoyed. The acting was actually pretty decent, especially compared to Scream V, and the cast of characters was not particularly hurt by the absence of Neve Campbell (sacrilege, I know), especially since Hayden Panettiere was back as as Kirby. For the sixth movie in a franchise, it was far better than most slashers achieve that deep into the series. While I hate I missed the movie in theaters, I was glad that it's streaming free on Paramount Plus so I could give it a watch. I definitely recommend you giving it a go as well, especially if you were considering not doing so after the last film. You'll be glad you did.


Who this movie is for: Meta horror fans, Scream franchise lovers, People who think Jason isn't the only killer who can go to New York


Bottom line: Scream VI was surprisingly successful, especially considering that I hated the last one. The actors did a great job (including a surprise cameo from Scream Queen Samara Weaving), the kills were pretty gnarly at times, and the killers motivations were as convoluted as ever. Despite having an incredibly low body count, VI is probably the third or fourth best film in the series. For most series, that would be an insult, but Scream films are surprisingly good, even when they're generally not. Definitely recommend checking this one out on Paramount Plus.


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