“Scream VI” Brings the Terror to NYC:

Our Thoughts on the Latest Horror Requel

Luz Analitis, Arts and Life Editor

For those of you who are not huge horror fans, yes, the Scream film franchise is still going, and the newest – the sixth – installment just came out on March 10, 2023. Now speaking as the huge horror fan that I am, I keep my guard up when it comes to reboots, remakes and “requels” which are reboots and a sequel, but also like to hold onto a bit of optimism in hopes that they will surprise me. This was my mentality going in to see “Scream VI”; skeptical because “Scream” (2022) was awful, yet optimistic because the trailers were intriguing.

I must say overall, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this movie, and my optimism was validated. In case you want to go see it, I will start with a completely spoiler-free review. Towards the end, I will include some spoilers, because therein lies some of my issues with the movie.

“Scream VI” is a continuation from the last movie that follows the same cast of survivors introduced in “Scream” (2022) with a new Ghostface killer targeting them. Legacy characters, Gale Weathers and Kirby Reed, play big roles in the plot as well. Iconic final girl Sidney Prescott is notably absent throughout the entire movie. This is a first for the Scream franchise, as every single other movie  revolves around her character. This is due to actress Neve Campbell deciding not to return because of a dispute over her salary negotiation. I definitely felt her absence in the movie, but I support her decision to stand her ground for a fair salary. The writers also did a good job of writing the story in a way that it would not even make sense if Sidney Prescott showed up anyway.

The trailers and teasers for “Scream VI” initially caught my interest because they boast how this new Ghostface is something different, unlike the other Ghostfaces in the previous films. From the clips we see, he appears to be tactically trained as he skillfully wields a shotgun and the iconic Ghostface knife. He is also particularly agile and shows impressive hand-to-hand combat skills. This is new as compared to the OG “Scream” movies, especially the first three because in those the killers are typically amateur, as sometimes they are a bit clumsy with their attacks.

That is  not the case in this one. Ghostface is particularly brutal and methodical with each attack, and I would argue that this one has some of the most violent kills within the whole franchise. The gore/practical effects look quite realistic and the fight choreographies are visually gripping as well. Seeing this all play out on the big-screen was quite a spectacle, keeping me tensely on the edge of my seat, jaw-dropped, and anxiety-filled, as any good slasher movie should.

I also appreciated that this one was different because it takes place away from the small town of Woodsboro, and we get to see Ghostface in the big leagues, New York City. This accomplishes what other classic slasher franchises, like “Friday the 13th VIII: Jason takes Manhattan”, attempted to do in 1989. Seeing a classic slasher villain like Ghostface in an urban, heavily populated city running around causing havoc is something refreshing and exciting.

I also must note that the writing and acting in this movie are much better as compared to “Scream” (2022). I felt like in the fifth movie, the “meta-type” dialogue was both written and acted out in a way that I found to be extremely annoying and honestly cringey. I will chalk that up to the fact that I think they were still trying to find their footing with how they wanted to go about rebooting the franchise, but I feel like they found it within this sixth one. The cringe-factor was toned down quite a bit and the acting felt all-around more believable. I would even say that the characters grew in likability for me due to these improvements as well.

Now that all of my praises have been laid out for you, I would like to discuss the biggest aspect of the film that I disliked the most: the ending/Ghostface reveal. I felt like they had a huge opportunity to do something completely new and shocking with this reveal, but unfortunately I found it to be super disappointing.

Instead of keeping with the idea that this Ghostface is something different and has never been seen before, it turns out that the unmasking of the killers in this one is pretty predictable and similar to past reveals. I will not give the exact names and background story for the killers in “Scream VI”, but I feel the need to note that this reveal is reminiscent of literally all of the other movies in the franchise. The killers’ motives have always either been due to familial revenge or an obsession with the fictional “Stab” movies within the Scream universe (this excludes Stu Macher because he was peer pressured and far too sensitive). In “Scream VI”, they slightly touch upon obsession with the “Stab” movies, but the main motive of the killers is, once again, familial revenge.

Again, this is so disappointing because they built up a lot of expectation for a new kind of Ghostface as I described earlier, just to let us down with a “twist” ending that was far from a jaw-dropper. The mystery of who Ghostface is, is so central to the plot and is unique to the slasher franchise as a whole. Especially since this movie is also part of a rebooting of the franchise, they had the chance to come up with an ending completely fresh that could lead subsequent sequels down an innovative path. Unfortunately that is not the ending we got. I would have to say that this is the one big fault of “Scream VI” that kept it from being a 10/10 movie.

My hope is that they are leading us up to something really special in the next installment of the franchise (fingers-crossed, the return of Stu Macher), but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

All-in-all, “Scream VI” was a really fun-watch at the theater. If you are a mega-“Scream” fan or enjoyer of slasher films in general, this movie is definitely worth the watch.