Connect with us

Movie Reviews

Scream VI ★★★★



Director: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett

Cast: Jenna Ortega, Dermot Mulroney, Henry Czerny, Jasmin Savoy Brown, Melissa Barrera, Mason Gooding, Liana Liberato, Hayden Panettiere, Jack Champion, Devyn Nekoda, Josh Segarra, Tony Revolori, Courteney Cox, Samara Weaving

Release10th March 2023

The Scream franchise is such a fascinating case study of horror filmmaking that functions as an autocritique of the genre itself. Within the universe established by the late Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson, few things are more reviled by its creators than the disposable, morally corrupt STAB films: between the senseless violence and direct allusions to real-life tragedies, the faux slasher series represents the most maligned tendencies of bad genre filmmaking. When Scream returned last year following a long hiatus (this time, without Craven’s affecting touch), it almost felt like the franchise has finally slipped into the very tropes it so deftly ridiculed. Who knew that incorporating so many legacy characters into the mix would prove to be such a hurdle? Scream VI answers that question with a distinctly anti-nostalgic smirk, pushing the commentary on violence and legacy sequels to satirical extremes.

Following yet another Woodsboro massacre, the “Core Four” survivors of the Ghostface killings leave town to start a new life in New York City. Samantha (Melissa Barrera), the daughter of Billy Loomis, is still haunted by the murders that occurred a year ago, and the malicious rumours spread by reddit nerds certainly don’t help the case. Tara (Jenna Ortega), on the other hand, processes the trauma differently, and wishes to distance herself from the protective grasp of her sister. When the new Ghostface killer emerges away from the home turf, the survivors find themselves reliving the nightmare once more – this time, with the help of FBI agent Kirby Reed (Hayden Panettiere).

Functioning within the mode akin to the recent Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the latest Ghostface endeavour from the filmmaking duo behind Ready or Not is a strikingly thrilling, thematically thorny affair that positions gratuitous violence at the forefront of its metacommentary. Where the STAB-obsessed teens from the original quadrilogy were primarily influenced by the horrors of war and daylight terrorism, this new batch of killers are reddit reactionaries who only wish to revive the STAB franchise in all its vicious glory, essentially a gorier copy of its former self. No wonder Scream VI features a shrine dedicated to each and every Ghostface killer that came before it – these trinkets aren’t harrowing reminders of trauma, but objects of obsession.

More importantly, though, the sixth film brings back the affecting camaraderie that was sorely missing from last year’s entry. As hailed by one of its members, the “Core Four” is now a full-fledged survivor group, and the film establishes its rules firmly around that concept. Each victim processes the harrowing events differently, as evidenced by the growing rift between Samantha and Tara, even if the writing’s more explicit attempts at “trauma horror” seem rudimentary at best.

The thrill of chase sequences has always been the staple of the Scream films, and the setting change à la Jason Takes Manhattan takes the gory set pieces out on the grimy alleyways of NYC. This also amplifies the focus on brutality and the discordant enjoyment found in watching increasingly gruesome death scenes – now that all of it occurs in a tangibly real city. There’s something about the pervasive, omnipotent figure of Ghostface boarding a subway car that hearkens back to the key tenets of Wes Craven’s filmmaking: real terror seeping through the cracks of the image, unmasked humans rendered disappointingly pathetic in their feeble form. Scream VI understands that this thrill will never end, and the image will outlast human terror even within the confines of reality. “Who gives a fuck about movies?”, as if there was ever any doubt.

Just For You