Dir. Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett
Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield
6 entries in and the SCREAM franchise is as strong as ever. Where others have failed (FRIDAY THE 13TH, ANOES, TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE and HALLOWEEN) it's fair to say that to date there's not been a bad entry in Ghostface's cinematic résumé and rest assured, VI is possible the strongest sequel yet.
Picking up months after Woodsboro, the core 4 survivors are now living in NYC with college and survivalism keeping them together. No sooner are they settled do they start to realise that the past can't stay buried and suddenly the death toll around them starts rising.
SCREAM VI is a strong sequel to 2022's requel of the series (it's not, it's a sequel) and brings back what many could argue as a stronger ensemble than the original trilogy but that's not to say we have some returning faces with Gale and Kirby making a return while Neve Campbell's Nancy is not missed (to no discredit but this entry doesn't need her). With the likes of Jasmin Savoy Brown and Jenna Ortega carving their name as soon to be genre icons, it's Melissa Barrera who anchors the heart of the new saga and she does so with gusto in this instalment.
Her trauma and balance between good and evil (as well as bringing us back Skeet Ulrich) is an interesting narrative rarely covered in the genre regarding the impact trauma survival has on it's victims as well as the relationship between victim and killer that weighs so hard on Sam.
As Brown's character discusses in typical SCREAM trope fashion, the sequel goes bigger and harder and SCREAM VI is the biggest and... best, sequel in the franchise. Moving the events to NYC gives opportunity to upscale the tension and violence giving us the best deaths yet.
Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett have really given life back to Ghostface after a decade long lull and it's refreshing that, through no lack of trying, a franchise coming back with more bite than it had the first (or even second) time round. There are flaws from the limitations of the series - how do you connect the dots, 6 films in and there's still a tedious link to the original that is beyond preposterous, Gail's lack of character growth (every entry she begins as a harsh, selfish journalist only to become an aid to the group in peril) and the constraints of big budget giving a hilarious scene sponsored by Coors. Yet despite that the film still manages to be a fun exhilarating ride that makes it great to be back in the cinema. With plenty of nods to the genre (including a smooth reference to FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VIII) there's plenty to keep horror nerds interested in the background as much as what's happening upfront and centre.
The truth about the SCREAM series is that frankly, it remains a spoof of the genre while effectively giving us some thrills along the way and this entry has as many laughs as it has tension, some intentional, some less so and the reveal is, to quote Benoit Blanc... "just dumb" but by now, we really should expect it, despite the flaws. SCREAM VI is less the clever self knowing chiller it once was and is now just a fun ride to leave your head at home.
With one of the best cast ensembles in recent cinema history, a superb tension build on the subway, some inventive (and brutally earning the 18 rating) deaths, and some interesting breadcrumbs to where the series could go next, we can rest assured that Ghostface won't be down for long.