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'Scream VI' Review: New Direction Done Right

Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

March 2023 continues to give us a lot of movies, including franchise films. The next film to come out this busy March is Scream VI. After Scream (2022), Samantha and Tara Carpenter, alongside Chad and Mindy Meeks-Martin, leave Woodsboro to start over in New York City. Scream VI was also the first Scream film where Neve Campbell doesn’t return as Sydney Prescott. Would Scream VI be fine without the main star of the series?

Scream VI continues to build on the momentum of Scream (2022). The new cast introduced in the previous film shined in this film and developed more chemistry. Melissa Barrera returns as Sam Carpenter and is once again the main character. She is dealing with the aftermath of the Woodsboro killings and conspiracy theories that claim she was behind those murders. It even stuns her therapist. She continues to see hallucinations of Billy Loomis, once again played by Skeet Ulrich, telling her to embrace being his daughter and become a killer. I love how they make her different from previous characters in the Scream franchise by giving her this crazy side.

Tara Carpenter, played by Jenna Ortega, is trying to move from what happened in the previous film and does not like how over-protective Sam is of her. Ortega improves in this film, as it feels like she is given a lot more to do instead of being injured for most of the film. Jason Gooding and Jasmin Savoy Brown are given more screen time and character development playing Chad and Mindy Meeks-Martin.

Returning from the previous Scream films were Courtney Cox and Hayden Panettiere. It’s great to see Panettiere return as Kirby to share what she’s been up to since the events of Scream 4 and reveal how she felt after surviving Ghostface in that film. As for Cox returning as Gale Weathers, this felt like her weakest performance as the character. While it’s great to see one of the original characters return, it felt like they did nothing new with the character, and the film wouldn’t feel much different if she wasn’t in it.

Neve Campbell does not return as Sydney Prescott because the studio would not pay her more. Her presence is missed, and she deserved to get paid more. At the same time, it wouldn’t make sense to include Sydney. The main focus is now on Samantha Carpenter and the rest of the core four. The one scene in Scream VI where it would have been great to see her in is the part where the group that survived previous Ghostface attacks came across the shrine that has everything from past incidents.

What I like the most about Scream VI is that they go into a new setting with New York City and take advantage of it. The subway scene shown in the trailers was suspenseful. Out of all the Scream sequels, this film felt different for the first two acts. The cold opening is different, and tells the audience they have no idea what to expect. The kills are more violent and bloody. The film also took place during Halloween, adding more confusion about where the real Ghostface is in a big city.

While Scream VI is one of the better Scream films, it's far from perfect. The main problem I had was the motivation for the Ghostface killers. When the culprits are revealed, it's unexpected at first. The reason why they killed and injured all those people and tried to kill Samantha and the gang was predictable because we have already seen the motivation in a previous Scream film. It's disappointing because Scream VI was doing everything differently in a good way before this reveal. The final confrontation was still good despite this.

The other issue this film has is some of these stabbings should have killed some of the characters that survived this film, which is a problem with previous Scream films in general, not just this film. It's cool that some fan-favorite characters survived, but it feels like they are taking fewer risks with who gets killed off than they did in previous films. It also takes away some of that realism the Scream franchise does have over other slasher franchises, such as Halloween and Friday the 13th.

Overall, Scream VI continues to show that the Scream franchise is not like the other slasher horror franchises. The new cast improves and builds chemistry. It’s great to have Hayden Panettiere as Kirby back. Neve Campbell as Sidney Prescott was missed, but the film does not need to rely on her. The crew takes advantage of using New York City as a new setting. Ghostface's motivations could have been better. The film leaves the door open for more Scream films, but also ends in a way where the film is a fitting conclusion if they do not make more Scream films. I highly recommend this film to Scream fans.

My final grade for Scream VI is a B+. The film is a solid entry in the Scream franchise that still manages to entertain fans and offer new ideas in the franchise.

What did you think of Scream VI? Let us know in the comments below.

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