I’m a little behind on the reviews, y’all. In the last few weeks I’ve moved, had a dental surgery done, made huge strides in wrapping up my latest work-in-progress, and attended ECCC where I served on my first ever literary panel. Yet somehow, I did manage to watch Scream VI amidst all that; I just wasn’t able to find time for a review until now. Forgive me, and come along as we discuss the latest happenings with our good friend, Ghostface.
This is the second in the “requel” Scream series that started with last year’s Scream (ostensibly, Scream 5, but that’s not how it’s branded). It gave us some new heroes in the form of Melissa Barrerra’s Sam and Jenna Ortega’s Tara. That right there makes for a couple of stellar headliners, with the latter having become a household name after her run as Wednesday. I’d watch any movie with those two as the leads, but I didn’t need the pull of big stars to watch a new Scream movie. I’ve been a fan since the very beginning, and unlike a lot of franchises, this one hasn’t overstayed its welcome, and Scream VI did nothing to make me think it’s about to.
Don’t get me wrong, Scream VI isn’t going to blow your socks off. It’s more of the same, but there’s always more horror to lampoon and more commentary to make on society. This one shakes it up by bringing Ghostface to the big city instead of the suburbs and that makes for a lot of new, inventive, and intense scenes. At least two of them rank among the best in Scream history, but I won’t spoil them here.
If you’re a big Scream fan like myself and you’ve committed all the Ghostfaces to memory, then this movie will really tickle you, as the whole setup is designed to pay homage to everyone who’s worn the mask in the past. Everything’s connected, and Scream VI does a good job throwing possible candidates in your face that you might get at least a little bit misdirected. It’s a tough line to walk to make it so that you don’t figure out who the killer is, but also don’t feel cheated on the reveal. Scream 6 leans more toward giving you enough to figure it out, but there were at least a few wrinkles that kept me guessing up to the very end.
As a writer myself (of horror, no less), I really appreciated the subtle mirroring done in Scream VI. Some movies, like The Force Awakens, beat you over the head by rehashing the exact plot its meant to serve as an homage to, but Scream VI does this more subtly, understanding its place as the second in the requels, but never going so hard to replicate it that it feels like you’re watching Scream 2 all over again. You probably won’t even notice the parallels unless you’re looking.
Overall, Scream VI delivers on its promises. It’s a solid installment in a near-perfect franchise, buoyed by a stellar cast and just enough new to keep you hooked. At the same time, it is just a Scream movie, which keeps it from reaching the heights of the best movie of the year or anything like that. If you like the series, you’ll want to catch this one. If you don’t, this one won’t be the one to change your mind.
Should you watch it? It’s a must-watch if you’re into Scream.
Should you take your kids? It’s a franchise about a string of serial killers, this one being among the most brutal of the bunch, so… no.
What you should watch first: You could probably enjoy this without context, but it will be a far better time if you’ve watched all of the previous Scream movies.