Scream 6 review: a bloodier, better sequel

“With Scream 6, directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett deliver a slasher thrill ride that’s better than the duo’s bland 2022 reboot in every possible way.”

Advantages

  • Quite a few memorable intense set pieces

  • An unpredictable, exciting prologue

  • A nice set of heroes

Disadvantages

  • A slightly disappointing third act villain reveal

  • A rushed final battle

  • Hit-and-miss social commentary throughout

Contrary to what its reputation might suggest, the Scream franchise was never as interested in reinventing the wheel as it was in polishing it up a bit and sending it rolling back down the hill. That’s been true since the franchise’s debut hit theaters in 1996 and introduced the concept of the meta-slasher horror film, and it’s still true in Scream 6. The new film comes a year after last year’s Screamwhich saw the horror franchise move away from the death of original director Wes Craven, passing the directorial reins to Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett of production company Radio Silence.

In its extraordinary opening minutes, Scream 6 pretense at reinvention. After opening with the death of yet another unsuspecting blonde (played by an underused Samara Weaving, the star of the 2019 Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillett horror comedy Ready or not), Scream 6 does what no one else does Scream The film has before: She reveals the face of the killer of her first victim. For a few shocking moments, it looks like the movie is going to ditch the usual franchise structure in favor of one Columbus-the “howcatchem” plot where viewers enter for the first time Scream story, you know who the killer is.

It’s not much of a spoiler to say that this isn’t the case after all. Instead, Scream 6 she once again subverts her audience’s expectations a few minutes later with a double murder that sets the film back on a familiar narrative path. Fortunately, while it is easy to imagine a world in which Scream 6 more directly following the promise of its opening minutes, what emerges is a horror-comedy that’s every bit as intense, brutal, and genuinely gripping as any other Scream movie released this century.

Sam, Tara, Mindy and Chad stand together in Scream 6.
Paramount Pictures

Scream 6 picks up one year after the events of its predecessor in 2022. When the film begins, Scream 5His survivors, Sam Carpenter (Melissa Barrera), Tara Carpenter (Jenna Ortega), Mindy Meeks-Martin (Jasmin Savoy Brown) and Chad Meeks-Martin (Mason Gooding) all made the wise decision to leave their hometown of Woodsboro. California, back in favor of college life in New York. Unfortunately for them, it’s not long before the already fragile peace of their lives is shattered by the appearance of a new killer Ghostface – one who makes it their mission to make the world believe that it was Barrera’s Sam who really committed the atrocities his murders Scream 5.

To do this, Ghostface relentlessly hunts down and attacks Sam, Tara, Mindy, Chad (known in the film as the “core four”) and the rest of their loved ones. While Scream 6 introduces a handful of new characters, it also brings back two more familiar faces in the form of recurring Scream reporter Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox) and Scream 4 Kirby Reed (Hayden Panettiere) stands out. After the first of the film’s Ghostface murders, Kirby arrives in New York with an FBI badge, a gun, and an offer to help Sam, Tara and the rest of the core four take down their latest would-be killer.

Scream 6, in other words, follows the same basic formula as the previous five installments of the franchise. Even the film’s laid-back college setting creates an unlikely connection between it and 1997 Scream 2. The only iconic element missing from the new film, in fact, is Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell). The original Scream The last girl does not appear Scream 6 as a result of some behind-the-scenes contract disputes between Campbell and the film’s producers. While Scream 6His attempt to explain Sidney’s absence is inevitably hollow, surprisingly not affecting the film much one way or the other.

Ghostface swings a knife in Scream 6.
Paramount Pictures

Scream 6Her success without Campbell is due in part to how well her ensemble works together on screen. As Sam Carpenter, Sidney’s potential franchise stand-in, Barrera seems to be in much better control of her character here than she was in Scream 5. Opposite her, Ortega and Gooding make the biggest impressions of the film’s four main cast members, turning in performances that feel grounded despite the inherently heightened nature of the material they’re dealing with. Scream 6. Savoy Brown doesn’t fare as well as Mindy, who comes across as an even more flattering image than her Scream 5. Elsewhere, both Panettiere and Cox give comfortable, confident performances as their respective Scream veterans.

Cox, in particular, has a real chance to shine Scream 6. The actress is at the center of one of the film’s best sequences, which follows Cox’s Gale as she is forced to try to defend herself against a violent invasion of Ghostface’s home. While the film makes the most of its cast members, it’s ultimately Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillett who make Scream 6 sing for real. The directing duo brings out the violence and tension in the second Scream excursion, offering a slasher thrill ride that’s not only bloodier and grimmer than its predecessor, but more aggressively intense and shredding.

The twin’s increased approach to Scream 6 it leads to some of the most memorable set pieces in horror franchise history, in fact. From a jaw-dropping escape sequence that makes heavy use of the space between New York apartment blocks to a violent bodega exchange and a tense Halloween nighttime subway ride, Gillett and Bettinelli-Olpin prove time and time again that they understand how confined spaces can to create certain scenes. so much scarier. The same goes for the duo’s clever use of sound design throughout the film. One particularly memorable sequence uses the sound of a door slamming relentlessly to gradually increase the film’s intensity until it reaches unbearable heights.

Gale Weathers stands in an old elevator in Scream 6.
Paramount Pictures

Between these moments of tension, James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick’s screenplay is full of moments of meta-humor that, typically Scream fashion, land and miss with almost equal frequency. For example, a monologue from Savoy Brown’s Mindy about the rules of Hollywood “requils” doesn’t have the same amount of acid bite as, say, a moment when Ghostface interrogates Gale over the phone about what it’s like to play “second violin”. ” at Campbell’s Sidney over the years. As happened to its predecessor in 2022, Scream 6His climactic reveal doesn’t work as well as some of the franchise’s previous twists in the third act.

The actor responsible for the delivery Scream 6His latest twist, however, does so with a level of deranged camp intensity that is, frankly, commendable. While the film occasionally struggles to make its larger narrative beats hit as hard as they wish, there’s never a sense that Scream 6 it doesn’t know exactly what kind of experience it’s meant to deliver. Like many of Scream’s outings that have come before it, the film is a reminder of just how exciting well-crafted slasher flicks can still be. Even if it never swings for more than that, Scream 6 still manages to cut deep.

Scream 6 now playing in theaters.

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