Scream VI - New Release Review
Director: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett
Starring: Melissa Barrera, Jenna Ortega, Jasmine Savoy Brown, Mason Gooding, Courteney Cox
Written by: James Vanderbilt, Guy Busick, Kevin Williamson
Produced by: Paul Neinstein, William Sherak, James Vanderbilt
Cinematography by: Brett Junkiewicz
Original Score by: Sven Faulkner, Brian Tyler
In the next installment, the survivors of the Ghostface killings leave Woodsboro behind and start a fresh chapter in New York City
When you get to the 6th entry of a horror franchise, it becomes a risky move for the creators as to which direction they want to take the tone of the series. Do you get a bit silly? Like Chucky or Pinhead or do you stick to your roots and try to reinvent what you’ve achieved 5 times previously? Something that is possible but is often met with diminishing returns. Last year 'Scream' was the latest franchise to receive a ‘Requel’, a soft reboot with new characters but featuring legacy characters and storylines from the original films. That film was able to give us some satisfying endings to certain beloved characters while also introducing us to our new protagonists. The 5th film ended with The Carpenter Sisters, Sam and Tara (Melissa Barrera and Jenna Ortega), surviving their battle with Ghostface(s) and hoping to start a new life together after being estranged for so many years.
Where better to start that new life than NEW YORK BABY! The city that never sleeps and in the year 2019 only had 295 murders by knife crime (I looked it up.) Sam and Tara are joined by twins Chad and Mindy (both survivors from the last movie) to make up the ‘Core Four’. We have new characters as well, but most of them are cannon fodder for Mr Ghostface. Barrera and Ortega still have great chemistry as sisters here. Both very believable and both play the scream queen roles well. Jenna Ortega had a stellar year last year and it continues here as she’s acting circles around the rest of the cast whenever she’s on screen. Melissa Barrera really isn’t doing it for me as the lead of this new trilogy, I can’t quite put my finger on what it is exactly, possibly bad acting, bad writing or a touch of both. In the last movie, Sam’s character sees visions of her father, Billy Loomis. They return here again but for no real reason, as it feels like that storyline was completed by the end of the 5th film.
Mason Gooding and Jasmin Savoy Brown are a fun return as Chad and Mindy Meeks-Martin, with Mindy’s character continuing to be the ‘Randy’ of the series, taking time to explain legacy sequel rules to the rest of the characters. Courtney Cox returns as Gale Weathers but has a significantly lesser role here than the previous movie.
The most impressive aspect of 'Scream VI' is its kills that have become incredibly gory and gruesome. The violence is brutal at times and certainly earns its 18 certificate. It's definitely the cruellest slasher I’ve seen in a long time and at times feels more like something from the 'Saw' franchise rather than 'Scream'. This could put people off as it is quite mean spirited at times but as a horror fiend, I love it.
The beginning of the film introduces an idea we’ve never seen in a 'Scream' film before, but quickly drops that idea to become just a regular ‘Scream’ film. I’ll not spoil it obviously, but it’s maybe something I'd like to see explored in the next film. The “twist” in the film was insanely obvious to me from the start, but this could just be a me problem. I felt like the film didn’t really use the fact that it was set in New York to its full advantage. Apart from one fun sequence on a subway train, the film could have been set in Woodsboro again. I’m not saying I want to see Ghostface swing of the Empire State Building, it just would have been fun to play with the idea that NY is full of millions of people; yet our suspects in the film boil down to about 4 people.
There’s lots here for fans of the 'Scream' franchise, fun nods and references to previous killers and characters etc, but at this point with these new characters, I was hoping for something new. It was looking like that’s what we were going to get; a new city, new character arcs and a new killer who could literally be anybody. What we got was the safe option. Now, there’s nothing wrong with safe, but by the 6th film you’ve got to be taking risks before the series runs stale. The Radio Silence guys have delivered another fun entry into the 'Scream' universe here, but all the blood and guts in the world isn’t going to make up for a paint by numbers plot. With part VII on the way next year, I hope they’ve got some tricks up their sleeves otherwise Ghostface could be on the cusp of losing me...
- Adam Neeson
'Scream VI' is currently in cinemas worldwide right now