With Scream 5 rejuvenating the late Wes Craven’s seminal horror franchise we now have Scream 6 and the template, though broadly the same, has relocated itself to New York with the self-proclaimed ‘core four’ Sam (Melissa Barrera), Tara (Jenna Ortega), Mindy (Jasmin Savoy Brown), and Chad (Mason Gooding) as students they still can’t escape the Woodsboro killer Ghostface still stalking and slashing and here the grue is ramped up with several frenzied stabbings and injury close ups. It’s set out its stall right from the start with the ubiquitous but always entertaining opening scene where an impossibly glamourous film studies professor, the sort that exists only in films and never in Universities, waiting in a Manhattan bar for her date who’s lost. For the first time there’s a bit of a spin of how this sequence will inevitably end.
Tara is overlooked by her over protective sister Sam, overlooking her safety at the student’s parties and its Mindy, the nerdy film geek who, when the slaying starts, points out the rules of horror films in a new world of franchises. It’s the scene of rules that is played out in all the films and here it’s no less entertaining with modernism overhauling the rules which takes in legacy characters et al. But of the legacy characters its only Courtney Cox as the potty mouthed gutter journalist Gale Weathers who returns and she vies with the return of Hayden Panettiere, now an FBI agent vying with each other for top position as they try to track down the identity of whoever is Ghostface. With each film having different persons playing the masked killer part of the success of the franchise is that it will always be person new and the fun is trying to figure out who it might be as well as their motive which in previous films has veered perilously close to an episode of Scooby Doo
Scream 6 is very much a female led instalment of the slasher favourite but its Barrera as Sam who is front and centre and it is kind of a lost opportunity when Ortega’s star is very much on the rise and yet she is underused here. What is clear is that with the film briefly paying lip service to the reason for Sidnee Prescott’s absence (no mention of Neve Campbell’s pay dispute though) and is now seemingly out of the franchise and Scream 6 makes it clear that the sisters are going to be the new leading legacy characters future films.
Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett return to direct and do sterling work with several decent set pieces notably one on an underground metro system and another where Ghostface, for the first time, uses a shotgun in a bodega and several scenes where the self aware script in typical Scream style dissects the genre with several decent throwaway lines ( ‘Psycho 2 is under rated!’ and screenwriter James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick are right on that count!). Though a little overlong relocating to a new setting with an array of suspects to keep you guessing makes Scream 6 a refresher to a series that only really flagged with the middle entries. This latest will please fans and should ensure the franchise will continue
Further features: The making of Scream 5
Here’s the Scream 6 trailer……