Joel Hilke’s review published on Letterboxd:
Well... this is awkward. Near the end of Scream VI, I was loving the movie to the point of thinking I'd give it a 4.5 star review. Problem is, I gave the original Scream a 4. How can this be? Scream is an all-time classic... how can the sixth movie in the franchise be better? Heresy! "Burn the witch" I hear the mob scream.
Scream VI stars the two sisters from 2022 Scream (played by Mellissa Barrera and Jenna Ortega) now living in NYC and trying to get over the stab-a-thon they previously survived. But it's Halloween and Ghost Face is on the prowl. Again.
The move to the big city made the film more atmospheric and moody than the previous films set in Sunny California. I loved the change in tone, the gritty streets, the crowds, and the subway. The move away from a small town doesn't automatically make it better, but it sure makes it feel different.
I was more into the murder mystery than I have been since the original Scream. That seems like a small ask, but in most of the past films, I've shrugged off trying to figure out their twisty labyrinth since it hardly really matters. It was gonna be whoever they decided. But this time, the "could it be X? Or could that be another misdirect?" flooded my mind in a way not since the original.
That's because I finally cared about Barrera and Ortega in these roles and hoped their characters would survive their ninth or tenth stabbing. And I worried about Courtney Cox as Gale Weathers and a certain returning cast member (no spoilers). Again, it's a small ask, but I didn't feel this way in most of the past films, including Scream 2022.
Being a jaded dude who's seen too many horror flicks, I really don't find the previous movies in the franchise all that scary. But I was genuinely tense in this film, especially during a subway sequence. I was engaged - and even a little scared - at this scary movie. What a small ask. Probably that was due to caring for the characters, maybe just the darker tones, or maybe just better direction.
So, yeah, I love Scream VI (what's with the romance numeral?) and I think it's better *gasp* than the original. Love the look, love the characters, love the suspense, and even could get behind the meta commentary (at least in how it's used). Bring on Scream 7... I'm looking forward to it... and what better way to celebrate a movie?