MartyK0015mp’s review published on Letterboxd:
Who gives a f**k about the movies?
First time watching.
+ The four survivors of the Ghostface Woodsboro killings: Sam Carpenter (Melissa Barrera), her sister Tara (Jenna Ortega), Mindy (Jasmin Savoy Brown) and her brother Chad (Mason Gooding) have all move on and now setting an new life up in New York City. But living in an brand new city, there are new rules that everyone must follow...
Firstly before I get onto reviwing 'Scream: Ghostface takes Manhattan', I want to give an big shout out to the cinema chains in the UK for putting on an 'Scream' double bill feature this evening! By showing last year's re-quel 'Scream' before showing the brand new entry. So thank you for that! The first time I've done an double bill in cinemas where the two films I've gone to watch are part of the same franchise.
So after riding the wave of revisiting 'Scream (2022)', which I still loved, it was time to see what was in store. And from the get go, I soon realise that this was going to be an very different 'Scream' film.... Look no further than the cold opening, which isn't the typical cold open you expect from an 'Scream' film, it completely turns the tables on how you judge on what's going to happen. I've seen people saying this is the best cold opening since the original but in my opinion, this is behind the original and 'Scre4m' opening. Returning directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett obviously wanted to move away from the straight forward formula as much as possible that this franchise has built it's success on, so full credit for that. This film kept me guessing who the killer(s) are the most in the series. I was constantly in my mind making people suspects and writing them on and off the list. In fairness, this doesn't feel like the typical 'Scream' film at all. Which kinda worked for me....
This is one big Easter egg hunt for fans. Everyone will be on the look out for all the 'Scream' franchise details.
I loved that they moved away from Woodsboro to somewhere like New York City. Instead of having that same old feeling of being in one house, we get alleyways, subways, corner shops, New York apartments, penthouses, cinemas. Something that hasn't been explored before, how would someone escape Ghostface if they were living in one of those apartments? BUT, even though I loved that they moved away, it still felt small in scale just like Woodsboro. It's like they didn't fully reach that big scale potential which was on offer which is an shame.
The standout use of the New York City setting is the subway sequence. You see it in the trailers. It's an excellent sequence that's builds great amount of suspense.
How would I describe the kills? Well, if I said this is the 'Halloween Kills' entry in the 'Scream' franchise then you would know how brutal this Ghostface is. This is definitely the most gory offering. MB-O and TG framed the killings using close up shots and that definitely helped the kills to be as effective as ever. Not often does this franchise make me go "eww" when someone dies, but this on an couple of times did do that.
The cast does well with what they are given (more on that later). Melissa Barrera is better this time around as the lead Sam Carpenter. Jenna Ortega, my love ❤️, gets more to do this time as Tara. She is by far the best actor of the new group. And that's no competition. Keep rising your star power Jenna!! The two returning legacy characters in the form of Courtney Cox's Gale and Hayden Panettiere's Kirby gets the right amount of screen time. And it's just an pleasure to welcome Kirby back to the franchise, as fans seems to agree that she is one of the series' best characters. Gale gets an badass scene with her and Ghostface.
My issues with the film that drags the rating down is how bad the script is. It's almost on par with 'Scream 3'. No need to have an forced romance at all. All dialogue in an forced romance will not work! Overall, the entire dialogue throughout the film is cringe and it feels so awkward. Yes I know it's an horror film, but still you would have thought 6 entries in, they would know how to write an human script. Maybe the editing is part of the problem to why the dialogue is so awkward, there are moments where people say an serious moment, but the way it was cut into the final version makes it so bad.
An strong point of the franchise is the meta commentary and this time it doesn't feel as strong.
Also, an 'Scream' film is defined by it's final act. Sadly, this third act felt so underwhelming and it's probably my least favourite third act when comparing the rest of the series.
While being entertained by the brutal gore, the new and the legacy cast and the New York City setting. The story and dialogue is much weaker than I anticipated it to be. Am I disappointed? Slightly. But I'm still excited for 'Scream VII'? Obviously!!