Scream VI

Scream VI ★★★

Scream 6 is an improvement on the previous film; the series has life in it yet, even if it is running out of ways for Ghostface to shank people.

One year after the Woodsboro murders, Tara (Jenna Ortega) is attending college in NYC for film studies. A pair of wannabe killers are introduced stalking her, before being dispatched by a more ruthless Ghostface faction who are the true villains of the movie.

As before the murder mystery centres on secrets of the main characters, particularly Sam (Melissa Barrera) who struggles with her violent tendencies and hallucinations of father Billy Loomis (Skeet Ulrich).

A series can only get so meta before it disappears up its own butthole. Kevin Williamson is the one writer for Scream who could balance meta humour with drama, probably because his work in 1-2 and 4 commented on the horror genre rather than the series itself. Without him, the dialogue in 5-6 has a Joss Whedon feel; the characters sound like they are imitating TV and movies rather than talking like humans.

On the other hand, Sam is a great main character; the fact that she has her own homicidal impulses makes her a contrast to Neve Campbell’s Sidney. Barrera’s performance makes what could have been a silly concept- the daughter of a previous killer fighting on the side of good- sympathetic. You see the internal conflict through her involvement with the Ghostface murders, and the ways in which her mental health problems and penchant for stabbings make her uncertain about who she even is.

Little sister Tara has less direction; her role in these films is mostly to get into trouble which big sister must get her out of. It’s a waste that she’s played by fantastic Jenna Ortega when the filmmakers don’t do anything interesting with the character.

Jasmin Savoy-Brown is an acceptable Randy substitute as Mindy, although the scene in which she lays out the ‘rules’ of the movie is annoying and confusing. At this point I’ve lost track of the difference between a sequel, a re-quel and a franchise, and I don’t care either way.

The villains are the biggest film-on-film improvement; while they don’t equal Billy and Stu they are more enjoyable to watch than Scream 5, whose killers were ineffectual and whiny.

The new generation of Ghostfaces aren't as witty but make up for it by being more violent; the kills in this are gruesome. There are interesting locations for set pieces- a subway car with flickering lights, a bodega, a ladder- and the slasher side of the film doesn’t feel stale, even if it's only occasionally funny.

Block or Report