Last year’s installment of the Scream franchise did not impress me much, as the approach taken by directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, known as “Radio Silence,” felt like a mere repetition of 2011’s Scream 4. Nonetheless, the movie had its merits, particularly in its endeavor to uphold the legacy of the late Wes Craven. However, Scream VI, also directed by Radio Silence and written by James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick, seems to have no new ideas to present, apart from one significant exception. Nevertheless, the sixth part of the series is exceptionally enjoyable as it presents a masterful and thrilling puzzle, even if it isn’t particularly groundbreaking.
The setting of the film has now moved to New York City, where Sam Carpenter (Melissa Barrera), her sister Tara (Jenna Ortega), and their best friends Mindy (Jasmin Savoy Brown) and Chad Meeks-Martin (Mason Gooding) are starting college. Sam accompanies Tara to look after her, hoping that a bigger city means that they are safe from Ghostface’s deadly attacks.
However, this proves not to be the case, as a new Ghostface appears, exhibiting an obsession with the previous nine killers. The FBI, led by Agent Kirby Reed (Hayden Panettiere), gets involved in the case, while Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox) returns as a Ghostface expert. Sidney Prescott, the previous final girl, is absent from the story.
The exclusion of Sidney’s character turns out to be a good thing, as it forces the writers to focus on the other characters. Sam, Tara, Mindy, and Chad take the center stage, and they are given enough time to make an impression. Melissa Barrera shines as Sam, and her portrayal brings depth to the character. Jenna Ortega, Jasmin Savoy Brown, and Mason Gooding are also noteworthy in their performances. Hayden Panettiere’s return as Kirby is a pleasant surprise, and she adds an extra layer to the plot.
While the film’s plot is cleverly crafted, it is not particularly challenging to guess who the killer is. However, the direction by Radio Silence elevates the movie. The suspense, danger, and action sequences are spectacular, particularly the ones set in a neighborhood grocery store and a ladder between apartment complexes. The climactic sequence may not break many rules, but it is executed with precision.
Neve Campbell’s absence from Scream VI is certainly a loss for fans of the franchise, but it’s also a reminder of the ongoing issues of pay equity and fair compensation in the entertainment industry. Hopefully, her decision to turn down the role will contribute to a larger conversation about the value of women’s contributions in film and television and the need for greater representation and equality.
In conclusion, Scream VI may not have much new to offer, but it is a thrilling and entertaining addition to the franchise. The film’s focus on the four main characters, along with the brilliant direction, make it a worthwhile watch for fans of the series.