Scream 6 Review- A Once Tired Franchise Still Has Life In It

The Scream franchise has been one of many upsets and subverting expectations from the very beginning. Neve Campbell, David Arquette, and Courtney Cox have held this franchise down for two and a half decades. Now only one of the big three is back for this sixth installment. Courtney Cox as Gale Weathers is the only one, but the cast isn’t bereft of returning characters from previous films. Scream 6 focuses on the four main characters from Scream 5. And a continuing plot thread that ties the films together.

Sam and Tara Carpenter (Melissa Berarra, Jenna Ortega) survived the ghost-face killer in Scream 5 along with Chad and Mindy Meeks (Mason Gooding, Jasmin Savoy Brown) , the core four if you will, but they decided to move to New York to get away from their history in Woodsboro. They had a lot of it and it’s too much to get into right now. New York is a place where they can get a fresh start. And that they do until another ghost face killer pops up and they are running for their lives through a few areas of New York City. Which isn’t much of a character in the film as you’d think it would be.

A huge part of the marketing campaign is “New York, New Rules” and that’s not totally what we get in Scream 6. The movie is filmed mainly in an apartment building and a warehouse set up as a shrine to the ghost-face killers of the past. A scene of a ghost face killing on the New York subway system is the only one we get. It’s sad because this is not what I was expecting. I wanted more killing and more of New York. Especially more of the mass transit system of New York. City

Part of what makes this franchise good is how it changes up from film to film. And one of the ways it can change is the cold open. The cold open of Scream 6 is one of my favorites of the entire franchise. There are some cameos during this sequence of actors who have made a name for themselves in the horror genre and big blockbuster film franchises as well. This was a very surprising cold open which is why it was so good to me. This was one of the few times New York was actually a character in the film as well.

For a few years, these two actresses have come onto the scene that has made me happy to have seen them in things. And they are Melissa Berrara and Jenna Ortega. They have done musicals, In the Hieghts, and iconic goth television characters, Wednesday, and both have done dramatic hard-hitting material. One is younger than the other but both of them are terrific actors who can hold their own with anybody they are acting opposite with. They have what it takes to be the leaders of a franchise like this and go off and do awards-worthy work in other places. 

There are some aspects of this installment I was a fan of besides what I’ve mentioned. Not always knowing what was going to happen was pretty cool. Subverting expectations was something I was glad to see. So many of these films are predictable so to see stuff that wasn’t as predictable was a breath of fresh air. That being said I know this film had to tie to the previous one. And that it did very nicely. Scream 5 and 6 were nicely knit together.

The writers James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick change things up just enough to make this sixth installment of this franchise fresh and new. Especially since the last film was stale repetitive and dull. The directors Tyler Gillett and Matt Bettinelli use this script to its most value. They get the most out of the characters and story. Even though I had wished they used more of New York. That may have been a budget issue though. The set pieces also worked in context with the story and setting of the movie.

Scream 6 isn’t the best film in the franchise but it’s not the worst either. It brings the franchise to the big apple but doesn’t use New York to its fullest extent. I wanted more killing in this big city. The cold opening was good but not enough. The main two actresses Berrara and Ortega are bonafide stars and they light up this film with their presence. In a tired franchise like this one, it was nice to see the filmmakers subvert expectations. Not doing exactly what fans of the franchise might think is a good thing. This franchise is still fresh and not dead yet and scream 6 is proof of that.

3 ½ stars 

Dan Skip Allen

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