Scream VI Restores Hope for the Iconic Slasher Series


Ghostface in the opening of Scream VI. Credit to Spyglass Media Group.

By Kenneth Ashley, Contributing Writer

4 Star Rating Images – Browse 177 Stock Photos, Vectors, and Video | Adobe  StockIt’s rare, but not unheard of, for a long-running franchise to experience a return to form in its sixth entry. There’s fan-favorite “Friday the 13th VI: Jason Lives,” with its self-aware sense of humor, and cult film “Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers,” best known for starring young Paul Rudd. 


Most don’t fare so well; see “Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare” or last year’s “Jurassic World: Dominion”. Sequels this far removed from the source material often struggle to balance what worked in the past with fresh ideas. If any franchise could pull it off, surely it would be Scream, the slasher series that has commented on the state of the horror genre since its first film in 1996. However, with the creative team of the 2022 “Scream” returning, I had my doubts. The 2022 entry devoted too much effort to nostalgic references and sorely lacked creativity.


Fortunately, “Scream VI” is a massive improvement. The film follows the survivors of the previous film as they attempt to carry on with their lives in New York City. Sisters Samantha and Tara are struggling to manage their relationship as they cope with the recent tragedy in different ways. They are supported by an ensemble of friends and returning characters, including Chad, Mindy, Kirby, and reporter Gale Weathers, who is now the only character to appear in all six films. 


The new cast members are largely unimportant here, as Mindy telegraphs early on in a speech, letting us know that they will either be revealed as knife fodder or killers. The decision to underutilize truly great actors such as Samara Weaving is perhaps the biggest disappointment of the film. Still, it’s nice to see the interplay between fan-favorite characters, all of whom are given plenty to work with in the script.


In terms of slasher action, “Scream VI” has a wealth of tense and thrilling scenes. Two standout moments feature the iconic Ghostface killer wielding a shotgun in a bodega and stalking the protagonists on a crowded subway. Perhaps the most agonizing sequence to watch, though, is of the protagonists crossing a mid-air ladder between two apartments with Ghostface in pursuit.


By the time we arrive at the standard unmasking, it hardly matters that the reveal is lackluster. On some level, all the reveals have been a let-down, apart from those of the first and fourth “Scream” films, and this is part of the problem with the franchise. The original “Scream” was exciting because of its innovation, but the sequels have sought to recreate that film rather than chart new territory. “Scream VI” is also, to a lesser degree, unable to break free of formulaic plot points and take the bold swings needed to revive this franchise. In that sense, it is more successful as a slasher film than as a “Scream” sequel.


“Scream VI” has garnered over 100 million dollars at the domestic box office and over 165 million globally, making it a massive success and all but guaranteeing a sequel. Here’s to a “Scream VII” that builds on these achievements and looks toward greater ingenuity.