The sixth installment of the Scream franchise brings the carnage and the Ghostface killer to the big metropolitan cityscape of New York, much like how Jason Vorhees ended up in the Big Apple in Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan. The similarities end with that specific location in New York, which is where Scream VI picks up the slack with a fantastic emotional turn with its new characters that expands the lore and storyline of Scream. Packed with some of the best horror-action sequences in its genre, Scream VI is a home run. So everybody, scream for Scream VI because it's Highly Recommended!
It had been eleven years between Scream IV and the most recent Scream V, which had the latter serve as a distant sequel and reboot of the franchise after the passing of Wes Craven. The Radio Silence team (Tyler Gillett, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin) took over creative duties and served a worthy-remake sequel that had its issues. They were coming off the huge success of Ready or Not, and it seemed like their take on Scream lacked the fun and viciousness of their previous work. Since the huge success of Scream V, the powers that be allowed Olpin and Gillett to let loose, which is what this franchise desperately needed, something off the chain and original where the characters and story had never gone before - the big city. And it works on almost every single level.
The original movies had a dynamic trio with Sidney Prescott, Gale Weathers, and Dewey Riley who formed a secondary family through their trauma of the infamous serial killers that stalked them. They held true to and protected each other in their own ways throughout the franchise. In Scream V, a new generation of kids is introduced, which in this new sixth sequel, actually form the Core-four, consisting of the survivors of the previous movie Sam (Melissa Berrara), Tara (Jenna Ortega), and twin siblings Mindy and Chad (Jasmin Savoy Brown and Mason Gooding respectively). Sam is Billy Loomis' daughter and Mindy and Chad are the niece and nephew of Randy from the original films. Tara is Sam's half-sister, who all were stalked and eventually escaped death in the last movie.
Instead of keeping the film's setting in a small-ish California town, the Radio Silence creatives sent everyone packing to New York City, which makes a lot of sense. Both Olpin and Gillett take those normal and usual horror tropes where audiences believe that every character makes a dumb decision and explores the more realistic and safer choices in this sixth film. Most survivors in horror movies might last if they were around many people in a big city in hopes that someone would intervene. These elements are certainly navigated, but in a wonderful twist of events, only seem to end up worse for everyone involved and that's what makes Scream VI so surprisingly wonderful and suspenseful. Seemingly safe locations that are normally void of potential murder; in a packed subway or in a crowded street or inside a convenience store - there is no safe space for the victims.
The violence and suspense are top-notch and very brutal this time around. Ghostface is not relegated to just a stabbing object in this installment. Shotguns and other forms of torture are in the wheelhouse and it gives this character an even more diabolical aura - especially with so many more people in the city to terrorize. On the flip side of this coin are the tender pauses between these characters that resonate with people who have severe trauma and are close to one another. These characters finally get a chance to breathe and discuss all the ins and outs of how to lead a better life and feel safe, which is something that's been missing from this franchise. This allows for a fantastic bond with the new characters with a spotlight on Ortega and Gooding who just own every scene with charisma, charm, and ferocity.
The newcomers and veteran characters alike all serve their purposes very well where Olpin and Gillett allow them room to explore why they are back in the fold. Even with the iconic meta explanation of a sequel that is synonymous with these films, it still feels fresh and funny. Scream VI is all about the journey here. The character arcs and storyline are truly amazing and make sense this time around, however, the big Scooby Doo reveal reaches for the sun and doesn't quite stick the landing. It doesn't necessarily jump a great white shark, but the execution could have been better scripted. That being said, what follows after the reveal is something truly special and that bitter pill is an easier swallow with what comes next.
Scream VI is one of the better sequels in cinema. It takes a new direction that gives a new fresh coat of paint to a decades-old franchise with a much-needed emotional heft behind it. It never forgets where it came from and allows for some brilliant new characters to arrive and stick around. The suspenseful silence and ample gore can be given a big chef's kiss. Highly Recommended!