A year after Ghostface’s return to theaters after its 11-year hiatus, Scream 6 promised to take us out of the small town of Woodsboro and be the biggest and most barbaric yet, with trailers that introduced an extremely violent and relentless new killer. The new film takes place in New York and, like the city, it is frenetic, dangerous and tense.
Scream releases, since the first film in 1995, have always been loved by the public and critics alike for mixing a good story, gore It is comedy – the famous “terrir” films. More than that, the consistency in the quality of the work, which brought a new air to the genre slasher after a period of releases full of clichés and lack of originality, and continued to do so with its sequels, it consolidated the franchise at the level of “horror classics”.
So when they announced Scream 5 (2022), being the first film in the franchise after the death of its creator, Wes Craven, the expectation was very high – and the fear of spoiling the untouched legacy of the work, too. As we all know, that was not the case. The fifth film, directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, pleased the most diehard fans: it was accurate in the typical metalanguage of the universe, brought back the main trio, presented new and interesting characters that justify the reboot of the franchise, and all this with a captivating story for new and old fans.
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But will the sixth film, despite being highly anticipated and featuring the same team responsible for the success of its predecessor, not fall into the dangerous territory of baseless sequels more focused on monetary performance than on quality, which was already a concern back in the first film in 1995? Five movies later, Scream 6 does it still manage to criticize the horror universe and remain relevant to the genre, or is it falling into the cliché it was born to fight and has always criticized? Let’s analyze throughout the text!
Scream 6 review without spoilers
A year after the murders that took place in Woodsboro, the plot of the new film accompanies the survivors Sam (Melissa Barrera), Tara (Jenna Ortega), Mindy (Jasmin Savoy Brown) and Chad (Mason Gooding), now in New York. While Sam tries to process the trauma of killing his murderous ex-boyfriend, Richie Kirsch (Jack Quaid), and keeping his sister safe, the three young people are at university trying to adapt to the routine after being pursued by a serial killer. Everything is going well, sisters are falling out, questionable party choices are being made: nothing out of the ordinary.
But of course that would come to an end, which brings us to the long-awaited, classic opening scene the franchise is famous for. In order not to lose the grace, just say that Panic still hasn’t let down her fans here: she’s still provocative, subversive and wildly entertaining. – and, most importantly, introduces a terrifying new Ghostface.
With their peace gone, the Woodsboro survivors, or “top quartet”, are now being pursued and tormented by the killer. The new characters, Anika (Devyn Nekoda), Mindy’s girlfriend, Quinn (Liana Liberato), Sam and Tara’s roommate, Ethan (Jack Champion), Chad’s friend, and Frankie (Andre Anthony), help the quartet in the mission to defeat the Ghostface of the time – or at least survive it.
In addition, we have the return of Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox) to help Kirby, the cinephile obsessed with horror films that Charlie attacks in the fourth film, who survives, and Detective Bailey (Dermot Mulroney) in the investigation. Left as a souvenir alongside the bodies, the masks of past Ghostfaces serve as a message, and a warning, to their main target: Sam.
The new chapter of the franchise is well directed, has tense and innovative action sequences for the franchise, and reasonably develops its main quartet in relation to the first film. Co-written by James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick, the screenplay, which seems to just embellish the same well-known formula and updated by Kevin Williamson every moviecan become tiresome in subsequent films.
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Scream 6 is, in fact, far more brutal than any other film in the franchise. If in the previous one the directors wanted to bring a familiar atmosphere, here they shed a different light for the new chapter of the story, as if to say “it’s still Panic, but we’re going to do it our way”.
While the fifth film was an ode to the legacy characters and the original from 1995, but still being striking and different, Scream 6 follows practically the same steps as the second, from 1996. From the backdrop (the university), passing through the traumas of characters, right up until the murder reveal, the whole plot feels derivative of something seen before, even with new characters driving it.
Even so, if you’re a fan of the franchise, it’s probably going to be a great experience. The film continues with the atmosphere intrinsic to the universe: funny and terrifying. Emphasis on the “terrifying”, as some “cat and mouse” sequences between the victim and the killer are electrifying and extremely tense – what was the stairway scene????
At a certain point in the film (which would make Randy very proud!), Mindy explains that, in the new sequels to beloved movie franchises, the pre-established rules of the genre are invalid, such as the guarantee of safety for the legacy characters (survivors of the “ original”). Information that, in the end, is irrelevant, since Gale and Kirby were only not killed in their attacks because the script did not want – seriously that the serial killer uncontrolled going to roll right now?
Also, everything is bigger: the city, the body count, the violence, the beheadings, the blood. That is good? You decide. The murders here are the most graphic, bloodthirsty and brutal we’ve seen so far. – very similar to the gore in Bloody Wedding (2019), by the same directors. On the other hand, this Ghostface’s famous phone conversations are full of catchphrases that sometimes sound funny when they should be scary.
So far, the films in the franchise have justified the reason for their existence, through a lot of metalanguage about the current moment of horror cinema in which the film is being produced. Panic broke expectations, engaged, surprised until the final moment and he was bitterly critical of his own audience. More than that: he tried to predict how people would react to that moment and based his story on that.
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Discussions like the effects of horror brutality on teenagers in the first film; the ambition for fame at any cost in the second and fourth; and even the justification for Scream 5 about toxicity by fans, which was called “silly” by the public, brought notes pertinent to the genre. Here, unfortunately, the franchise slips and offers a weak and disappointing motivation – despite trying to convince you that it is genius.
We come to the reveal of the assassins. I said earlier that this script draws heavily from the source of the second film: the thirst for revenge of a family that blames the victim (in this case, Sam) for their son becoming a murderer (Richie) – just like Mrs. Loomis sought to avenge Billy. I didn’t think it was necessarily bad, and there’s even an attempt at a red herring to shock fans during the final act, but it’s not a bad one either. plot twist those.
The feeling I had was that the charisma of the main quartet, the return of Gale and Kirby (who turns into a cliché and shallow character), and the grandiose action and escape scenes in New York, served to mask a rushed script. , not as polished as its predecessors. Is it worth seeing? For sure. As a fan, I ultimately looked forward to the future of the franchise and had a blast!
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Answering the intro question: no, I don’t think that Scream has become irrelevant, but that the formula is, if not worn out, at least somewhat predictable, that is. The ruler for comparing these films is very high, which makes Scream 6 is, despite not the best of the franchise, a good and very fun slasher.
Pânico 6 can currently be watched in Brazilian cinemas. Check here where to see the other feature films in the franchise, now available via streaming.