Yes, Samantha still has stupid visions of her dad Billy Loomis and yes, there are times when it comes close to jumping the shark, but damn does Scream VI still slice and dice with style–and is a notable improvement over the previous “requel.”
Neve Campbell is nowhere to be found but the survivors of the previous entry, the confusingly titled Scream, are back: Sam (Melissa Barrera), who some people suspect is responsible for the latest Woodsboro murders; Tara (Jenna Ortega), who just wants to get laid now that she’s in college; Mindy (Jasmin Savoy Brown), who is still doing her best Randy impression; and Chad (Mason Gooding), who is Chad. They now live in the most natural place to lay low–New York City–where of course a new rash of Ghostface killings has broken out.
As much as I loved Sydney Prescott and the legacy crew, the last Scream made it clear that their presence made the franchise feel stale and tired. Though Gail Weathers (Courtney Cox) has returned, the absence of Sydney/Neve allows Scream VI to move on. While it still stays a little too close to formula for a franchise that loves to pretend that it always bucks said formula, this latest entry feels a little nastier, sharper, and brutal.
The movie boasts a satisfying opening sequence featuring Samara Weaving and Tony Revolori, hinting at a unique change in direction for the franchise. Thoughts of a compellingly complex story about competing killers quickly vanishes though and Scream VI proceeds largely to script, though returning co-directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett let loose with a few ruthless death sequences, most notably one set in a corner store.
At a little over two hours long, Scream VI feels it; there are a few too many scenes of the sisters arguing with each other or their friends, grappling with their trauma (yes, we get it, your life sucks!), and other bits that feel repetitive. Some tighter editing would have gone a long way, and the filmmakers’ unwillingness to kill certain characters induces eye-rolls. The franchise really needs to do something different with its third act (i.e. the killer reveal) to freshen things up, but the killer’s identity (or identities?) still work effectively.
Overall, Scream VI isn’t revolutionary but it’s another entertaining entry in the franchise and improvement of its predecessor, largely freed from the constraints posed by the legacy cast.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.