Just this month, we saw 'Creed III' prove the crazy idea that the 'Rocky' franchise could continue without The Italian Stallion himself, and flawlessly showed that the series can last without him. In 'Creed's' case Stallone stills serves as a producer, but for 'Scream' things are a little different. Sidney Prescott has been one of the only people to survive all the previous Ghostfaces, and it isn't a 'Scream' film without her unmasking the killer. Neve Campbell was slated to return after the massive success of 2022's 'Scream', but unfortunately due to contract disputes and salary negotiations with the studio 'Scream VI' marks the first time (outside the spin-off series) she won't be returning. The question remains the same as 'Creed': will 'Scream VI' work without its franchise lead?
Having moved to New York to escape their Woodsboro past, sisters Sam (Melissa Barrera, 'In the Heights', TV's 'Vida') and Tara (Jena Ortega, Netflix's 'Wednesday', 'X', 'Studio 666') are finally starting to put their past behind them. Tara now in college with friends Mindy (Jasmin Savoy Brown, TV's 'Yellowjacket', 'Sound of Violence') and Chad (Mason Gooding, 'Fall', 'Booksmart'), who also survived Ghostface's attacks. But it turns out all is not as it seems, as Ghostface has also made his first move out of Woodsboro to the Big Apple. He is out for blood, and not only does Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox, 'Bedtime Stories', 'Zoom', TV's 'Friends') get roped in again, but so does Kirby Reed (Hayden Panettiere, 'Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil', 'Scream 4') who survived his attacks in 2011. The Carpenter sisters aren't alone as new friends Ethan (Jack Champion, 'Avatar: The Way of Water', 'Avengers: Endgame'), Quinn (Liana Liberato, 'If I Stay', 'The Best of Me') and Anika (Devyn Nekoda, 'Sneakerella', TV's 'Backstage'), are in Ghostface's kill path - but could they be the masked killer?
SWITCH: 'SCREAM VI' TRAILER
Outside of 2022's 'Scream', 'Scream VI' is one of the best sequels the franchise has seen. Like in 1997 when 'Scream 2' came a mere year later, 'Scream VI' reaffirms the power this franchise has, but this time even more so. The location change really elevates the horror element; these are the most brutal kills we have seen in six films. This film contains so many sequences that are some of the most stress-inducing the 'Scream' franchise has seen. It's bloody and keeps you right on the edge of your seat.
The 'Scream' films always laid the self-awareness on heavy, and the sixth entry is no exception. The meta humour is here, as always, but since the second entry, it sometimes borders to close parody. This newest entry rediscovers that prefect balance from 1996 and progresses the film as not only a horror but as a meta-commentary on the genre as a whole.
The location change really elevates the horror element; these are the most brutal kills we have seen in six films.
With less focus on "legacy" characters, we really get to spend more time with the "Core 4" from the previous film, and they are a really enjoyable bunch of characters. Melissa Barrera, who wasn't the best actor in the previous entry, really rises to the challenge here.
'Scream VI' achieves the impossible - a franchise running this long without any kind of heavy reboot so linked to nostalgia and the past still manages to feel so fresh and new against the current horror landscape. If there are more 'Scream' films on the horizon, it will interesting how they top this.
(A round of applause for myself for not one 'In the Heights' joke in this review for a film that takes place in New York and stars Vanessa!)