*This Review Of Scream VI Is Spoiler-Free*

Scream VI is what happens when a studio lets the filmmakers take the reigns on a project. As for the requel trend, we’re in with horror; Scream VI skewers it. It doesn’t have as much biting wit about horror movies as Scream (2022) had, but it makes up for it because they’re really making their own rules when it comes to the sequel to a requel. Make no mistake. This is still a Scream movie through and through.

This is a love letter to the movies of the past in a different way than the previous film. Scream VI takes big swings when it comes to the gore, the body count, and retreads a bit from the previous films. Those retreads are a wink to the audience. It knows it’s making a sequel to a requel.

The principal players from Scream (2022) are back for this film and are joined by legacy characters and other new faces. It’s a nice mix of old and new, but more new than old. This is the sixth installment. After all, we can’t have our heroes in every film. Like with the previous entry, Scream VI is carried by the two leads and some fantastic performances from other characters.

How Are The Performances In Scream VI?

L-r, Mason Gooding (“Chad Meeks-Martin”), Jenna Ortega (“Tara Carpenter”), Jasmin Savoy Brown (“Mindy Meeks-Martin”), Devyn Nekoda (“Anika Kayoko”) and Melissa Barrera (“Sam Carpenter”) star in Paramount Pictures and Spyglass Media Group’s “Scream VI.”

Melissa Barrera, Jenna Ortega, Jasmin Savoy Brown, and Mason Gooding are returning for this film. Out of the four, Mason Gooding’s turn as Chad Meeks-Martin is the best of the bunch. He gets much more to work with in this film, and he carries it with an energy that nobody matches. He’s not the typical jock turned hero, and he also doesn’t reside in a prototypical horror movie archetype in Scream VI. It’s a refreshing turn for a character this deep in a franchise. He’s self-reflexive, and he cares about his friends deeply. It’s great to see him get more to work with.

Barrera and Ortega play Sam and Tara, and they build upon the work they did in Scream (2022). Their relationship is more fleshed out in Scream VI. Tara is in college, and Sam is just trying to protect her at all costs. That tension is the backbone of this film’s events, leading to a thunderous moment later in the film. Barerra in particular steps up her game from Scream (2022). In that film, she was a bit rigid in her delivery and mannerisms, but this time around she’s found the perfect blend of fury, apprehension, and fright for Sam. Jenna Ortega gives us more of the same from Scream (2022), but she gets a lot more to do in this movie. She’s not stuck in a wheelchair or bedridden like before.

Hayden Panettiere (“Kirby Reed”) stars in Paramount Pictures and Spyglass Media Group’s “Scream VI.”

Jasmin Savoy-Brown steals the show as Mindy once again. She takes the film nerd, rules chief title from Randy Meeks, and runs with it. A lot of the biting commentary on the genre comes in her scenes. She’s just born to play this role. She also is in the tensest scene in the movie. Her performance during this is a whole different level and isn’t just your typical scream queen section.

As for the newcomers, we have Dermot Mulroney, Devyn Nekoda, Josh Segarra, Liala Liberato, and Jack Champion. They all fill their new roles well with Mulroney being the highlight as the Detective on the Ghostface case. He brings a ruggedness that’s sorely missed by the death of Dewey but doesn’t try to copy it. Champion, Liberato, and Nekoda all fill their roles admirably and don’t detract from the movie.

Josh Segarra is a new face in the same building as Sam and Tara and while he doesn’t get much screentime, he does an excellent job like most characters in Scream, in juking the audience out on a scene-to-scene basis. You’ll be asking yourself, “are they the killer?” and then thinking, ” Well, they can’t be.” And you’ll do that with EVERY character in the movie. They do an amazing job of making everyone seem like they could be Ghostface.

Finally, a big shoutout to Roger Jackson as the voice of Ghostface. He knocks it out of the park being as creepy as possible. After six movies, his voice is still terrifying.

What About The Story Of Scream VI?

Courteney Cox (“Gale Weathers”) stars in Paramount Pictures and Spyglass Media Group’s “Scream VI.”

Without spoiling anything, the plot of the film is incredibly inventive. It’s not quite Jason Takes Manhattan, but they use the New York locale to its fullest. This couldn’t have happened in any other major metro city. It had to be New York. The legacy characters like Kirby (Hayden Panettiere) and Gale (Courteney Cox) are well used but don’t wear out their welcome. I know for the Kirby stans out there, that might be disappointing to hear, but she gets plenty of excellent moments. This is still Sam and Tara’s story though. That story weaves a tale filled with references to Scream‘s past and other horror movies.

Those references never go too far down the road of nostalgia though. Scream VI weaponizes that nostalgia and uses it against you. There might not be a moment quite like the realization that Scream (2022) was occurring in the same house from Scream (1996), but this film gives the new cast plenty of moments to shine alongside the old. The old movies feel like as much of a character as anything. The plots of previous Scream killers comes full circle here. And never forget the commentary about toxic fandom of Scream (2022), because that comes back as well.

This one twists and turns more than previous entries though. Right when you think you know something, they change the script. The script and story is the strongest feature of Scream VI.

Is It Good?

Ghostface in Paramount Pictures and Spyglass Media Group’s “Scream VI.”

The answer to that question is a resounding yes. This might not have the impact of Scream (2022), but any sequel is going to feel like that. It lampoons the sequel to the requel like no other. There’s still plenty of biting commentary about horror movies and franchises in general. Scream VI raises the bar for what a sequel should do and then some. The story feels original enough even though it borrows quite a bit from the other Scream sequels. That’s the power that writers James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick have. They pay plenty of homage to the past, but they know that they have to move the series forward.

They even change the formula in the opening scene. Just when you think the opening scenes of Scream movies have done everything, they found a way to make it fresh for Scream VI. It subverts your expectations in an incredibly inventive way.

Scream VI might be a lot of fun and carries the same essence of fun and commentary as other Scream movies, but Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett still fill this movie with tons of tension and scares. There’s nary a traditional jump-scare in this movie, but they fill it with so much dread of what could happen and what does end up happening. The third act is pure adrenaline all the way up to the end.

Scream VI ends up being a triumphant sequel that barely misses the highs of the previous film. It makes for an excellent companion to the new era of Scream that we’re in. The commentary is biting, the kills are ratcheted up, and it’s so much damn fun.

Scream VI releases in theaters on March 10th, 2023.

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