Scream has always been at its best when it covers all aspects of a murder mystery. Over the years, this meta-horror has managed to subvert expectations, with a number of killers being difficult to work through to the late game. Scream VI is no exception, and it absolutely excels with its murder mystery. There’s a growing list of suspects that serve as bright red herrings, while a revolving door of victims keeps the tension going until the big reveal.
The story takes place after last year’s box office surprise, as Samantha struggles to adjust to her new reality. While it’s recommended to watch 2022’s Scream before jumping into this, Scream VI does a pretty solid job of portraying what happens when Sam attends therapy. By the time we left him, Sam was public enemy.
After moving to New York and starting a new life for themselves, Sam struggles to maintain his relationship with Tara. Tara wants to do her own thing and sees Sam as an annoying, intrusive figure who overshadows her life.
When a new series of murders takes place targeting those closest to Sam and Tara, our heroes are conflicted between keeping themselves out of harm’s way and doing everything they can to unmask the next Ghostface killer.
Scream VI is bolstered by a very impressive opening act, and the first 20 minutes of it do a fantastic job of easing you into the new mystery. There’s a really tense and gritty feel to what’s going on, and the altered setting of New York works surprisingly well to reflect the claustrophobic, small apartments and the larger, open spaces outside.
The actual reveal of the killers and the entire third act, especially in the last 30 minutes, will probably catch you off guard and I doubt many people will guess everything that goes down. However, it also comes across as a little confusing and cartoony, and the stakes are surprisingly low, especially with the amount of fake stuff and other terrible clichés. I won’t go into it here, but with a slightly reworked ending, this could have easily been one of the best Scream movies, but if there’s one sour point in this otherwise sweet slasher, it’s this one.
It’s clear that the writers have taken many of the criticisms from 2022’s Scream and responded in kind, with an excellent script that takes all these issues and turns it into a cleverly written and unexpected script. It’s certainly a refreshing change from the norm where any criticism is dismissed as racist or sexist.
Although there are some great jokes here, the idea of legacy characters is neglected, while the usual meta-references to the genre work really well to keep the tone between horror and comedy. There’s never a dull moment here either, and some of the sets in the 2-hour run are excellent.
Along with the opening sequence, there’s a really intense segment on a subway train, and the final battle scene is absolutely spot on, both aesthetically and in design. Given the small budget it’s playing on, Scream VI will almost certainly make a tidy profit at the box office — and deservedly so for the effort.
Scream VI is a surprisingly solid horror film, and aside from the finale, it betters last year’s effort in almost every way, bloody good!