Ghostface returns to murder horrifically and torment the Carpenter sisters in New York City. Scream VI takes the slasher franchise to the bustling metropolis with a major shift in the overall storyline. Neve Campbell’s “Sidney” is no longer the protagonist and absent from a Scream film for the first time. That’s not a killer, pardon the pun, as Melissa Barrera’s “Sam” and Jenna Ortega’s “Tara” are more than capable leads. They’re good actresses in a lopsided plot that doesn’t nearly match the quality of last year’s successful requel.
Six months after the events in Woodsboro, Sam (Barrera) and Tara (Ortega) are adjusting to college life in Manhattan. They’re joined by twins Mindy (Jasmin Savoy Brown) and Chad (Mason Gooding). Tara wants to move on with her life by attending frat parties and meeting cute boys. Sam can’t leave their traumatic past behind. She lives in fear for her younger sibling’s safety. Tara doesn’t want a babysitter. She’s annoyed by Sam’s constant monitoring.
Targeting the Carpenters
Sam’s intuition proves to be correct as new Ghostface killings rattle the city and campus. Someone is targeting the Carpenter sisters by murdering those around them and leaving strange clues. There’s a sinister connection to the sisters that baffles law enforcement. NYPD lead detective Bailey (Dermot Mulroney) is confounded by the killer’s knowledge of previous Ghostface crimes.
Related: Scream VI Directors Hope to Return for Scream 7
Sam, Tara, and the twins decide to stay together at all times. They get reinforcements when Kirby Reed (Hayden Panettiere), now an FBI agent, arrives to help. They don’t want any assistance from Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox); who betrayed the sisters’ trust. The new strategy doesn’t work. Ghostface outwits them at every savage turn. Sam and Tara surmise that the killer has to be someone in their inner circle.
Scream VI tries to straddle the line between mocking horror tropes and paying homage to the established narrative. The attempt at cleverness fails when ostensibly smart characters, who’ve all been through the previous killing spree, do the same inane things to put their lives in jeopardy. The characters banter about breaking genre paradigms, and then ignore their own advice. It doesn’t make sense.
A Compelling Open
Scream VI commits a structural mistake. The opening murder scene is graphic and compelling. It’s a dynamite beginning that sets a high bar, which unfortunately the rest of the film never comes close to achieving. The first Scream grabbed your attention with Drew Barrymore’s murder. No one saw the reveals of Stu Macher and Billy Loomis coming. James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick, who also wrote the 2022 requel, needed to diffuse creativity throughout. You can’t have a beginning that dramatically outshines the ending. That’s like starting on the mountain top and tumbling to the bottom.
Ghostface slices the Big Apple into a bloody pulp. The gnarly death scenes are an aspect that improves. One scene, in particular, had me wincing and companion clutching at my arm. Therein lies the rub. Carnage fans will be satiated if vicious slaughter is the only requirement. Scream VI didn’t have enough quality scares or a logical plot to hold my interest.
Scream VI is a production of Spyglass Media Group, Project X Entertainment, and Radio Silence. It will have a theatrical release on March 10th from Paramount Pictures.