Scream VI (2023) has Ghostface unleashing mayhem and brutality in New York

After 27 years of terrorising Woodsboro, and one stint in Hollywood, Ghostface has relocated to the bustling streets of New York for a blood-filled vacation. Scream VI follows our new crew of Ghostface survivors looking for a fresh start in NYC, only they quickly find out there’s no escaping their past.

As a huge long-time fan of the Scream franchise, it’s safe to say I was excited for this entry. If not for the fresh location, then for the newly dubbed ‘Core 4’ who were introduced in 2022’s Scream. As much as I was hyped and looking forward to this film, I didn’t expect it to be as awesome as it is… so I fucking loved this movie. I’m saying right now that this will be one of my favourite films of the year regardless of what releases from now on. Not only that, this is now my second favourite Scream film, sitting just behind the original. It nailed everything that I love about the franchise and bought me two hours of pure joy in the cinema.

Talk about revamping a franchise. Just when you think it has maybe run its course, Radio Silence proves that there’s still plenty of room for fun, original Ghostface narratives. The biggest difference here is obviously the change in location – it gives the film a different vibe in comparison to the other entries and takes the riveting tension up a few notches. The move to NYC is not just done for the sake of claiming it’s “new” – they use the setting to enhance the story and create awesome set pieces that couldn’t be done in Woodsboro. From killings in highrises to mayhem on the bustling city streets, it’s something refreshing that we’ve not seen before.

What I really love about Scream is that we are now six films in and the story is still heavily tied to the franchise’s legacy without feeling like it’s relying on nostalgia. This film is an evolution of what the franchise was in the 90s, taking its trademark elements and blending them with modern sensibilities for a new generation. It’s honestly very impressive how well it’s all integrated.

Starting at the beginning, this is one of the best cold-opens in the entire franchise. The opening sequence is incredible, showcasing something entirely new and appropriately terrifying – the perfect way to kick things off and set the tone. From there, the narrative is loaded with familiar story beats and original twists, keeping both franchise newbies and veterans on their toes in the lead-up to the signature third-act bloodbath. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves – there’s an entire character-focused story in here that I found wholly engaging thanks to the strength of the ‘Core 4’. I liked these characters in last year’s Scream, but their bond has been strengthened to the point where they’re a worthy stand-in for the OG Sidney, Gale and Dewey trio.

This isn’t just a murder-filled slasher – there’s some effective emotional storytelling. I genuinely cared about our core group of characters and believed in the bond they all share. The shared trauma is what brings them all closer and you could really feel that through their performances. The sisterly bond between Sam (Melissa Barrera) and Tara (Jenna Ortega) is stronger than ever. There’s a few fantastic character-driven scenes where we take a break from the chaos and get to see these sisters work through their issues, making them feel real.

I also have to touch on the return of Kirby (Hayden Panettiere), who survived her near-fatal injuries in Scream 4. Her inclusion is seamless and in no way forced. It makes sense for the character to be in here and I’m just glad to see one of the best parts of that underrated 2011 sequel return.

Being a slasher, it’s all eyes on the kills. I can safely say that the Ghostface murders this time around are some of the best. They’re especially brutal, bloody and violent, showcasing this Ghostface as a strong and terrifying killer – a change of pace to the occasionally goofy murderer we’ve had in the past. There’s some wild chase sequences, climaxed with inventive kills that will go down as some of the more memorable. One specific sequence in a high-rise hotel room is phenomenal. Honestly might be my favourite Ghostface set-piece with how suspenseful and original is feels. Then there’s the third-act bloodbath – an exceptionally chilling way to bookend a film that kicked off just as strongly and remained tense throughout.

A mainstay of the franchise is the meta slasher commentary. It’s one element that sets it apart from other slashers, and it’s once again perfectly integrated here. Driven once again by Jasmin Savoy Brown’s Mindy, it’s fun to see how the meta world of Scream has evolved with each subsequent film. On top of the meta elements, there’s the inclusion of light cheesy humour and tongue-in-cheek comedy that help make Scream what it is. Quippy lines of dialogue are perfectly injected at just the right moments to garner a laugh and break up the tension.

Last but not least, I have to touch on some performances. I liked Melissa Barrera in 2022’s Scream, but she’s so much stronger in this film. I feel like she’s become a little more comfortable with the character and the world, putting in a great, convincing lead performance. Alongside her, Jenna Ortega continues to excel in her field. She’s a modern day scream queen and really knows how to enhance a horror film. Jasmin Savoy Brown and Mason Gooding are also great as a brother-sister duo and each have their moments to shine as loveable characters. Outside of the Core 4, I loved Courtney Cox – she bought the energy you expect from a legacy character and injects some of that old school feel.

In the end, I don’t think I can fully express just how much of a blast I had with Scream VI. This franchise is still producing the goods when it comes to campy fun, brutal kills and genuine thrills. The move to NYC is as awesome creative decision as it allows the film to branch out and do new things, incorporating great surprises within the story, chase sequences and kills. It’s my second favourite film in the franchise, and only makes me even more excited to where Scream 7 could go. If you’re a fan of the franchise, or slashers in general, you’ll love this entry.



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