Scream 6, the latest installment in the long-running horror franchise, builds on the success of its predecessor by taking the old and new and building the perfect foundation for a story that can continue without its original final girl. The film focuses on the return of fan-favorite characters Gale Weathers and Kirby Reed as the legacies while letting the “new” cast do its thing. While the absence of Neve Campbell’s Sidney is explained in a throwaway line, it plays into the overall theme of the film, which is about subverting horror tropes and mocking and revering its genre in equal measure.
Meta and Self-Referential
Scream 6 is full meta, and the butt of the joke is Scream itself. The movie pays homage to horror favorites, both old and new, and pokes fun at the tropes that the franchise has helped create over nearly 30 years and six entries. Some of the rules apply, but others no longer matter at all, and the audience is left to figure out which rule fits where. Mindy’s monologue gives hints on those rules, mirroring Scream (2022) more than any other moment in the new film, but effective all the same. The gore is amplified in a rebootquels’ sequel, and the hits (stabs) just keep on coming, leaving no one safe.
The Heart of the Film
The heart and soul of Scream 6 are the Core Four™, made up of the Meeks-Martin twins and the Carpenter sisters. This chapter intentionally ditches the standard Scream trope of splitting up its protagonists between movies and instead focuses on a story that keeps the survivors connected the whole time. This leads to the audience caring more about the main characters and the people they love. The secondary characters in Scream 6 deliver more than any franchise entry before it, thanks to the closeness the writers give us to the Core Four and the actors’ performances.
While the character-driven story is the primary reason for the film’s success, it’s not the only one. Some of the set pieces in this chapter will take the audience’s breath away, whether it’s the immaculate representation of an unbearably claustrophobic subway car or the jarring illustration of a person’s obsession in the Stab trophy room. The cinematography doesn’t disappoint either, with several scenes in the third act that marry the beautiful and the macabre in very exciting ways.
The Kills and Scares
Of course, no Scream movie would be complete without scares, and Scream 6 delivers in spades. The movie’s suspenseful sequences and well-timed jump scares had me on the edge of my seat, and the kills are creative and gruesome without ever feeling gratuitous
Scream 6 is a worthy addition to the iconic horror franchise, building on the success of its predecessor and delivering a meta and self-referential story that is both reverent and mocking of the genre it helped create. The heart of the film lies with the Core Four, whose connected story keeps the audience caring about their well-being, and the secondary characters deliver more than any franchise entry before it. The set pieces and cinematography are also impressive, making this a film that horror fans should not miss. While the absence of Sidney is explained in a throwaway line, Scream 6 continues the legacy of the franchise and leaves the audience excited for what’s to come.