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Time to ‘Scream’ again

It is hard to imagine that the film that filmmaker Kevin Williamson made back in 1996 aimed at lightly mocking the slasher horror genre turned into what we now know as the ‘Scream’ franchise – a franchise that has just released its sixth film and had a spin-off television series. Williamson’s involvement with the series is now limited but his characters live on and have created a passionate group of fans that keep asking for bloody adventures of Woodsboro to keep coming back to the big screen.

By David Griffiths

Saturday 11 March 2023, 11:00AM

Scream VI (2023). Image: IMDb

Scream VI (2023). Image: IMDb

Directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin (Ready or Not) and Tyler Gillett (V/H/S) do shake things up a little though with Scream VI by moving the action from Woodsboro to New York – a move that in theory should open up the film’s universe a little.

The reason for this dramatic change is that Tara Carpenter (Jenna Ortega – Wednesday) is now attending college in New York. Her friends, Mindy Meeks-Martin (Jasmin Savoy Brown – Yellowjackets) and Chad Meeks-Martin (Mason Gooding – Fall), have also made the move to the big city – as has her sister Sam (Melissa Barrera – In The Heights). The latter though is something that Tara is not happy about as she feels she is being smothered by Sam who won’t let her live her life. In fairness though Sam has never fully recovered from the events of the last film.

While Tara says that they are in no danger in New York, her theory soon proves wrong when the group’s film lecturer is found murdered in an alleyway and Detective Bailey (Dermot Mulroney – My Best Friend’s Wedding) soon discovers that there is a direct link between this fresh murder and the Ghostface murders. Soon, once again Tara, Sam and their friends find themselves fighting for their lives.

Six films into a franchise you could probably forgive Scream VI for being light on for new ideas but to its credit the first half of the film holds its own. Moving to New York does breathe some new life into the storyline and allows for some new characters to be introduced, which of course widens up the pool of potential suspects and victims as well. The fact that most of the characters are likable also adds to the suspense of the film.

Early on it does feel like this is going to be a pretty decent film. The first murder seen on screen is inventive and draws the audience in especially when it is revealed that not all is what it seems. That suspense is further heightened when it is revealed that there is tension between Tara and Sam – that also pushes the narrative that not all characters in modern day horror films have to be one-dimensional.

Sadly though things start to fall away and become completely unbelievable as the film goes on. While the story itself seems to hold up there are times when people are savagely stabbed and then only a few moments later are seen on screen working around as if nothing has happened to them – that might wash if you’ve got regenerative characters like Deadpool or Wolverine around but certainly doesn’t work with the characters here.

Like what we also saw in the Jeepers Creepers reboot last year, Scream VI also seems to suffer from a patch in the film where some of the actors seem to forget how to act and their over-acting is dreadful. You do also have to feel for Hayden Panettiere (Heroes) who returns as fan favourite Kirby Reed. For some reason the screenplay and the wardrobe/costume department have made her seem like her character would be more at home in an ‘adult’ film rather than the Scream franchise. It is a shame to see such a talented actress be treated this way.

Thai Residential

What saves the film from a complete write-off is that the directors and screenwriters are at times creative. The scenes of Tara and Sam fighting for their lives in a convenience store and the suspenseful sequence on the underground train hold their own and show that there is still life left in the franchise when filmmakers are willing to be creative, while the return of the iconic Gail Weathers (Courteney Cox – Friends) makes the ticket price worth it. Having said that though the no-show of Neve Campbell playing Sidney Prescott is a huge loss and leaves a big hole in the film’s storyline.

Credit does need to be paid to Jenna Ortega and Melissa Barrera, who are great throughout the film, while Jasmin Savoy Brown is also one of the film’s saviours. The way she plays film geek Mindy is one of the highlights of the film and her payoff is that she gets to deliver some of the most memorable lines. Some might find the way Mindy explains the horror rules annoying while others will see it as a great plot device that at times brings in some humour.

Scream VI certainly isn’t the best film in the franchise but it does have some moments that will be enjoyed by horror fans. The fact that the film does get a little gory and has some creative sequences saves it, but there are too many unbelievable things happening for this to be considered a good film.

Scream VI is currently screening in Phuket and is rated 18. 

2.5/5 Stars

David Griffiths has been working as a film and music reviewer for over 20 years. That time has seen him work in radio, television and in print. You can follow him at 

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