Scream VI: terrifying or tiresome?


Paramount Pictures

Scream VI theatrical release poster

*minor spoiler warning!

A call on the phone. An unsuspecting girl. “Do you like scary movies?” asks a deep voice. The girl answers, confirming her death. 

That’s right! The beloved Scream franchise is back for its sixth installment. Scream VI follows the four survivors of the latest Ghostface murders: Sam and Tara Carpenter, as well as Mindy and Chad Meeks-Martin. The friend group finds themselves fighting for their lives after the masked murderer goes on another rampage, this time with a vendetta against Sam.

Set in New York City, this film should boast bright visuals. Instead, dark hues dominate, reminiscent of the grim, gory deaths to follow. What isn’t as grim, though, is the movie’s continuous self-referential humor, like Mindy’s startling realization that “We’re in a franchise!”

But the Scream franchise isn’t merely a simple slasher sequence; it’s a carefully crafted series that explores family legacies and the idea of the sins of the father falling upon the son (or in this case, son and daughter). 

Scream VI indirectly asks each character what they’re supposed to do when those protecting them are the ones they should be scared of, and each one responds differently. Sam tries to play the role of Tara’s protecting older sister but eventually breaks down due to harassment from reporters and conspiracy theorists. 

Melissa Barrera, the actress who plays Sam, revealed, “I wanted to make sure that in the sixth movie, we saw more layers to [Sam]. [She] wasn’t just the tough girl… that has all these walls up. I was like, ‘What happens when those walls break down?’”

Near the end, Tara challenges her own definition of maturity and finally leans on Sam’s strength instead of instinctively pushing her half-sister away. Director Matt Bettinelli-Olpin expressed, “I think that the Jenna/Melissa emotional scenes and the Jenna/Melissa fight scenes are among our favorites… you see this heartfelt side of both of them.”

Scream VI also attempts to provide watchers an insider look into the minds of sociopaths who are unable to empathize with their victims (and take responsibility for their actions), but does so in too brief of a manner, not offering much depth or impact. 

Though the final Ghostface reveal is predictable, the classic jumpscares, unexpected betrayals, and complex plotlines that precede are entertaining enough to make up for the conclusion. 

“I think that we knew that the movie up to that big reveal was gonna be pretty bombastic and pretty crazy in terms of its energy level, and I think we just felt like the motive at the end of the day needed to be… really simple and relatable,” director Tyler Gillett affirmed.