(Photo courtesy of Vulture) “”Scream VI” brings the franchise to a new setting in America’s Big Apple.”
Ghostface is back in “Scream VI,” the latest installment in the slasher franchise. The film features returning stars like Jenna Ortega and Courtney Cox, while introducing franchise newcomers such as Samara Weaving and Jack Champion. Departing from the killer’s prime territory of fictional Woodsboro, California, Ghostface follows Tara (Ortega) and Sam (Melissa Barrera) to college in New York City.
Fans of the nearly 30-year-old horror staple were wary of this change, but the risk of deviating from the norm pays off in this film. There are only so many times a similar plot can be recycled before it becomes dry, and the “Scream” franchise seemed to be heading in that direction. Taking the fight against the killer to the big city, however, had remained previously unexplored. The new setting allows for every aspect of the film to become more creative than the previous ones. From new cinematography to suspenseful writing that utilizes the dangers that come with living in a crowded city, “Scream VI” is both familiar and unexpected.
Horror fans will be pleased to know that this installment’s Ghostface gets more creative than ever before. New weapons, or lack thereof, make this killer more brutal and terrifying. There’s a constant sensation of suspense, not knowing where he could be or what he could do next. Barrera and Jasmin Savoy Brown, as Sam and Mindy, respectively, both deliver standout performances among the ensemble cast. Still, no performances were bad, or even underwhelming. The latest “Scream” revivals have effectively blended legacy characters with fresh new faces in a way that also sets up these young actors to carry on the franchise in the future.
Neve Campbell’s absence is the only thing holding this film back from being a horror fan’s ideal film. Her character Sidney Prescott was Ghostface’s primary target throughout the prior films, and Campbell’s performance in the first installment of “Scream” defined what horror fans know to be the “final girl” trope. While the argument can be made that the legacy characters need to be written off eventually to keep things from becoming repetitive, Prescott had long been a fan favorite; most were extremely disheartened to hear that she would not be returning for “Scream VI.”
However, Ortega’s Tara appears to be somewhat of a successor for Campbell. Ortega is quickly joining the ranks of iconic horror scream queens and had acted alongside Campbell herself in “Scream V.” Having delivered solid performances in both her appearances within the franchise as well as other unrelated projects, she seems fit to take on the role.
Still, the latest “Scream” is a delight to watch. It garnered both applause and audible disgust from the audience, an energy usually saved for films such as blockbuster superhero releases and even less prevalent since the COVID-19 pandemic. Fans of horror are not likely to enjoy this film, but the “Scream” franchise knows its audience. The cast and crew don’t hold back with any aspect of this movie and are managing to keep the Ghostface killer as terrifying as ever.