When it was announced that the Scream franchise would be returning last year, after laying dormant for 11 years, the news was met with a mixture of excitement and hesitation. It would of course be the first entry to not be helmed by the late, great Wes Craven, one of the driving forces behind the Meta series’ monstrous success. When the 2022 Scream was eventually released, it was clear that directing duo Matt Bettinelli-Olpi and Tyler Gillett, more commonly known as Radio Silence, had a hit on their hands. Their “requel” felt fresh, and was respectful towards Craven’s previous work, ensuring that most people received the film in a positive light. Before the credits even rolled, a sequel was announced, and all eyes were on Radio Silence, and their ability to carry one of the most beloved horror franchises of all time into sequel territory. 

Thankfully, this creative team has proven that lightning can strike twice. Scream VI is everything that a horror sequel should be, following the rules set out by the ill-fated Randy all the way back in Scream 2. Everything is bigger and better, from the gore to the stakes to the location. This time around, the action is shifted from Woodsboro to New York City. This setting does feel a little wasted somewhat, as it’s not really explored. There aren’t really any set pieces that unfold by popular landmarks for example, with the exception of the NYC Subway scenes teased in the trailers. The overall big city aesthetic, however, works well with what is already established and offers something fresh. Ghostface is suitably scary skulking through skyscraper alleyways.

The Ghostface this time around is arguably the most brutal yet. He is efficient, unforgiving, and unflinching. This Ghostface doesn’t stumble and fall like before, and it’s genuinely unnerving. There’s one scene early on, set in a convenience store that is unlike anything we have seen from this series before, and it sets up a new rule, that whenever he is on screen, things get serious. Ghostface is one of the most iconic horror villains of all time, and the Scream VI version threatens to solidify that even further. His simple, yet unsettling appearance is slightly tinkered with, down to a mask that is a bit discoloured and beaten up, reminiscent of Michael Myers in the 2018 Halloween. The brutality mentioned is bolstered by the onscreen violence, resulting in what is probably the goriest Scream movie yet. There are memorable kills from start to finish. The cold opening is notable and is worthy of standing next to openings from the previous films, and from there it doesn’t slow down. As mentioned, any time Ghostface is onscreen, it’s a guarantee that something vicious is unfolding. It’s important to mention that it never steps over the line into a mean-spirited territory, however. Despite its violence, Scream VI remains fun and engaging. It has a huge amount of callbacks for fans to enjoy, from plot-related things that I won’t mention here, to character returns such as Kirby (Hayden Panettiere), a fan favourite from Scream 4. It’s a veritable treat for anyone who loves the series as a whole.

The other big win here is the cast. It’s a shame that Neve Campbell didn’t return again, but it makes way for the newer characters introduced in 2022 to take the torch and run with it. Melissa Barrera, Jenna Ortega, Mason Gooding, and Jasmin Savoy Brown are all back after surviving the last Ghostface massacre, and by this point, they are all characters that are easy to care about. They have great chemistry, and the transition from the legacy crew to the new blood is seamless. Having Courtney Cox back once again ensures that there are still familiar elements in play, but it is quite clear that this series is here to stay, in new hands.

Ultimately, Scream VI is a great sequel and a solid slasher in its own right. It’s tense, entertaining, clever, self-aware, and scary, and is arguably the best entry since the original. Bring on Scream VII.

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Scream VI  is now showing in movie theatres.

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