The Scream franchise has taught horror movie fans a lot of things through the years, including how much red dye #5 a body can hold, the effectiveness of a well-executed cold open, not to mention the resilience of the human spirit. The franchise also changed horror movie history by taking an analytical look at the industry. While there were plenty of movies that combined both horror and comedic elements, Scream (1996) did so while also flipping the genre on its head.
After the success of Scream (the "requel"), the creative team -- directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, and writers James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick -- is back. Scream VI also sees the return of Melissa Barrera (In the Heights), Jenna Ortega (X), Jasmin Savoy Brown (Missing), Mason Gooding (Fall), Courteney Cox (Scream 2), Hayden Panettiere (Scream 4), and introduces Josh Segarra (First One In), Jack Champion (Avatar: The Way of Water), Liana Liberato (If I Stay), Dermot Mulroney (My Best Friend's Wedding), and Samara Weaving (Ready or Not) to the movie franchise.
Scream VI follows the events of Scream, with Sam (Barrera), Tara (Ortega), Mindy (Brown), and Chad (Gooding) moving to New York for college and a fresh start. When a string of murders on or near campus are linked to Ghostface, the four survivors are put on high alert. Has Ghostface come back for them, or are these killings random and unrelated? Can they survive another onslaught of knives and bullets? How many times can they stab poor Tara!?
The performances are amazing. Barrera, Ortega, Brown, and Gooding have incredible chemistry together. The characters are honest, charismatic, and sympathetic. Jenna Ortega and Melissa Barrera both have wonderful screams that'll send shivers down viewers' spines (as does Samara Weaving). Mason Gooding plays off of Ortega beautifully as the "Chad" of the friend group, who has redeemed himself past the caricature. Brown portrays Mindy perfectly as a sardonic horror movie aficionado. Mindy even comes off a little less cold-hearted in Scream VI as she did in the previous movie.
Fans look forward to the monologue found in each of the installments, in which the scary movie buff explains the tropes of the genre which will be exploited in that particular movie. It is a great way to subvert expectations by being self-aware and while it might seem like a tiresome gag after five movies, the Scream franchise utilizes it well. Scream VI is no exception. Brown does an excellent job leading this scene with passion and enthusiasm.
The story is typical per the genre and the series. While the film follows the rules that it gives itself, it doesn't evolve in such a way that it subverts the tropes. The bar is set high by Mindy's "horror movie trope monologue," but the film doesn't quite deliver on those promises. If the movie itself sets the bar, the script should exceed those expectations.
Scream VI is a solid addition to the franchise. While it's not so inventive that viewers will be left reeling at the end of the film, it is entertaining enough for moviegoers to chuckle, squeal, and cheer for their favorite characters throughout the movie.