Scream VI brings some entertaining new frights, but remains far from cutting edge

Collin-Denton Spotlighter reviewer Nick Rios returns, taking a stab at the latest effort in the Scream franchise.

Light spoilers for “Scream VI” follow

“Scream VI” is the latest movie in Hollywood’s era of embarrassingly obvious lack of ideas and original IPs. Sam and Tara Carpenter, along with their cannon fodder friends, are drawn back into the growing cult surrounding the Ghostface killer.

Unfortunately, it all plays out almost exactly in the way every Scream movie plays out, so the rehashed beats and meta theme will likely feel familiar. Nonetheless, the movie does offer up some entertainment and laughs that caught me off guard. Despite my initial reluctance at the general existence of this movie and its rehashing of a well-tread franchise, I found myself letting go and embracing the cheap entertainment of “Scream VI.”

The dialogue is what’s to be expected from a movie like this. “Scream VI” uses its fair share of, “How do you do, fellow kids?” lingo, but not as heavy-handedly as it could have. When the movie leans on that stereotypical dialogue, it did make me chuckle rather than groan too.

More often than not, people tend to see these movies for the violence rather than the characters, however. With that said, I was not disappointed with the kills. There’s some fun gore and great kills, something I remember feeling was missing from the last installment bar the final twenty minutes. The set pieces are also really fun, ranging from a packed train car on Halloween night to an abandoned movie theater. 

Not all is well with this aging horror franchise though, starting with the mystery at its center. “Scream VI” desperately wants to be a whodunnit, like the movies before it. It just doesn’t actually give any kind of clues as to who the Ghostface killer could be.

“Scream VI” goes so far as to have a character explicitly tell you that the identity of the killer is unknowable. This aspect really deflates the ultimately derivative reveal at the end because it’s already established that it could literally be anyone. When the moment of discovery finally comes, you simply don’t feel any sense of shock or revelatory understanding.

The flick also tries to be meta, also like the franchise efforts before it, and falls on its face. While “Scream VI” pokes fun at the fact that they’re in a slasher movie, it’s just that – a joke. The characters aren’t smarter or more knowledgeable about the situation, no matter how much they talk about horror movie cliches. Characters go down dark alleyways, split up and are generally unaware of their surroundings.

All of this is recipe for disaster, which I happened to find ridiculously entertaining. For example, this movie must take place in an alternate reality where guns are a relatively new invention, so people can’t fathom that they’re meant to be long range weapons. Characters literally run at each other with guns, leading to one moment at the end which made me laugh out loud with its ridiculousness.

Another point that made me laugh was the appearance of Jedi force ghost Billy Loomis, who plays the devil on the shoulder of Sam Carpenter that was shown in the last film. His appearance, despite sparsely used, is very jarring, deifying a random murderer that the franchise never felt it had future intentions for. The movie even pulls a “Last Jedi” with the very plastic-looking knife that Loomis used in the first movie. 

Despite all of those faults and goofy touches, I’m nonetheless grateful they were added in lieu of more traditional sequel beats. If you’ve liked the Scream movies up till now, I can’t imagine you being disappointed by this movie – force ghosts and eye-rolling ending in all.

Spotlight Score: 5.5/10


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