Pick up the call for ‘Scream 6’

Melissa Barrera and Jenna Ortega in Scream 6

“Cities are distinguished by the catastrophic forms they presuppose and which are a vital part of their essential charm.” – Jean Baudrillard

I did not like the last Scream movie and did not have hope that the same creative team would fare any better with a follow-up, especially one produced so soon. Not to mention that horror part sixes are typically really bad and/or forgettable. It feels so good to be wrong.

More than a cut above the prior outing, Scream 6 brings the series back on track and into a whole new dimension. 

Following last year’s events, sisters Sam (Melissa Barrera) and Tara (Jenna Ortega) along with their twin friends Chad (Mason Gooding) and Mindy (Jasmin Savoy Brown) have relocated to New York City. The latter three have enrolled in college while Sam works out her trauma with a psychiatrist (Henry Czerny). Sam has become more than a tad overprotective of Tara, which while reasonable considering all that’s happened, causes the junior sibling to resent her presence.

But when Halloween rolls around, someone is dressing up for a different reason. Yes, a killer or two donning the Ghostface costume has started a new rampage and soon makes it clear that the Woodsboro transplants are the true targets. Even when under the protection of veteran detective (Dermot Mulroney), Sam and friends – plus Gale (Courteney Cox), who seemingly now lives here, too – are in grave danger at every turn 

Whether it really was due to pay disagreements or fear that the undignified treatment other returning characters received in part five would happen to her, Neve Campbell declined the chance to return. However, as the television series proved, the franchise is perfectly fine without Sidney. The cast members really come into their own and finally make the impressions they didn’t before. They’re so good I’m almost tempted to go back and watch the previous film. 

While the last installment unfairly took away some legacy characters, this time we get one back from the dead. Kirby (Hayden Panettiere) is now in the FBI and has jumped on the case. It’s a real treat to see her again; she might even be better here than she was in Scream 4. In other pluses, the 3D helps greatly to heighten the viewer’s engagement and sense of environment. More importantly, the narrative is leaps and bounds better than the one before it. There are some really welcome swerves and a villain or more who are worthy of the mask.

The apparently mandatory rules explanation scene feels a little off. It really should have been for the “in New York” installment, which is weirdly a pretty common trope. Friday the 13th Part 8 gets a subtle nod earlier on, but Die Hard, Home Alone, The Muppets, and even Sharknado (featuring yours truly) have done it as well. Instead, the focus is on franchises. Most everything that’s said is much more applicable to the previous film than this one. There is a bit of self-awareness when Mindy criticizes some of the things that the fifth did, which feels a bit vindicating. Then again, admitting you did a crappy thing doesn’t excuse you for having done it in the first place.

A few more flaws are apparent. Once again, the racial dynamics go completely unexplored. The supporting cast is a little thin, making it easier to narrow down the unsub(s). Lastly (though not a fault of the film itself but whoever is responsible for releasing it), shouldn’t a film set on Halloween come out closer to October 31 and not over a half-year away?

Going in, I didn’t imagine saying this, but I am intrigued to see where this series gets taken next. Perhaps next time we’ll get to meet Sam and Tara’s suspiciously-absent mother (casting ideas time: Michelle Rodriguez, Sara Ramirez, Judy Reyes, someone else whose surname begins with an R), or, wishful thinking here, we could see a crossover with some of the TV cast. In any event, bring on Scream 7 and whatever way that number will appear in the logo.

Leave a Reply