FILM REVIEW: Scream VI
Scientists believe that some black holes were formed when the universe began. A black hole is believed to be made when a very large star falls in on itself, creating a supernova, and exploding part of the star into space. What is left is a super dense matter that has so much gravity that even light can’t get away, it pulls everything around it into it.
In 1996, when Scream (dir Wes Craven) burst onto the scene it was fresh and inventive. It explored and played with all of the horror, especially slasher tropes. It was one of the early meta films, having characters commenting on what was happening within the film. In Scream it was the film nerd telling everyone what will happen based on what happens in “real” horror films.
Now 27 years later (damn I feel old) Scream VI (dir Tyler Gillett, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin) is making its way to join the franchise. Scream started with an iconic scene where they killed off the opening female protagonist, Scream VI does the same thing but has to have a little twist to it.
Sam Carpenter (Meissa Barrera) survived the previous movie along with her younger sister Tara (Jenna Ortega) and friends Chad (Mason Gooding) and Mindy (Jasmin Savoy Brown). They all now live in New York City but the scars of the past aren’t far away. Sam responds to events in ways her little sister doesn’t appreciate and thinks she is overbearing.
But just because you are paranoid doesn’t mean you are wrong and murders start happening using the same ghost face masks from the previous murders. Sam is implicated in the murders and questioned when the FBI comes in in the form of Kirby Reed (Hayden Panettiere), another member from the last movie.
Scream VI also has the scene where the characters have a meta-conversation around the rules of the film. This time, it’s not about being a movie, it is about being a franchise. Laughably, another character who wasn’t in this scene also uses the term franchise which just felt so out of place.
According to the rules of a franchise, many things that didn’t happen in the past films could happen in this one, trying to raise the suspense and disrupt the status quo.
However, with 5 movies behind it, the weight of lore creates a near inescapable constraint for the film. When the original film was about playing with expectations, now expectations are expected to be played with so it’s about playing with the playing with of expectations. And if you think that sentence was hard to understand you can see the challenges this film has to work through.
The sheer weight and quality of the previous films crush this film into oblivion that it doesn’t have the ability to escape from. Where Scream was an inventive, scary, and interesting take on slasher films, Scream VI is just another slasher film, and it’s sad to have to write that.
By Luke McMeeken-Ruscoe
13th March 2023
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