By: Amanda Guarragi
The Scream franchise is possibly the greatest horror franchise of all time because it is consistent. Even though all the Scream films have the same structure, it has always been about the experience with Ghostface throughout the film rather than the final reveal. That being said, Scream 6 goes back to the roots of what made the Scream franchise so entertaining to watch in the first place. The journey we go on with the “Core 4”; Sam Carpenter (Melissa Barerra), Tara Carpenter (Jenna Ortega), Chad Meeks-Martin (Mason Gooding) and Mindy Meeks-Martin (Jasmin Savoy Brown) is a wild ride from beginning to end. The gang moves from Woodsboro to New York City, where they think they will be safe so Tara can take her shot at a normal life. However, social media has painted Samantha Carpenter so badly that she can’t escape her past.
Scream 6 captured the same essence as the original film because there was a strong balance between brutal kills and funny dialogue. Co-directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett presented the tough, gritty streets of New York City in Ghostface. They needed to show a darker side of Ghostface to parallel Sam Carpenter’s journey in this film. When we see our “Core 4” again, Sam is cycling through therapists to try and work through the thoughts in her head, Tara is in university making some poor choices, and the twins are trying to protect both of them. In a way, they created their own family just like Sidney, Gale, and Dewey did. The “Core 4” are new to this way of life and learned to lean on each other in this instalment. Co-writers James Vanderbilt, Guy Busick and Kevin Williamson focused more on Sam’s journey with Tara than having the pressure of writing something for the legacy characters.
The Scream franchise relies on references and tropes to shape the current instalment they’re working on. In Scream 6, they do just that by referencing previous Scream films in the franchise and the stepping stones to the grand reveal were perfect. It made for some very funny moments and great banter between returning characters like Kirby (Hayden Panettiere) and the new characters in the franchise. The journey may have been suspenseful, well-written and cheeky, but the third act didn’t stick the landing. The reveal felt predictable, and the explanation overstayed its welcome. However, the strength lies in Barrera and Ortega’s performances as they’ve grown as sisters. The ending creates a strong arc for Sam Carpenter, which opens a door of possibilities for the writers to flip the script on the franchise. Even though it didn’t deliver on the reveal, the third act affects Sam and makes it all worth it.
Scream 6 has inventive kills, hilarious dialogue, and a strong build-up. This is one of the most entertaining Scream films since the original. The opening sets the tone for the rest of the film as it establishes the nature of New York City and the present-day social climate. This franchise has always made fun of those serious about the horror genre and films in general. It’s a step in the right direction after the transitional film that was Scream 5 to introduce a new set of characters. This instalment proves that Sam and Tara can stand on their own without any legacy characters involved. Even though the ending doesn’t stick the landing, the takeaway is that the characters feel more like family. This story is geared more towards Sam and Tara Carpenter and the realization that they will never be able to live a normal life because their past will always come back to haunt them.