This one had me at the edge of my seat all the way through… and then the third act came around and almost ruined my entire experience.
Set a year after the last entry in the series, Scream VI once again follow sisters Sam (Melissa Barrera) and Tara Carpenter (Jenna Ortega) as they try to move on from a traumatic experience that saw half their friends killed by a resurgent and brutal new Ghostface while coming to terms with family secrets that still haunt them to this day. This time bringing the carnage out of Woodsboro and into the Big Apple, Sam, Tara, and the other two “Core Four” survivors from the last film, twins Mindy (Jasmin Savoy Brown) and Chad (Mason Gooding), are soon stalked by a Ghostface that seems to be everywhere at once, pulling them back into a bloody and violent game of murder and mayhem that brings back series alums Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox) and Kirby Reed (Hayden Panettiere), and puts “franchise” rules into effect — a new wrinkle in Scream meta lore that ensures this will be the deadliest game of “What’s your favorite scary movie?” yet.
Until a certain point in this film, I thought this was my favorite Scream movie, hands down. From the more dark and violent tone carried over from 2022’s Scream to some interesting new takes on well-worn slasher tropes to some character development that didn’t feel forced, Scream VI had a lot going for it in a way that I was consistently and pleasantly surprised by. Chock-full of tense scares and creative kills (most accurate depiction of a NYC subway ride ever, by the way) the thing that impressed me most about this film is that save for the comparatively short appearances by Gale and Kirby, it was able to move the franchise past what came before and fully into its own thing, something that the last Scream movie tried but didn’t execute as successfully. And then, after almost an entire movie’s worth of some much-appreciated slasher genre goodness, the out-of-left-field killer reveal sent this movie diving off a cliff.
Not only did the reveal feel like an uninspired, contrived Saw twist, but on a grander scale, it felt lazy, made no real sense, and in its attempt to link itself to the last film, ultimately made sure that it didn’t work on more levels than one. Sure, all the meta talk about being inside a franchise as well as the callbacks to the other killers from the past were fun to see and gave the series’ already deep set of “rules” even more caveats to follow, yet when funneled through the lens of who the killer is and their head-scratching reasoning for committing such disturbing crimes, everything surrounding it is immediately lessened to a point where it made me audibly whisper “nooo” to myself as the movie kept digging itself deeper into a hole it didn’t need to be in in the first place.
So for as much as I legitimately enjoyed what I saw in the first three-quarters of this movie, I was genuinely let down by a killer reveal and a third act that practically undid all the great stuff that came before it. That said, I can’t knock this one entirely based on its ending alone, as most of what the filmmakers did here was exactly what the franchise needed moving forward, but the whiplash of Scream VI being my favorite entry in the series to being one of the most disappointing is something that will stick with me for a while yet. I can’t wait for the inevitable next entry to come to theaters, but someone needs to figure out how to stick the landing well before that time.