- Courtney Cox, Melissa Barrera, Jenna Ortega, Jasmin Savoy Brown
- Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett
- Horror, Mystery, Thriller
- Release date
- March 10, 2023
Scream VI begins a little over a year after the events of the previous entry and reunites its young survivors in The Big Apple. As the “core 4” try to live a normal life, they find that their past isn’t so easy to escape.
By now, every moviegoer knows what they are in store for when they sit down to a Scream movie. So, it would seem as though it would be difficult to be disappointed by one. However, the first ten minutes of Scream VI were done so well, with double blinds and thoughtful twists, that it had me believing that this entry into the franchise was going to pick up the fresh and inventive baton that the first one has been trying to pass along for the last 26 years. I thought that it might even keep me guessing or at least caring until the end…I was wrong.
I can almost hear the writers saying, “Yeah but it’s meta,” every time someone pointed out how unoriginal or stupid something was in their script. It’s unfortunate, but Scream VI relies entirely on unlikeable characters, played by mediocre actors, making decisions that no one would ever make. All the while it completely disregards physics and biology whenever the script needs it. To put it plainly, Scream VI is an utter piece of crap.
Immediately following the nail-biting opening, the movie screeches to a bone-jarring stop. The following scene shows the main protagonist, Melissa Barrera’s Sam Carpenter, providing an amateurishly written and needless exposition dump via a contrived therapy session. Its only purpose is so that she can catch the audience up with the events of the previous movie and let us know that she (the daughter of the 1st movie’s Ghostface) enjoyed killing the bad guys in Scream V. It has all the subtlety of The January 6th Committee.
In a movie like Scream VI, ambiguity is king, and it might have actually been interesting to hint at Carpenter’s feelings throughout the film and to keep us guessing if perhaps she was the killer. Unfortunately, either due to a lack of direction, terrible script, or middling talent on her part (probably a little from each column), Barrera doesn’t have what it takes to get that across to the audience in any other way.
She’s not the only one delivering sub-par performances, everyone’s guilty of hamming it up. Unlike the original, however, in which Jamie Kennedy’s Randy was obnoxious but lovable, this uber-diverse group of mostly gen-z’s is ironically homogenous. They exhibit virtually the same personalities, and what little personality they have is banal and shallow.
Having said that, the only truly embarrassingly horrific performance is given by Dermot Mulroney. He is unbelievably over the top, with cartoonish facial expressions and (somehow) lifeless shouting. It’s doubly shocking because he’s been in the business for nearly 40 years and usually gives a fairly solid performance.
However, the movie’s weaknesses don’t end with bland and anemic performances or even over-the-top ones. No, it’s ridiculous on all fronts. There are silly things like Hayden Panettiere dressed in an over-designed black leather biker jacket and ridiculous nickel-plated sidearm to show that all 5’0″ of her is a hard-boiled FBI detective. If that’s not enough to convince you of her bonafides, then her cute little blonde bob and Neutrogena spokes girl looks will do the job.
Then there’s the new Randy, who just so happens to be related to the old Randy, who voluntarily gets on the New York subway on Halloween night without once considering that a cab or Uber might be a better choice. Who, in their right mind would think that getting into an enclosed and inescapable space while surrounded by macabrely dressed strangers would be a good idea? Do you know who wouldn’t? THE REAL RANDY! That’s not the worst of it, the group only realizes AFTER they get on and begin to think that they’ve made a bad choice that there are 10 friggin stops before theirs and they STAY ON FOR THEM ALL!
If that’s not enough, the plot armor couldn’t be any thicker for these characters. Ghostface takes multiple headshots from fists, feet, and even large metal gumball machines. Then, after the unmasking happens, there’s no mark to be seen. I can’t overstate the brutality of the blows delivered upon Ghostface’s noggin.
Not to be outdone, several of the characters receive multiple deep (I mean like 3-4 inches deep) stab wounds and then, with the exception of the initial scream of pain, act as though nothing happened. Seriously, in one scene the Brachial artery of one of the main cast is sliced. The character is quickly losing blood, and only barely manages to get away. In the real world, it can take as few as 90 seconds for a person to bleed to death from a wound like this. However, after some basic 1st aid (delivered multiple hours later) in the next scene, the character is fine and behaving as though it never happened.
Finally, in what is not the last but is the movie’s most egregious display of ineptitude, Scream VI is mostly boring. Sure it has bursts of intense action/violence but nearly half of the picture is spent sitting and talking about the characters’ feelings.
While it offers a couple of good scares, Scream VI is a mostly useless entry into an already-tired franchise. Do yourself a favor and watch the first one again instead.
P.S. Courtney Cox has had so much plastic surgery that she looks like a burn victim after a face transplant.
This was a bit tough because it’s totally possible that the filmmakers decided that woking it up was meta, and did so knowingly. However, the overall ineptitude on display leads me to believe that most, if not all of the woke elements, are not in jokes.
- Mindy is gay solely for the sake of “representation” instead of narrative. While she was introduced in the last film, the activism carried over to this entry.
- Woke physics. Itty bitty girl bosses that can hardly reach the gas pedal can shake off injuries that would stagger a terminator. Seriously, the tallest chick in this thing is 5′ 7″ and probably weighs in at 115 lbs. but that doesn’t stop them from handing out some whoop-@$$ to much larger and stronger opponents. Oh, and every guy is either shut out or taken out of the major action.
- The heroes don’t carry guns. They barely survived the last movie and aren’t anti-violence. In one scene, Sam assaults and tasers a guy in the balls for consensually escorting her sister to his room. Also in her first scene in this film, she admits that she kind of liked killing the bad guys in the last picture. Also also, Sam is paranoid and frightened to near xenophobia in this picture. It’s complete nonsense that she wouldn’t be packing.
- Snarky b!t@h (but only toward well-meaning men) as a celebrated character trait makes its way into the film.
- Friends as family. I can’t be the only one who is sick of the concept that a group of close friends is the same thing as a family. It’s not. Stop it.
- This movie has ALL of the diversity, and since the performances were mostly flat and lackluster, I’m going with diversity for its own sake rather than the best cast having been picked and it is only incidentally diverse enough to star in a Nike commercial.
James Carrick is a passionate film enthusiast with a degree in theater and philosophy. James approaches dramatic criticism from a philosophic foundation grounded in aesthetics and ethics, offering insight and analysis that reveals layers of cinematic narrative with a touch of irreverence and a dash of snark.