Review: Ghostface slashes through the Big Apple

Meghan Tripp, Image Editor

In 1996, Wes Craven’s “Scream” reinvented the slasher film, simply by being different from other films in the horror genre.

“Scream” took the overused horror movie tropes and manipulated them in a way that was fresh and entertaining. 27 years later and under new direction, Ghostface returns for yet another killing spree while paying tribute to the iconic film that started it all.

The big question remains: Can they pull it off without ruining what came before? Absolutely. 

Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillet’s latest installment “Scream VI” does everything a sequel, or requel, should do. The body count is bigger, the kills are more gruesome and the third act bloodbath and killer reveal is unlike anything we’ve seen before. Credit is due to Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillet for exploring new possibilities within this franchise while also paying homage to the original series, storyline and characters.

Similar to “Scream 2,” the events of “Scream VI” follow the survivors of the previous film to college in New York City. Because of the trauma they experienced, Sam (Melissa Barrera) becomes very overprotective of her half-sister Tara (Jenna Ortega). This causes tension at first but ultimately brings them together as a new series of killings takes place throughout the city. As terror rages through the streets of Manhattan, Sam and Tara, along with siblings Chad (Mason Gooding) and Mindy (Jasmin Savoy Brown) are put in danger as potential Ghostface victims. 

Along with the main cast, “Scream VI” also brings back some fan favorite legacy characters from previous films. Courteney Cox returns as Gale Weathers, the only character in the franchise to be featured in all six films. We also see the return of Scream 4 survivor Kirby Reed (Hayden Panettiere) who is now an FBI agent working to solve this new Ghostface mystery. Even though it is upsetting that this is the first film without Dewey (David Arquette) and Sidney (Neve Campbell), “Scream VI” is still a remarkable film in the franchise.

As a huge fan of the franchise, I was skeptical about it being rebooted when the fifth installment was announced a few years ago. Looking at the new “Halloween” trilogy specifically, it started off strong before hitting a plateau and flopping completely with “Halloween Ends.” While this isn’t necessarily true for every rebooted horror franchise, I didn’t want this to be the case for “Scream.” It turns out I had nothing to worry about, as the fifth film has become one of my favorites that I go back and watch over and over again. 

Since I didn’t get a chance to see any of the previous films in theaters, I was very excited about the theatrical release of “Scream VI.” Seeing this film in theaters added a whole new level of excitement and anticipation, something that doesn’t always happen when streaming at home. The jumpscares were more effective and the kills were shown up close and detailed, all of which contributed to the suspense leading up to the killer’s reveal at the end. 

Whether it be the legacy characters or the subtle Easter eggs hidden throughout the film, “Scream VI” is definitely filled with nostalgia for long term fans like myself. There’s plenty of mention of characters from previous films, as well as an entire shrine filled with items belonging to the killers that came before. Although the reasoning behind the shrine is a bit morbid, it’s a clever and unique way to connect the new with prior films.

On the other hand, the writers and directors aren’t afraid of taking new risks and trying new things to keep the series alive. The “Scream” films have been ambitious in trying out different ideas for the opening kill scene, but this opening kill scene is unlike anything we’ve seen before. It really set the tone for the rest of the film in that all bets are off and anything could happen to anybody. 

“Scream VI” finds a way to both celebrate and honor the legacy that’s been left behind. There’s a perfect balance between new and old blood while also keeping up with the traditions that have been established throughout the franchise. Although this film is technically a sequel to a requel, the possibilities of where the franchise could go from here are endless.