Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Scream VI


Distancing themselves from the trauma of what happened in Woodsboro, sisters Tara (Jenna Ortega) and Sam (Melissa Barrera) move to the Big Apple to start anew, although they seem to have different ways of coping. When ghost face attacks suddenly rock New York, the two end up being back in square one, brainstorming on who the new killer(s) might be. Can it be their sex-positive roomie Quinn (Liana Liberato)? Chad’s (Mason Gooding) roommate Ethan (Jack Champion)? Mindy’s (Jasmin Savoy Brown) girlfriend Anika (Devyn Nekoda)? With the help of detective and Quinn’s father, Wayne (Dermot Mulroney), they all try to decipher the identity of the murderer. Help from old frenemies also arrive as Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox) and Kirby Reed (Hayden Panettiere) enter the picture as an investigative journalist and an FBI agent, respectively. Is this just a string of copycat murderer wannabes or are the new faces under the ghost face masks somehow related to their past?

I’m actually surprised that they managed to come up with a sequel this fast considering how the last one was released just a year ago. This particular installment made some noise early on, though, because of Neve Campbell refusing to appear due to salary issues. With David Arquette’s Dewey gone, it is now Cox’s Gale Weathers who is left to have appeared in all Scream movies since 1996. While the alibi used for Sidney’s absence is not that convincing, it leaves the door open for future appearances from Campbell.

Overall, the formula is just a rehash of every Scream movie you have already seen, except that it gets trickier and trickier with every sequel because the writers can always subvert the tropes when you least expect it. In the end, it is only in retrospect when you eventually realize that the formula is the same. You just fell for all the red herrings. It is thanks to this that an air of mystery is preserved. There are many similarities to its predecessors, but differences also abound.

I have no idea who Kirby is because Scream 4 is probably the only film in the franchise that I never got to watch. Even then, it’s fun to see legacy characters return. They help with cohesion despite the rather loose connections they have to the new characters. Again, this is perhaps the advantage of having a series running for almost three decades now. There will always be an opening somewhere to connect a new character to an old character you have probably forgotten already. In the end, it even encourages you to watch the other movies in the series again just to make things clear.

Perhaps the only thing I didn’t like is that there are just so many survivors. While their survival was rather unpredictable, it doesn’t really up the ante when a lot of characters live to tell the tale. If the core survivors always remain to be the core survivors, then new character additions end up seemingly disposable. Hopefully, they manage to tackle this issue if ever they come up with another sequel, with rumors spreading it could be as early as next year.

Speaking of another sequel, it does feel exciting, which is weird, because we should already be under franchise fatigue by now. Perhaps the excitement stems from the ambiguity of the new main characters. Campbell’s Sidney has shown a ruthless side from time to time, but mainly out of necessity. Barrera’s Sam and now even Ortega’s Tara appear to harbor a darker and more psychotic side that makes you wonder whether they should really be treated as heroines or as ticking time bombs waiting to explode.

I wouldn't be surprised if these two end up as villains in future installments. After all, the foundation has already been laid out. I just hope that they also get to give Sidney a proper sendoff since she is the one who started this all, right? They owe it to Campbell. As for Scream VI, the violence and gore leveled up from last year and the slasher flick spirit is kept vividly alive. With the positive reception over all, it is probably not unlikely that we will be seeing yet another sequel soon.

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