When Scream embraces the whodunit element of its murder mystery, it is at its best. This meta-horror has consistently defied expectations thanks to several killers that weren’t identified until the end of the game. Scream VI is no exception, and its murder mystery is simply outstanding.
While a rotating cast of victims keeps the tension high until the very end, when the big reveal is revealed, a growing list of suspects serves as obvious red herrings.
After the events of last year’s surprise box office success, Samantha still has trouble adjusting to her new reality when the story picks up. While it’s advised to watch 2022’s Scream before jumping into this, Scream VI does a pretty solid job recapping what’s happened as Sam attends therapy.
When we’ve left her, Sam is public enemy number 1, and word online is that Richie was innocent and Sam has framed him as the Ghostface killer.
After moving to New York and starting a new life for themselves, Sam is struggling to keep her relationship with Tara intact. Tara wants to do her own thing and sees Sam as an annoying, intrusive figure overshadowing her life.
When a new string of murders occurs, with someone targeting those closest to Sam and Tara, our protagonists are conflicted between saving themselves from harm and doing everything they can to unmask the next Ghostface killer.
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An awe-inspiring opening act bolsters Scream VI, and the first 20 minutes of this one do a fantastic job of easing you into the new mystery. The changed setting of New York, which contrasts the cramped, small apartments with the larger, open expanses outside, works surprisingly well. The situation has an agitated, gritty feel to it.
It’s unlikely that many people will predict everything that happens in the third act, especially the actual identification of the murderers and the final 30 minutes or so. But it also has a campy, cartoonish tone, and the stakes are surprisingly low—especially given how many fake-outs and other clichés of the horror genre there are.
I won’t go into that, but with a slightly different conclusion, this could have easily been one of the best Scream films. If there is one negative aspect to this otherwise enjoyable slasher, it is this.
The writers have taken many criticisms from 2022’s Scream and responded with a great screenplay that takes all those issues onboard and reworks them into a cleverly written and unpredictable script. It’s certainly a refreshing change from the norm where criticism is played off as racist or se*ist.
While the usual swathe of meta references to the genre does a great job of keeping the tone between horror and comedy, some hilarious jokes poke fun at the concept of legacy characters. Additionally, the 2-hour run features some excellent set pieces and never a dull moment.
Alongside that opening sequence, there’s a tense segment onboard a subway train, and the final fight location is spot-on in both aesthetic and design. Scream VI will almost certainly turn a tidy profit at the box office given the tight budget it is operating under, and it deserves it for its efforts.
Scream VI is an excellent horror flick, and issues with the finale aside improve over last year’s effort in almost every way to deliver a bloody good slasher!
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