Berkreviews SCREAM VI (2023)

Directors Matt Bettinelli-Olin and Tyler Gillett return to the Scream franchise with its latest entry:  Scream VI (2023). Scream (2022) was a pleasant surprise, and its success prompted an immediate sequel. Considering that the franchise has been used to comment on various aspects of the film industry, it seemed unlikely the sixth entry would have much to add after last year’s commentary on the Legasequel. Yet, somehow, Bettinelli-Olin and Gillett found a way to keep that meta-commentary relevant and make another solid Scream film – while also pushing it out of its traditional framework. 

The four survivors of the latest Ghostface killings in Woodsboro have moved to New York to get a fresh start as college students. Sam (Melissa Barrer) and Tara (Jenna Ortega) are struggling to figure out how to move past the traumatic events they’ve experienced. Mindy (Jasmin Savoy Brown) and her brother Chad (Mason Gooding) are a bit neutral, but see that Sam is suffering the most. Sam is battling both internal and external demons, as the world has now deemed her the true perpetrator of the killings back in Woodsboro. 

Ortega has had a big year, and her performance here only seems to cement her as the star to watch. While the performances in the film are solid, Ortega is definitely a scene-stealer. There is a fire underneath her often calm demeanor that breaks through, no matter the scene. She’s also able to convincingly be scared or sad at the drop of a hat. There is a true mastery of the craft on display when she is on screen and the signs of a movie star in the making. 

Ghostface in Paramount Pictures and Spyglass Media Group’s “Scream VI.”

Barrer is the true lead and is up for the task. However, the worst part of both Scream and Scream VI involves her lineage to Billy Loomis. The Scream franchise has always been mostly grounded to “reality”, but Sam’s trouble with her father leans towards the supernatural a little too hard. Despite many of those moments feeling cheesy or just out of place in this movie, Barrer is still able to bring some believability to it. 

Scream has always had a sense of humor, and tons of Easter eggs for movie nerds to latch onto. That was easily the best part of Scream VI. There is a reference to Jeremy Saulnier’s film, Murder Party, that brought a huge smile to my face. The Hitchcock posters and the various Halloween costumes create tons of visual references for audiences to pick out. Some have significance to the story, while others are just film nerds paying homage. 

While Scream VI isn’t the best of the franchise, it is definitely another positive entry. At this point, it wouldn’t be hard to argue that Scream is the most consistently good franchise over five films in the horror genre. Even the worst ones are better than many of the others. What’s getting harder and harder is keeping the audience in the dark or subverting expectations to keep these films feeling fresh. Only time will tell if this formula has run its course, but this entry seems to imply that even the familiar can still be fun. 

Scream VI is in theaters everywhere on March 10. 

Rating: Not Quite Golden, Ponyboy

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s