I should start by saying that Scream is my favorite horror movie of all time, so I am very emotionally invested in this franchise.
We’ve been in the classic horror reboot era for a while now, which unfortunately has been less than great, with films like Black Christmas (2019), Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022), and Halloween Ends (2022) tarnishing the legacy of their beloved origins.
Thankfully Scream (2022) was a satisfying reboot (or requel) that seamlessly bridged the 11-year gap to set up a new phase in the slasher-whodunnit saga. With the nostalgia of seeing Ghostface and the OG cast on the big screen again, a successful reboot was no surprise — but I had no idea if Scream VI (2023) would deliver or send the franchise plummeting to its inevitable demise.
Scream VI follows the footsteps of Scream 2 (1997): the kids go to college! Tara (Jenna Ortega) and her friends have moved on from the traumatizing events of the previous year and are entering a new chapter together in New York City — making this the first Scream movie to never step foot in Woodsboro. Meanwhile, Sam (Melissa Barrera) is haunted by what happened, so she follows her sister to the big apple in hopes of protecting her. But as we all know by now, leaving Woodsboro never guarantees safety when a new Ghostface emerges.
Let’s address the elephant in the room: Sidney Prescott. Our favorite final girl, the original Scream queen, isn’t in this sixth installment. When news broke that Neve Campbell wouldn’t appear in Scream VI due to financial conflicts, fans (including myself) grew concerned that the movie would flop. I mean, how can you have Scream without the Sidney Prescott?
Enter: Sam and Tara Carpenter, the new final girls.
I think it’s safe to say the previous film didn’t quite stick the landing by introducing new characters, but by the end of Scream VI, I am just as emotionally invested in them as the original Woodsboro gang.
Sam (Barrera) isn’t simply a Sidney replacement, and we love that for her. Being the biological daughter of serial killer Billy Loomis certainly gives her an edge, but her haunting connection with her father is further explored in ways that have me dying to see where her story goes next.
Jenna Ortega solidifies her place as this generation’s scream queen in her killer portrayal of Tara, Sam’s younger sister. Together, Tara and Sam don’t pull any punches — they fight as relentlessly as Ghostface and it is so, so, so satisfying.
Returning characters Mindy (Jasmin Savoy Brown) and Chad (Mason Gooding) feel much more grounded in this film as well, bringing equal parts heart and humor.
And of course, we do still have a few legacy characters because that’s the requel-sequel rule. Courtney Cox, now the only character to appear in all six movies, returns as the infamous Gale Weathers. Hayden Panettiere also makes an incredible return as fan-favorite Kirby — and these characters are more than just a nostalgia grab. They give as much to this film (if not more) as the main cast, and damn does Gale Weathers slay.
I remember walking out of the theater after seeing Scream (2022) and thinking that was the most brutal Ghostface I’d ever seen. Sorry, 2022 version of me, but that was nothing. Scream VI delivers the goriest, scariest, most relentless Ghostface we have ever seen. I felt every single kill on a visceral level. And the kills aren’t just bigger and badder — nearly every kill is introduced by a long, slow-burn leadup of suspense and struggle that had me digging my nails into my fists. We’re past the jump-scare kills (for the most part), and I am one hundred percent okay with that.
This is one of the best scripts in the franchise. Undoubtedly the scariest entry yet, about as meta as it gets, with witty humor on par with the original Scream (1996).
Most importantly, it’s consistently fun. The perfect combination of slasher and whodunnit to keep you guessing and on the edge of your seat. I will say the Ghostface reveal is definitely not the best of the series, but it still lands and gives a deeply satisfying ending. I loved it so much more than Scream (2022) and I would honestly put this in my top four — maybe even top three — of all Scream movies. Yeah, it’s that good.
Scream VI hits theaters Friday.