I saw “Scream VI” with some friends of mine as an excuse to do a fun group activity, and I was deathly apprehensive going in.
I was nervous buying the ticket, nervous skipping the rows of movie snacks and nervous as I settled into a somewhat comfortable armchair in the middle of the theater, waiting for the movie to start. I closed my eyes during every preview—as most of them were horror movies—and I warned my companions I would probably grab them out of fright, or (fittingly) scream, more than once.
But the movie subverted my expectations right from the start. “Scream,” as a series, is built by its witty critique (yet use) of tropes in horror movies. They are done so cleverly one cannot help but laugh and be terrified at the same time. I knew this, but “Scream VI” was so well-written I clapped and laughed throughout the entire movie, from the gory kills to the slow mental breakdown of the main characters,
Sam and Tara Carpenter, all draped in the quiet bustle of a mock NYC atmosphere. I was wheezing with chuckles at the second kill—and the third, and the fourth—and was on the edge of my seat when the inevitable meta aspects of the film arose.
It was genius! As a plus, the effects were astounding. The blood and guts made my friends turn their heads, whilst I imagined the sheer effort it took to make it look so real. The antagonist, Ghostface, was a sinister yet exaggerated character, striking the balance between horror and comedy perfectly.
I will say the third act of the movie dipped in quality, as it felt more formulaic than it needed to be, especially with “Scream’s” track record of subverting expectations. Furthermore, the themes developed in Sam’s struggle against her own ghosts (as it were) could have been better tied into the plot of the movie.
However, those weaknesses aren’t major failures! I only hope to see them paid off in “Scream VII” (which was greenlit, by the way) with the same passion—and running commentary—the Scream franchise has always had.
“It’s not funny,” my friend Lizzy gasped, hiding her face in between laughing fits as a character on screen was being brutalized by Ghostface.
But it was to me!