Plot: What’s it about?
After the success of Scream, it was all but promised we’d get a sixth installment. I’m sure many didn’t expect such a fast turnaround, with this sixth entry coming just under 14 months after the previous installment. I was always a big fan of the first and second films and felt the third entry was lacking. Things sat still for a while and in 2011 we were treated to Scream 4, which I just found to be decent. Flash forward just a shade over a decade later and the fifth film came along. I was anxious to see what they would do with this entry, because I love the idea of a killer(s) loose in New York City. Memories of Jason takes Manhattan (a guilty pleasure of mine) come to mind. While I feel overall satisfied with this entry, it does at times feel like a missed opportunity. I would rank it somewhere in the middle with all the Scream films.
We should get it out of the way that franchise regular (and possibly favorite?) Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) isn’t in this film. Campbell let it be known that she didn’t like the offer she was given to appear in this film, so she declined. While I certainly wish she was here, these last two films have been more focused on the other characters. Sidney is at least mentioned, so that’s nice. A lot was said about this being the goriest entry in the Scream series. I wouldn’t try to debate that as there is quite a bit of blood and violence here. We catch up with Sam (Melissa Barrera) who has relocated to New York City where she keeps a too watchful eye on her half-sister, Tara (Jenna Ortega). It is understandable to some degree seeing as how they just suffered the loss of many, but it’s also normal for Tara to want to return to normalcy. We get much of the returning cast from the previous entry, and this includes franchise regular, Gale Cunningham (Courtney Cox). Also showing up here is Kirby (Hayden Panettiere) who was presumed dead in the 4th film. Well, to be fair, her fate was a bit ambiguous and she’s now working for the F.B.I. We see in the opening sequence that Ghostface is still very much active. There are some nifty surprises early in the film. It throws a curveball or two at us, but then things slow down a good bit. And there lies one of my issues with Scream VI. I just don’t care about these characters as much as I did in at least the first two films. You could argue part 3 to some degree, but this just feels a bit too self-referential that it became tedious and annoying after a while.
It isn’t a total loss, however, as the kills are creative and there’s an intense sequence where a ladder is used between two neighboring apartments to help the characters cross high above the ground below. There’s also the subway sequence and a convenience store scene that are both well done. Still, much of it feels like a missed opportunity since they’ve relocated to New York. Some potentially good sequences just aren’t there. I found the previous film to be the better of these recent ones. Maybe if (or I should say when) the next installment comes about then we can have a slightly longer wait to really build more of an appetite between films. And there will always be the fun of trying to guess who the killer or killers will be. One issue here is that there’s just so much catching up because of the large amount of characters that much of the time I was left wondering exactly who was who and the history. It can be quite tricky. As it stands, there’s enough here to warrant a viewing, but with adjusted expectations. The next film should trim some of the fat and narrow down the characters a bit, so we don’t have to plat catch up as much.
Video: How’s it look?
If you’re going to be in New York and have a maniac dressed in a ghost costume killing everyone – might as well be in 4K, right? Kidding aside, this installment does have a more corporate and/or “industrial” feel to it. Gone are the sun-kissed skies and backdrop of Woodsboro and enter the concrete jungle of NYC. The 2.39:1 HEVC 4K image leaves very little to the imagination due to its razor sharp (sorry, couldn’t resist) detail, excellent contrast and HDR that brings out the lower lows and higher highs of the spectrum. Those familiar with the series know of the graphic nature, though this one seems to turn it up a notch. Suspend your disbelief – it’s not real, but it looks pretty darn amazing.
Audio: How’s it sound?
Dolby Atmos? No complaints here. I’ve always been amazed at how the sound of a knife whisking through the air can make a “shing” sound. Think of the sound of Wolverine’s claws and that’ll serve as a good basis of comparison. Or don’t. Suffice it to say that all the boxes are checked with crisp, clear vocals, an ambiance that (in some scenes) is second to none and the atmopsheric screams and thuds that make up the Scream franchise. I know audiophile’s like to complain about things, but I really found nothing amiss with this uncompressed mix. I was amply satisfied – you will be as well.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Audio Commentary —Hear from the directors, writers, and executive producer as they dive into the making of the new film.
- Death Comes to the City—From Woodsboro to the five boroughs, the filmmakers and cast discuss Ghostface’s reign of terror in the big city.
- The Faces of Death—Join the core four—Melissa Barrera, Jenna Ortega, Jasmin Savoy Brown and Mason Gooding—and the rest of the cast and crew as they discuss their return to the beloved horror franchise.
- More Meta than Meta—Go inside the sequel to the requel with new and legacy characters. Includes a look back at the franchise, hidden easter eggs, and more.
- Bloodbath at a Bodega—Nowhere in New York is safe from Ghostface.
- An Apartment to Die For—Witness the staging of the elaborate apartment attack and ladder escape, as well as the stunts and practical effects used to bring Ghostface’s kills to a whole new level.
- The Night Train to Terror—Immerse yourself in this behind-the-scenes look at the terrifying NYC subway sequence on Halloween night.
- Theater of Blood—Dive into the nostalgia of the Scream movies that came before.
The Bottom Line
I don’t want to be too hard on Scream 6 as I did enjoy it overall. I even recall being much more lenient on the previous entry (which I still prefer), but there are perhaps too many characters here. With the earlier entries I knew them from the get-go and here, there’s just a lot of filling in the gaps. Maybe a second viewing will go down easier. Id’ rank it right in the middle of the films in this series. It doesn’t compete with the first two films, but it stands beside some of the other entries. It’s definitely worth seeing theatrically and with a large audience.