Scream VI review

Scream VI Review: Ghostface Takes Manhattan

Start spreading the news, he's stabbing today.

Scream VI takes Ghostface and his would-be victims on a stab-filled romp through New York City in the bloodiest and goriest franchise entry to date.

Leaving the comforts of the charmingly quaint Woodsboro, where one has a relatively high chance of being murdered by a mask-wearing serial killer, Scream VI deposits Ghostface in the middle of the Big Apple. Escaping the bloodshed of 2022’s Scream, Sam (Melissa Barrera) and Tara (Jenna Ortega) have moved to NYC to start a new life along with their Woodboro survivor pals, siblings Mindy (Jasmin Savoy Brown) and Chad (Mason Gooding). With persistent internet rumours swirling that Sam committed the killings and framed Richie (Jack Quaid) as the culprit, she now finds herself at the top of the suspect list when a new batch of murders hits the Manhattan streets.

With Courteney Cox’s Gale Weathers the only OG Scream cast member to return in full capacity, there are naturally a lot of new faces in the mix. There’s Mindy’s girlfriend Anika (Devyn Nekoda), Sam and Tara’s roommate Quinn (Liana Liberato) and her dad, Detective Bailey (Dermot Mulroney), and the “core four”‘s new college friend, Danny (Josh Segarra). Last seen in Scream 4, Hayden Panettiere is back as 2011’s Ghostface’s sole-stabbing survivor and horror movie aficionado Kirby Reed, who is now an FBI agent.

To quote the late, great Randy Meeks, “everyone’s a suspect.”


Continuing to earn it’s stripes as the most-meta horror franchise ever, Scream once again reinvents itself here by playing with the tropes of reboots, re-quels, equals, trilogies, and more. Mindy takes a page from Uncle Randy’s book, informing the group that all rules they think they know get tossed out the window at this point in a franchise. Legacy characters are no longer safe and everything you thought you knew is wrong, including the tried-and-tested opening format of the movie.

Despite preaching that there are new rules at play, Scream movies always follow a familiar format. But sophomore Scream directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett should at least get kudos for taking things to a new locale (a la the oft-hilarious Scream 3) and for their attempts to reinvent the famous killer. Scream VI‘s Ghostface is nastier, meaner, and more brutal than we have ever seen before. This iteration doesn’t hold back when it comes to the unbelievably gory kills, making it the most vicious and bloody entry in the series. But is it scary? Previous entries have created truly scary moments of tension peppered with jump scares but not so here.

The directing duo seems to have gained more confidence in their storytelling the second time around too, firmly placing their “core four” characters at the centre of the story. Audiences are given time to become invested, allowing the group to be seen as something more than just the next murder victim. But in devoting more time to the quartet, they are forced to confine fan-favourites Panettiere and Cox to the sidelines for most of the film’s running time.

As fun as a 27-year-old franchise can be, Scream VI isn’t perfect. There are some messy subplots, like Sam’s attempts to suppress the visions and desires of her dad—original Ghostface Billy Loomis (in another de-aged cameo by Skeet Ulrich)—who pops up to tell her she should follow in his masked footsteps and murder people.


Overall, the story kicks off on an incredibly high note before becoming a bit tiresome. As Scream fans, we’ve seen this all before. As a whodunnit, Scream VI doesn’t work either. Despite red herrings and attempts to address the obvious, all the story does is highlight its obviousness. But maybe that’s okay, too, because the real point here seems to see just how many corpses are going to pile up when Ghostface is given new venues to kill in. Like a dark city alley! Or the subway! Or a bodega!

Also weak is Mulroney’s Detective Bailey, whose line delivery elicited laughs from the theatre audience on more than one occasion. Perhaps the most confusing aspect of the film is the hair and wardrobe styling of Panettiere’s Kirby, whose blonde bob makes her look like she’s playing a 55-year-old cop on a low-rent 1990s episode of Law & Order.

Scream VI certainly won’t win over any new fans to the franchise, but there is still plenty of fun to be had for OG admirers. As someone who has been on board with Scream since the beginning and has weathered the ups and downs of the horror franchise, this new edition delivered an entertaining enough experience.

Scream VI is now in cinemas.