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  • Writer's pictureRob Freese

Scream VI (2023)

Have I really been watching the same Scream movie over and over again for 27 years. Why, yes. Yes I have.

Scream is the slasher nerd franchise that combines all the best parts about slasher movies and delivers knife-thrills with a great cast and a hefty budget. Most know the first four films were directed by Wes Craven. Fans of the first two felt the third was the weakest, then four felt a little flat some ten years later. The franchise was resurrected in 2022 by directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, the guys behind the wonderfully entertaining Ready or Not (2019). I don't remember much about it, only that it elevated my feelings for Part 4.

Now we have Scream VI. Of course, Scream VI.

I won't get into the plot specifics. If you've seen at least one other Scream movie, you know the plot of Scream VI. That's not a bad thing. Heck, I go to McDonalds because I know a Big Mac is going to taste the same no mater what McDonalds I go to. I expect the same from my film franchises.

This time, the action has moved to the mean streets of New York City. (Well... Montreal, Canada.) Characters I barely remembered from Part 5 are being preyed upon by a new Ghost Face who is using the actual masks from all the other Ghost Face killings, going all the way back to '96.

Nifty idea, and it works.

This time it takes place on Halloween. That's a slam dunk. Who doesn't like Halloween set slasher movies? There is a nice tip of the hat to Friday the 13th Part 8: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989), just so us slasher nerds are assured that Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillett know their slasher cinema history. One harrowing attack on the subway is populated with every slasher and horror character known to fandom, from Babadok to Pinhead, with plenty of hockey and William Shatner masks to spare.

Scream VI runs over two hours long, which is easily thirty minutes longer than it needed, but it never drags. It keeps moving, like the killer's blade. (Holy shit these Scream movies have gotten vicious with the stabbings!)

This one moves up just behind Scream 3 for me, which I really liked but a lot of fans didn't. One nice bonus was the poster, which does better recalling the grand old slasher one-sheets of yesteryear than any other modern slasher movie one-sheet. (Technically, the original Scream was the beginning of the end for those classic posters. The new modern slasher one-sheet lined the cast up and they never worked for me.)

The only point where Scream VI completely fails and falls flat (pun intended) is in its 3-D presentation. I love 3-D slasher movies. I can watch them all day. (And I have!) I very much get the feeling that 3-D was just tacked on to the film, that it was never shot with the intention of 3-D. There are no "gimmick" shots, no real knives coming out of the screen at you. It is at its best when our survivors are fleeing one apartment to another, on a rickety ladder connecting the buildings. The depth in the scene is amazing. Also, some shots in the haunted theater museum fully use the gimmick, but I expected more stuff coming out of the screen at me. (Friday the 13th Part 3 3-D, Silent Madness 3-D and My Bloody Valentine 3D it is not!)

One thing I've noticed, in 27 years movie goers have become tight asses. Part of the joy of Scream in 1996 was sitting in a theater where people were really screaming, laughing and having a good time. By Scream VI, I think I was the only one reacting to the film. Everyone else was quite as little church mice. What the hell happened to people? You don't get thrown out of the movies now for reacting to them, do you? It was weird.

Evidently there is a post credit sequence that we did not know to stay for, so if you see it in theaters (and you should) stick around to the end. (Once the theater lights came up, I didn't think anything more of it. That was sort of a cheat.)

Final assessment: Scream VI doesn't redefine the genre like the original did, but it is a good time for anyone who enjoys slasher flicks.

For slasher fans, check out It Came From Hollywood Book 2: Salute to Slashers. From the the birth of the slasher genre to the 2022 surprise slasher hit Terrifier 2, It Came From Hollywood Book 2: Salute to Slashers delivers the goods! Packed with interviews, reviews, soundtracks and novelizations, it's is a treasure trove for fans of the old hack 'n slash! Available now!

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