‘Scream 6’: another stab at success

Poster courtesy of Paramount Pictured

Poster courtesy of Paramount Pictured

Alexandra Eydenberg, Online Editor

Coming back for a sixth round, Ghostface is back and gorier than ever. Since 1996, viewers have followed the terror of Ghostface and the murderers behind the masks from Billy Loomis to Richie Kirsch. The newest edition to the franchise, “Scream 6”, has hit the theaters. While highly skeptical at first, the movie held this reviewer’s interest and turned out to be much better than expected. .

“Scream 6”  continues the story of half-sisters, Sam (Melissa Barrera) and Tara (Jenna Ortega) Carpenter, as their horrific misfortunes follow them to the Big Apple. After Sam’s run-in with her murderer ex-boyfriend in “Scream 5”, she follows her little sister to college.  This is a callback to “Scream 2” where Ghostface haunts Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) at her own college.  Tara, who appeared as a minor character in “Scream 5”, is given a whole new spotlight as one of the leading ladies. 

Despite constant reminders of the film’s location in the trailer and poster, the sets are limited to the college campus of Blackstone University and subsequent dorms and streets, the abandoned movie theater, one nightclub, the convenience store, and the infamous subway scene. No skyline shots or monuments differ the set from any other urban city. This is good since the film was shot in Montreal instead of New York. 

Hot off her “Wednesday” fame, Ortega’s performance is both passionate and nuanced. Her understanding of Tara’s desire to simply move on from the events in “Scream 5” creates a unique dynamic between the sisters. 

The “Scream” franchise thrives off the audience’s anticipation of the killer’s identity (or identities in multiple cases), but in the opening scene of “Scream 6”, the killer is revealed immediately after his first murder. While it works as a shock to the viewers, it is merely a juke tactic. This man was not the actual killer and would meet the same fate just a few scenes later. 

In typical “Scream” fashion, the movie uses multiple characters behind the Ghostface mask. A clique started by Billy and Stu in the original “Scream 6” tips the cap to their founders. One neat touch for the super fans, is that each killer in “Scream 6” wears the masks of their favorite Ghostface killer. In one scene, one killer even employed the same stabbing method used by Stu in “Scream.” 

The only returning cast member from the “Scream 1-5” is the iconic Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox). She carries on in the franchise as a fan-favored classic and hints of nostalgia for the earlier films. For the first time in franchise history, leading lady Campbell did  not made an appearance in the latest edition citing , “the offer made by Paramount/Spyglass Media ‘did not equate to the value’ she brought to the franchise,” said Ayomikun Adekaiyero and Libby Torres for Insider Journal. 

Prior to the movie’s release, controversy sparked regarding the ratings of the movie. While all the “Scream” movies are notorious for stabbing as the preferred method of murder, “Scream 6” takes more than enough unflinching camera shots of graphic knife work. 

In one particular scene, a main character is stabbed in the stomach by Ghostface. Rather than simply stab once, the camera pans to a close up of the knife twisting about her insides as she screams bloody murder (literally). Beyond that, images of dismembered bodies, mutilated faces and excessive gore riddle the entire movie; truly not a film for the squeamish types. 

Typically, franchise editions pale in comparison to earlier ones, but in the case of “Scream 6”, the script plays into and acknowledges their tropes and cliques. For example, Mindy, one of the primary characters, sets a scene in which she guesses and explains why each member in the group is or isn’t responsible for the previous murders of two film students. 

“Scream” has come to embrace its formula and still manage to leave audiences in shock. It adds just enough novelty to each story line, but always makes its way back to its utilitarian roots in one way or another.  

However, one nuance of the film is the novelty stab scenes. In other movies, stabs taking place within a home or apartment are common. To up the ante, the subway scene works to scare the audience: even in a crowded subway, Ghostface can still get you. The use of a shotgun from Ghostface hightenes the caliber of “Scream” in relation to other, gorier, horror counterparts. But, as a franchise built to poke fun at popular horror movies, “Scream” is beginning to fall into the same category as the films they mocked so openly. 

 Because of the films’ relation to “Stab”, a movie produced within the “Scream” universe, the cast is able to remain meta in regards to their situation. Characters remain aware of their similarities to earlier slasher films and still manage to fool the audience in regards to the killers’ identities until the very end. They constantly call out the tropes used in the Slasher drama, a Scream series staple. 

For those looking for a thrill from an iconic horror movie franchise, “Scream 6” fits the bill.