San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

Review: ‘Scream VI’ will leave audiences screaming for more

What’s your favorite scary movie? This year, it might be the newest in the “Scream” franchise: a bloody, witty horror adventure set in none other than the Big Apple
Photo Courtesy of Paramount Pictures
A teaser poster of “Scream VI.”

*A Spoiler Free Review*

A phone call, a slash and a scream – that is the foundation of one of the most famous horror slasher franchises of the modern age, “Scream.” Scream prides itself on its self-aware wit and gut-wrenching fear, but does it always hit the mark? 

“Scream VI” does. With Melissa Barrera and Jenna Ortega as the new leading women, “Scream VI” is a terrifying sight to behold and takes viewers in a whole new direction with fresh faces and an iconic change of scenery taking place in New York City. 

Tyler Gillet and Matt Bettinelli-Olpin’s latest installment in the classic franchise, which first broke box office records in 1996, takes on Manhattan and weaves city life with a killer that just can’t let go. 

The film stars up-and-comingers Jasmin Savoy (Mindy), Jack Champion (Ethan), Mason Gooding (Chad), Dermot Mulrooney (Detective Bailey) and Devyn Nakota (Anika). 

Ortega and Barrera lead as Tara and Sam, troubled sisters trying to escape the horrors of Woodsboro by moving to New York City, joined by their friends from home, Mindy and Chad, as well as a set of new friends. Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox) the iconic journalist of the original Scream and Kirby Reed (Hayden Panettiere) of “Scream 4,” are some of the few legacy characters to return.

Many nods to past movies are made, although it’s clear that “Scream” is passing the baton to a new cast.

The visibly diverse cast breathes life into the story: with Latina leading sisters, an Asian love interest, and a Black lesbian, Ghostface does not discriminate when it comes to their targets. The moments of family bonding and romance building bring a human side to the story and flaunt the cast’s great chemistry. 

The only qualm with such a wide cast is that with so many new characters, it’s hard to be invested in each one. However, it doesn’t take long for the main four characters to steal hearts and keep viewers rooting for them.

The real success of the change of scenery from small-town Woodsboro to sprawling NYC is the creative situations that the characters get themselves into with Ghostface. 

In the trailer, you may have seen Ortega and Barrera running through a New York bodega. In another scene, Savoy makes awkward eye contact with Ghostface in a subway full of other Ghostfaces. 

By bringing the mundane city locations to horror, the real fear is that the killer could be anywhere and anyone. Ditch the creepy houses or the lonely countryside; this killer could be right behind you on your daily commute. 

Another enduring aspect of what makes “Scream” scary is that the killer is always someone the characters know. 

In the new installment, fresh characters also bring fresh suspects. You don’t know who to trust, and your guesses for who the killer could be will change faster than the characters can run. The kills are some of the best in recent slasher films and are perfectly executed (no pun intended). 

The opening act is a personal favorite: a horror masterpiece in itself. Jaws everywhere are sure to drop from the very start.

For those who are watching for Ortega, the film industry’s new favorite scream queen, her performance will not disappoint.

Down to earth and quick with a comeback, she becomes someone viewers can trust, despite juggling her complicated relationship with her sister and friends and the threat of Ghostface’s attacks. Ortega’s Tara is wonderfully played and grows in character exponentially to become a clear fan favorite.

“I think this is probably the most aggressive and violent version of Ghostface that we’ve ever seen, and I think it’s going to be a lot of fun to shoot,” Ortega told Entertainment Today.

Ghostface does not hold back in this new installment, and be ready for them to do anything in their power to get what they want. 

Despite wearing the same static mask as before, every move conveys so much emotion, and it’s paired with intensely loud sound effects during tense scenes. 

The audience will be sure to jump when Ghostface hits the big screen. Tension is expertly crafted in every scene as characters and viewers alike are clueless as to what Ghostface will do next. The cast encapsulates pure fear perfectly, with certain touches like black mascara tears running down faces or desperate window escapes. 

As the first character to be introduced says, horror movies “reflect the culture of the moment and the tropes of the time.” The culture of the moment is clearly reflected in “Scream VI” as calls from Ghostface on your iPhone are very real possibilities. 

Additionally, the movie has countless easter eggs to pay homage to previous horror films.

In the street and subway scenes, look out for hidden shoutouts to recent iconic horror movies, such as Ari Aster’s “Midsommar” and Jordan Peele’s “Us.” These references are made in the Halloween costumes extras are walking around in.

“Scream” is well aware of its new audience and in many ways appeals to the young viewer. I mean, Jenna Ortega goes to a frat party within the first hour! 

The new characters, modern setting and fresh dialogue makes “Scream” seem less like a thing of the past and brings what made the franchise so fresh on its first release: self awareness. The film’s meta writing remains so aware of the time and expected horror movie tropes while employing the same tactics and symbolism used in every movie prior. The terrifying phone call, for instance. What would “Scream” be without cell service?

“Scream VI” is a successful continuation of a beloved movie franchise, intelligently blending wit, horror expertise and fresh faces to strike fear in a new generation. The film manages to be scary while weaving in current pop culture. It’s not afraid to bring the tension to keep viewers at the edge of their seats. While the new setting and characters may feel overwhelming, their chemistry and witty banter keeps viewers invested. 

And if you’re wondering, it’s “Scream,” so of course, there’s going to be a twist. If you think you know who Ghostface is, you don’t. 

About the Contributor
Katerina Portela
Katerina Portela, Staff Writer
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San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913
Review: ‘Scream VI’ will leave audiences screaming for more