Scream VI: Ghostface Will Keep You On Knife’s Edge

What sets apart Scream VI from this never ending list of slashers is a true commitment to the basics of the genre while also being so damn electrifying and creative.

When you receive a call from an unknown number that asks, What’s your favorite scary movie?, and that person on the call can see your moves, I think it’s your time to be stabbed.The sixth installment in the Scream franchise isn’t here to play dull. At a time when sequels are mostly lack-luster, money-grabbing machines, Scream VI is here to make you scream at its violent, adrenaline filled chase sequences, absolutely brilliant use of legacy as a trope, and a definitive, vicious return to form for the series.

Scream VI is the sixth installment in the scream franchise which was started by Wes Craven in the late 90s. A mix of slasher genre, black comedy, and “whodunit” mystery, it sets itself apart when it toys around playfully with the general tropes of slashers, sequels, or film franchises. Sections of the film deal with not trusting anyone, never being alone, and other rules to avoid being killed if you’re in a slasher movie. The star power of returning actors along with Jenna Ortega only adds to its glory. Though Neve Campbell’s Sidney Prescott is dearly missed (the actor didn’t return over a pay dispute as she wasn’t being paid a fair offer).

If you’ve been following the social media coverage of the highly anticipated horror film, the marketing strategy has been remarkable. There has been coverage of Ghostface randomly appearing in cities, the sightings leading to distressing 911 calls, stabbing enthusiast Ghostface being a diva on Twitter, a series of marvelous posters to support the movie with captions like “the killer is on the poster,” a scream themed stabby meal at a restaurant, and of course a website to receive a personalized phone call from none other than Ghostface.

Campy, Adrenaline Charged, And Intense

Last year, Scream (2022) made amazing use of how movies find fans, especially horror movies, and how the Stab movie franchise in the movie universe led to a series of murders dubbed “Woodsboro Legacy Murders”. The meta narrative and satirization of cliches is definitely a smart move but it works best when it becomes actually exhilarating. As an audience, there are moments in the film when you’re absolutely terrified of Ghostface. There are scenes of blood and gore in the chase sequences delivering an edge of seat experience.

This is crucial because we all know that people will die in a slasher movie but the kill count, the ways people are getting brutally slashed, and the story arcs makes the audience root for the characters. There are plenty of moments where you’ll hear the audience gasping at what they’re seeing on screen. And curating this tense environment is a testament to effective horror movie skills.

As a horror fan, Scream VI also makes the most of its campy undertones. The plot follows the sister duo of Sam and Tara Carpenter as they struggle with yet another life threat as Ghostface is back (no surprises there). Sam and Tara are joined by their friends Mindy and Chad form the new “core four”.

Legacy Roars Through Suspense And Smart Thrills

Wes Craven has undeniably made a great impact on the horror genre by being at the helm of movies that still remain a cultural juggernaut. And it’s no easy feat to follow up on his work with direct sequels and make it even better. In 2018, Halloween was released as the direct sequel to the 1978 slasher of the same name, and while Halloween was absolutely thrilling, the other two sequels that followed were lackluster. Scream VI almost lived in the same territory as last year’s Scream was a direct sequel to 1996’s Scream. Naturally, this follow up to a more than two decades old cult classic had a lot of expectations to deliver and it nerve-wracking delivers on it.

Not only it keeps the trend of satirizing the cliches of slasher genre explosive than ever through its meta commentary, it deftly ties in all the characters that have been a part of the previous movies, and also does it in a way that the characters are not disposable. The story is centered around Sam Carpenter, the daughter of the serial killer Billy Loomis, Ghostface in the first scream and it’s a riveting approach to utilizing the legacy of horror movies but what makes it effective is it’s fast pacing, gripping storyline, and plenty of heart-stopping kills. It only helps that Sam is dealing with rumors about being labeled as the true Ghostface, carrying the legacy of her notorious father Billy Loomis.

Compelling, Inventive Set Pieces

In a time when horror movies are trying to be more inventive and creative, mostly situating themselves around the themes of social commentary (a welcome change for our times), it’s always good to go back to good old fashion slashers. We have had movies like Smile, M3GAN, X, Freaky, and Pearl in the past few years,, some of which follow the tropes of a usual slasher and others give it an exciting new twist.

What sets apart Scream VI from this never ending list of slashers is a true commitment to the basics of the genre while also being so damn electrifying and creative. If you have been following scream movies, you know that there’s an opening scene, some chases and murders, ending with a killer reveal. Scream VI has all these aspects. There’s no subversion of expectations, instead, it’s just more dense, more thrilling, and more bloody.

Supported with a positive word of mouth, the movie became the no. 1 film worldwide earning a $67 million weekend opening, which is a record setting feat for the Scream franchise. Rotten Tomatoes’ consolidated review for the movie reads, “Certain aspects of horror’s most murderously meta franchise may be going stale, but a change of setting and some inventive set pieces help keep Scream VI reasonably sharp,” with an audience score of 94%.

With Scream VI, the emotional stakes are at an all time high as the “core four” escape their way through the murderous rage of Ghostface. The chase sequences are set in small, closed spaces, making it a gripping experience to watch while we root for the characters as they traverse blood and legacy in New York City.

Scream VI was released on 10th March, 2023 and is playing in theaters near you.

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Rajeev completed their under graduation in Political Science Hons. from Sri Venkateswara College, University of Delhi in 2020. They graduated with Masters in Women’s Studies from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai in 2022 and were a participant at the International Writing Program’s Summer Institute, University of Iowa for the 2021-22 session. They have been the recipient of Mavelinadu Collective’s grant for non-fiction for the first issue of Debrahminising Gender. Their work can be found in EPW, Women’s Link Journal, Shuddhashar, Gaysi Family, Feminism in India and Hindu College Gazette among others. Their research interests include queer experiences, feminist ethics of care, and masculinities.

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