Updated: Mar 8
Branded movies in the horror genre have been given the opportunity to work their way up to franchise-level fan favorites if there's enough momentum behind them, and the ongoing Scream saga has proven that even with six films - with the seventh on the way - that there's still a magnetism held over the horror fanbase. Slashers have been one form of horror subgenre that threatens to spread too thin when spanning across different mediums while being beaten down by its own tropes in the process of attempting to stay relevant. Scream VI's arrival may feel redundant, considering how self-contained past Scream movies have been, but the newcomer insists that the Scream universe is here to stay.
It's natural to have pessimistic or jaded expectations when weighing the inconsistency of the Scream sextuplet so far, knowing that the balance of quality is not always met with quality. The franchise's growth has also doubled as a means for it to softly reboot itself by introducing new key players - and Ghostface killers - who drive the core narrative forward. Scream may not be the most bone-chilling horror, but its tongue-in-cheek humor and consistent self-referring tone that have slashed a signature style across the series. Unfortunately, this self-reliance to engage an audience struggles to hold up the weight of its own expectations while trying to please its audience. Even with bloodier, more brutal kills, Scream VI must remind itself that its sixth romp may be its tipping point.
Surprises may not be surprises anymore when Scream VI tries to outwit its audience, the horror aspect is leveled up in an attempt to go toe-to-toe with other competitors in the horror genre fighting when wanting to stand out among the endless sea of scares. Scream VI lacks the bite and sharpness found in earlier installations in the series that gave it its initial edge, but the leap into New York City breathes new energy into its latest chapter. Even if Scream VI identifies as a sequel to a requel, it doesn't shed that sheer sense of suspense that looms over the saga.
Scream VI hopes to keep the post-modern thrill of Scream alive while propping itself up on nostalgia, and while doesn't achieve the perfection that Scream fans long for as each title lifts hopes - or squanders them - it's a strong contender for being one of the most memorable title among the mix, thanks to its unique playing field and well-chosen cast. It hits expectations while defying logic that conveniently excuses itself from horror movies while delivering more of what horror devotees can expect: the same. Scream VI is half-baked and set as a transition for more Scream in the future, without leaving audiences screaming for more. It's a middling take on a time-old cat-and-mouse chase, salvaged by strong staging and impressive shots. Longtime fans of the franchise will be pleased by Scream VI's offering, yet it still struggles to be the breakthrough for the saga that it was hoped to be.
I scream, you scream, we all scream for Scream to do something new with the endless creativity that it hasn't touched yet. Scream VI slices off bits of its own past to stand upon and stabs into the familiarities of its own cinematic history. In the meantime, gore and giggles are enough for this entertaining, serviceable slasher. 6/10.