‘Scream VI’ is a cut above the rest

Featured Image: Mel Lhuillier

“Scream VI” sees directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett return after directing the fifth “Scream” film, released in 2022. Unlike the previous film, which was set in Woodsboro, the town from the original “Scream” (1996), this film relocates the action to New York City. In setting the film in New York, “Scream VI” delivers larger setpieces and more intense chases as this film’s Ghostface hunts the leads throughout the city.

Leading the cast is Melissa Barrera’s Sam Carpenter, who was introduced in the previous film. While the character’s portrayal was a controversial element in the previous film, Sam is a standout in “Scream VI,” thanks to both the character being given a stronger storyline, as well as due to the strength of Barrera’s performance. Sam is joined by her sister, Tara, played by Jenna Ortega. Ortega gives a great performance, as her character struggles with both Sam’s need to protect her, and the challenges of moving on from the prior film’s events.

Jasmin Savoy Brown and Mason Gooding also return from the previous film with larger roles as brother and sister duo, Mindy and Chad Meeks-Martin, respectively. Both actors give likable, compelling performances and provide much of the comedic tone that the “Scream” franchise is known to incorporate. Particularly, Brown’s Mindy once again plays the role of the horror movie expert, who uses her knowledge to provide a meta-commentary on franchise tropes as the film’s characters attempt to discover who Ghostface is.

The returning cast from “Scream” (2022) are joined by Courteney Cox’s Gale Weathers, who has been featured in all of the franchise’s entries. Cox’s Gale is once again a welcome presence, and one of the highlights of the film. This is due to both Cox giving another great performance, as well as having potentially the best chase scene in the franchise yet.

Cox’s Gale is not the only “legacy” character to return, however, as Hayden Panettiere returns as Kirby Reed from “Scream 4” (2011). Panettiere’s performance as Kirby is another highlight of the film, as she maintains the humor and charm that made her character a fan-favorite, while also giving the character more of an edge in response to how she was changed by her previous near-death experience.

Other particularly noteworthy members of the cast are new additions, Dermot Mulroney as Detective Wayne Bailey, Jack Champion as Ethan Landry, Liana Liberato as Quinn Bailey, Devyn Nekoda as Anika Kayoko and Josh Segarra as Danny Brackett. Despite the film focusing on these characters less, each actor gives a memorable performance that rounds out the film’s cast with a robust selection of potential suspects and victims.

“Scream VI” is the most intense entry in the franchise yet, due to both the location change to NYC and the high frequency of chases and attacks throughout. This intensity is complemented by Roger L. Jackson, once again providing the chilling voice of Ghostface. The film also features strong visuals throughout, thanks to cinematographer Brett Jutkiewicz. Overall, “Scream VI” is easily the best “Scream” since the original 1996 film.

By Ryan Abraham