Review: ‘Scream VI’ slashes the Big Apple

Zachariah Rush, Opinions Writer

‘Scream VI’ movie poster.

The “Scream” franchise is one of the longest-running horror franchises in film history. Unlike other classic horror franchises such as “Friday the 13th,” where most of its entries are self-contained, “Scream” has continued the same story across six films with the same core cast for nearly 30 years. 

“Scream VI” is the second film in the franchise under the leadership of the Radio Silence collective, directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, with producer Chad Villella.  

Radio Silence was chosen to lead the franchise’s revival after the exit of writer Kevin Williamson and the death of the director Wes Craven who crafted the first four films. The Radio Silence team are big fans of Craven’s work, and their passion for honoring one of his greatest works was prominent in the fifth film.  

Bettinelli-Olpin told Filmmaker Magazine, “We never lost sight of the fact that this movie had to do justice not just to Scream as a franchise, but to Wes Craven as well. If it does not do that, then we have failed.” 

Craven is one of my favorite directors of all time, so I am pleased that the “Scream” franchise is now under the direction of people that care about his work. With Radio Silence’s success with their first entry in the “Scream” saga, it solidified “Scream VI” as one of my most anticipated films of 2023. 

My anticipation for “Scream VI” was awarded upon my first watch of the film, and that sentiment has been expressed in audiences and critics alike.  

The film received a 92% audience score and a 77% critic score from the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. 

“Scream VI” is a fantastic entry into the “Scream” franchise that is faithful to the meta storytelling that made the series famous, while successfully modernizing it for today’s audiences. 

The film is the first in the series outside of the fictional town of Woodsboro, with the surviving characters of the fifth film moving to New York City.  

Radio Silence’s decision to move the story to the largest city in the United States opened several opportunities for innovative chase sequences. 

Every film in the “Scream” franchise begins with an opening kill that preludes the title card, so crafting a scene that feels new and fresh while being faithful to the format can be challenging. 

The opening kill in “Scream VI” is one of the best I have seen in the franchise’s history. The scene takes full advantage of the New York City setting to successfully honor the structure of the series while being something that “Scream” fans have never seen before. 

“Scream VI” is elevated by the performances of Jenna Ortega and Melissa Barrera, who return after their introduction to the franchise in the fifth film. The Carpenter sisters are recovering from the trauma they endured in Woodsboro, but the different paths of treatment they take allow the actors to flex their talent in several brilliant scenes.  

Ortega’s star power has exponentially increased since the fifth film with her performance in “Wednesday,” and this was expressed in the film’s opening week box office numbers.  

According to Variety Magazine, “Scream VI” amassed $44.5 million over its first weekend. 

My only negative opinion for “Scream VI” comes from the absence of the franchise’s most famous character-Sidney Prescott, played by Neve Campbell. Campbell decided not to join the film after Paramount Pictures refused to pay her what she believed she was worth. 

“Scream VI” is a fantastic movie, and I recommend that fans of horror films go out and see it during its theatrical run. It is rare for a film that is the sixth entry in a franchise to be as good of a time as “Scream VI” is, so run to the box office to get your tickets.