Scream VI (2023) is slashing its way through the box office, and has already grossed $83 million worldwide so far. But it has also sliced the fanbase right down the middle, with many critics saying the same thing — “Scream VI is great… until it isn’t.”
While it’s the first film in the series not to feature Neve Campbell as final girl Sidney Prescott, her absence isn’t one of its many problems. Though far from a disaster (it’s still a wildly entertaining slasher), there are some really stupid moments in Scream VI…
WARNING: There are HUGE spoilers ahead for Scream VI from the get-go!
1. There Are Too Many Ghostfaces In Scream VI
Scream VI‘s cold-opener (emphasis on the “cold”) sees film professor Laura Crane (Samara Weaving) brutally slain in a dark New York alleyway by a Ghostface killer, who, for the first time in Scream history, reveals their identity to the audience immediately!
Though a bold and admirable move, Ghostface Jason Carvey (Tony Revolori) quickly meets the wrong end of a knife himself (as does his partner, whose body parts are already in the refrigerator), when an even newer Ghostface decides to claim Manhattan as their territory.
During the third act, it’s revealed that the new Ghostface is actually one third of a new trio of killers. While many are praising the film for breaking a Scream record by having so many killers, being a first in this area too also doesn’t give the film a free pass.
In fact, the end reveal is so terribly underwhelming (we’ll get to that a bit later), that it makes us wonder whether the film should have followed Jason instead, a risk we think would have paid off. Instead, on closer inspection Scream VI plays things surprisingly safe.
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2. The Meta Commentary Doesn’t Work
Scream (1996) was the first film to cast a lens over all the slashers of old, taking their many tropes and clichés and turning them into “rules”. As such, in every Scream film, there’s a scene in which a character explains the “new rules”, while also giving us the film’s “angle”.
In Scream, Randy Meeks (Jamie Kennedy) discusses the rules of successfully surviving a slasher-horror movie; in Scream 2 (1997), he discusses the rules of a “sequel”; and in Scream 3 (2000), he posthumously lays out the rules of a “trilogy” on a VHS tape.
Beyond the original trilogy, however, Scream struggles to present these rules through natural conversation. While Scream VI offers plenty of meta commentary on fan theories, it mostly takes the “requel-sequel” angle, which isn’t really even a thing.
And worst of all, Mindy Meeks (Jasmin Savoy Brown), while a great character and wonderful addition to the “Core Four”, delivers these so-called “rules” in such a contrived and unnatural way that you’ll want to hide behind your hands for all the wrong reasons.
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3. The Third-Act Ghostface Reveal Is Forgettable
Before we dive in, let it be said that not every past Ghostface killer has been all that memorable. Scream (1996) raised the bar from the get-go, with the deeply psychotic Billy Loomis (Skeet Ulrich) and “Looney Tune” sidekick Stu Macher (Matthew Lillard).
Scream 2 (1997) gave us the best duo to date, with revenge-hungry Debbie Loomis (Laurie Metcalf) and her “recruit” Mickey Altieri (Timothy Olyphant). A great Ghostface is usually the perfect combination of performance, motive, and the surprise of the reveal itself.
Beyond those first two films, though, the quality of Ghostface killers is mostly inconsistent, with the exception of the wonderfully insane Jill Roberts (Emma Roberts) in Scream 4 (2011). But Scream VI‘s reveal is the most underwhelming for many reasons.
We learn that detective Wayne Bailey (Dermot Mulroney), Quinn Bailey (Liana Liberato), and Ethan Landry (Jack Champion) are the new Ghostface killers — father, sister, and brother to Richie Kirsch (Jack Quaid), one of the killers in Scream (2022).
Not only is each reveal completely underwhelming, the fact that they all share the same motive means they sort of cancel each other out. Their shared motive is also something we’ve seen with Scream 2‘s Debbie Loomis. Now it just feels like an afterthought.
The explanation behind Richie’s obsession with the Stab franchise also makes very little sense (apparently his father Wayne “encouraged” his obsession, which just sounds so weird and unbelievable). And then there are the performances themselves.
With the exception of Quinn, the other two killers, Wayne and Ethan, really ham it up and then some. In a way, it feels like Stu Macher has become the “Joker” of the franchise — which new Ghostface can top his craziness and give the most unhinged performance?
Related: Every Ghostface Killer In the ‘Scream’ Movies Ranked
4. Ghostface’s Shrine Makes ZERO Sense
The idea of a Ghostface “shrine” has a ton of appeal, and when it first appeared in the trailers, it spoke to the possibility of there being a “cult” of Ghostface killers, which was one of many fan theories doing the rounds at the time.
We didn’t actually expect the “memorabilia” on display in this abandoned movie theater to be authentic, however, all the costumes and knives and clothing and photographs are the real thing; scores of evidence from all previous five Scream films.
It’s revealed that Richie Kirsch, one of the two Ghostface killers in Scream (2022) and avid Stab fanatic, collected all these items over the years. While his crooked cop (and Ghostface killer) father Wayne admits to having helped him, it still just feels way too far-fetched.
But the worst thing about the shrine is the fact that Scream 4 survivor Kirby Reed (Hayden Panettiere), now an FBI agent and “expert” on all the past killings, knew nothing about Richie’s family, or the fact that he acquired police evidence from three different districts!
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5. Scream VI‘s Characters Are Invincible
You might be able to forgive all the many flaws in Scream VI, but there’s one that isn’t so easy to overlook. It’s usually the killer(s) in these sorts of movies who’s seemingly unstoppable, but Scream VI takes “plot armor” to a whole new level where its heroes are concerned.
This term applies to characters who are untouchable, and may even end up surviving some serious damage. Scream is no stranger to this, and if you look at how many knife wounds Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) alone has sustained over the years, you’d be surprised.
In Scream VI, despite the fact that Mindy Meeks points out that no one is safe from the rules of a “franchise” (whatever that even means), every single main character in this film who winds up being brutally attacked is seemingly invincible.
Let’s start with Mindy herself, who’s stabbed in the gut twice while riding the New York Subway — she’s cracking jokes just seconds later. Gale Weathers gets a shard of glass to the stomach, and, of course, survives. But worst of all, Mindy’s brother Chad Meeks (Mason Gooding) is stabbed multiple times all over his body by two Ghostfaces, in what could have been the most unforgettable death in the entire franchise. But later, he’s making out with Tara Carpenter (Jenna Ortega) as he’s being hauled into the back of an ambulance…
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Check out the official Scream VI trailer below:
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As per Wikipedia, here’s the official synopsis for Scream VI:
The film continues with the survivors of the latest Ghostface killings, sisters Samantha and Tara Carpenter and twins Chad and Mindy Meeks, leaving Woodsboro behind and starting a new chapter of their lives in New York City only to again be plagued by a streak of murders by a new Ghostface killer.
Scream VI stars Jenna Ortega (Tara Carpenter), Melissa Barrera (Sam Carpenter), Jasmin Savoy Brown (Mindy Meeks), Mason Gooding (Chad Meeks), Courteney Cox (Gale Weathers), Hayden Panettiere (Kirby Reed), Roger L Jackson (the voice of Ghostface), Dermot Mulroney (Wayne Bailey), Henry Czerny (Christopher Stone), Tony Revolori (Jason Carvey), Jack Champion (Ethan Landry), Devyn Nekoda (Anika Kayoko), Liana Liberato (Quinn Bailey), Josh Segarra (Danny Brackett), Samara Weaving (Laura Crane) and Skeet Ulrich (Billy Loomis).
What do you think of Scream VI? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!