Ghost Face and the traumatised residents of Woodsboro are back again for another blood-soaked outing, this time to the Big Apple!
In the beginning there was Scream (1996). A ground-breaking film that rewrote the slasher rule book and delivered a concise, brilliantly produced film directed by the legendary Wes Craven (Nightmare On Elm Street). With a comparatively small budget of $15million by today’s standards, the first film returned a very healthy box office of $173million.
After three popular sequels, Wes Craven sadly passed away in 2015. The studio then handed the director reins to Matt Bettinelli-Olpin & Tyler Gillett, whose previous directorial outings were, Ready Or Not and The Ice Beneath Her. Although as a nod to the late director, his name continued in Scream (2022) in a touching tribute.
Scream 2022 (Scream V for short) brought a fresh new outlook to the franchise, as well as comparatively new stars, Jenna Ortega of the yet to be Netflix smash Wednesday and the lesser-known Melissa Barrera, as sisters Tara and Sam Carpenter. Injecting some much needed fresh blood into the franchise as the latest characters who continually find themselves at the mercy of Ghost Face; in the sleepy town of Woodsboro where very few seem to get out alive. After the revelations of Scream V, Tara and Sam move to New York and are desperately trying to escape their past that seems to haunt them wherever they go.
Visually, Scream VI is very well produced, and the money is most definitely on the screen. The opening shots which show us Manhattan bridge lit up at night are absolutely stunning, and the large brownstone buildings in themselves make a beautiful backdrop to the opening, imminent darkness. The scale and life is far bigger than before which leads us to believe we are seeing something new… unfortunately, judging by the rest of the film, we really aren’t.
There is however a humour throughout the Scream franchise and indeed this film as the characters themselves refer to their movie franchise within that world, known as ‘Stab’. A franchise that points out the dos and don’ts of how to stay alive in situation like theirs. Like never saying “I’ll be back” or going down to the cellar alone for beer. This does partly elevate the whole experience and at one point we as an audience are watching a character being watched, whilst they themselves are watching a character being watched by yes, Ghost Face. Clever writing that is not easy to pull off.
With a need to carry on the overall arc of past characters to string the whole franchise together including Hayden Panettiere as Detective Kirby Reed from the two previous outings, there were vast differences with Neve Campbell’s well documented salary issues who has left a hole that Courtney Cox was never good enough or strong enough to fill by herself. Having a larger part to play, Courtney shows her weak side with greater screen time that is nowhere near the levels of main stars Jenna Ortega or even the lesser-known Melissa B.
The film carries an 18 certificate that for the blood and gore is entirely appropriate. The deaths are more gruesome and bloody than before, but even though they are in the capable hands of the two main stars, the pattern is too familiar and unfortunately no longer fresh or indeed new.
The jump scares from mirror reflections and the potential antagonist behind every door close no longer have the impact that we look for and indeed expect, and the sole use of knives has elevated the weapons type to another level which diminishes rather than adds to the overall effect.
Is there a want to see the next instalment? Very probably. Will it give us anything new? Highly unlikely.
Author: Piers, Maidstone Store