Paramount Pictures and Spyglass Media Group
Scream VI

USA, 2023, Directors: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin & Tyler Gillett, 122 minutes

Release Date March 10, 2023

Reviewer John Jane

Even if you haven’t seen any of the previous reiterations of this slasher film franchise, you might still recognize the all too familiar “Ghostface” motif borrowed from Norwegian artist Edvard Munch’s 1893 painting The Scream. The agonized face in the painting has become one of the most iconic images of art, symbolizing anxiety of the human condition. Munch’s painting isn’t the only influence to inspire the “Scream” collective. Original screenwriter Kevin Williamson took inspiration from the story of serial killer Danny Rolling's exploits, when he was known as the Gainesville Ripper.

Neve Campbell as primary protagonist Sidney Prescott has not returned for this sixth installment, but the good news is that Jenna Ortega, recently seen as Wednesday Addams in the new Netflix series, delivers a nuanced performance as Tara Carpenter. Courteney Cox is back again in more of a cameo role, reprising her character of investigative journalist Gale Weathers.

The technical elements of the franchise have improved since the 1996 original film, along with major advances in cinematography. Scream V and Scream VI, both directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, have high production qualities, even if the storytelling is formatted.

The film uses every theatrical device in the book, including parodying itself as well as other films in the same genre. Just in case potential patrons wander in the wrong theatre, we see three brutal murders in the first five minutes – two of which are pretty graphic. Filmgoers are constantly being deliberately led down false avenues right up until the end. Movie patrons paying to see this film will know what to expect and no doubt will leave satisfied.

Scream VI has all the thrills and spills of an Amusement Park ride, but like many of those exhilarating rides, we’re pleased when it’s over.

© 2023 John Jane