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  • Writer's pictureMr. Pat

Scream VI

We're here! It's finally here! Welcome to another Mr. Pat's 31 Days of Halloween! In case you missed my earlier announcement, my computer died on me and I don't have access to my editing software so this year I won't be able to do any video reviews. I humbly apologize! With that said, let's kick off my last day of vacation and year 13 by starting off much like I did last year with...

Scream VI (2023)

In case you don't remember, I started last year's Mr. Pat's 31 Days of Halloween with the latest in the Scream franchise, so I figured why not start this October with the newest installment?

As I sit here, I realize I don't know where I stand with this series. I'm still upset they killed off Dewey, even more upset they had the audacity to lowball Neve Campbell (good for her for rightfully turning them down) and outside of Sam, I just don't care about these new characters. Still, I'm going to watch each one and I'm intrigued because while the formula is as stale as three-month-old bread, they make just enough to the formula to keep the interest there.

The change to this formula this time is taking Ghostface to the big city! New York City! Well... Montreal, but it kinda looks like New York City! They even include an Easter egg about Jason Takes Manhattan and in an interview, the directors made a joke about it not being on a boat, which yeah OK. Jason Takes Manhattan was also shot in Canada, but unlike the owners of this glass house, Jason Takes Manhattan actually had shots in New York City, but I digress...

The movie also does something different during its opening scene. The previous one broke the mold by having the character survive, and this one surprises me by having Ghostface reveal himself after the murder. It's a really interesting twist to the formula and I was immediately intrigued. Turns out, there's another Ghostface out there who doesn't want these two college students taking their shot at Sam and Tara before they can, It's a cool opening sequence that makes you forget how the victim had to be really stupid to fall into their trap. The killer points out how stupid she was, so that makes it OK. Nah, bad writing doesn't get hand-waved away just because you bring attention to it.

From there, the movie follows all the same beats as the other ones. There are stalkings, phone calls, brutal killings, close calls, fake outs, paranoia and attempted comic relief all leading up to a bloody showdown where we get an exposition dump to wrap up why the killer (or is it killers?) are doing what he/she (or is it they're?) doing. I realized while watching the movie I'm extra critical of Scream movies and I think I know why. The first Scream was revolutionary. It made horror cool again and did it by being meta and clever. It explained and then played out for you the rules of horror movies. The first movie was smart and the smart characters survived for the most part. As the series went along it got even more meta (Jay and Silent Bob?) and still pretended to be smart, but it wasn't anymore. Its attempts at being clever aren't clever anymore because we, the audience, already know what they're trying to beat us over the head with and it loses its effect the sixth time you do it.

This movie, and to a lesser extent, the last one tries so hard to be like the original. It includes more horror movie references than you can shake a stick at and constantly has characters monologuing about horror rules in general and what these new killings mean for our new intrepid band of heroes. I have to say, the new Randy is insufferable. Once people they know start getting murdered and they realize a murderer is coming for them, she stands in front of the group and goes over the rules like it's opening night for a Broadway show. Several of her friends were murdered the last time this happened, her twin was stabbed and left for dead, but she is over the moon this is happening again. It's off-putting how excited she is going over the rules of a re-quel franchise series. It worked in the first two movies because Randy didn't have much going on for himself in the original series. He was a geek and awkward, and when he was going over the rules in the first one, he was already a few beers deep and there was also a tinge of fear in his ravings. On the other hand, this girl is excited about the possibility of her and her friends' murders. Much like the rest of the movies, she's not as clever or cool a character as the filmmakers think she is.

That brings me to my next point, try as I might, outside of Sam, I can't get into this new cast. The movie tries hard to make you forget about the series regulars and get behind these guys. They come up with the name "Core Four" and repeat it so many times in the hopes that you'll believe it too. It's a problem because none of them, outside of Sam, are interesting. Their chemistry is nothing compared to the original group, despite the filmmakers trying to force the issue. They poisoned the well and now they're trying to tell you this cloudy glass of water is just as good.

It did bring back Courtney Cox's Gale Weathers but it was in the silliest way imaginable. She shows up out of the blue to ask a loaded question after a perp walk and then gets punched in the face for it. It's another, "Hey, remember when that happened!" moment that happens a lot in this movie. It also brings back Kirby from Scream IV as an FBI agent who just pops up in an office out of nowhere. I don't know, it had a lot of potential but for some reason, almost none of it clicked for me.

Before I go on, I need to get into some other things that bugged me, and there will be some light spoilers here, I will not say who the killer (or is it killers?) is/are, but I'll talk about other things. OK, Mindy went on a whole diatribe, and even Ghostface goes on a tangent about how in a franchise no one is safe and legacy characters can die. Well, no one of importance dies. I'm fine with that, but if you're going to hype it up so much, do something! Especially when they did four different fakeouts where you think a main character died but ends up surviving. One of them involves a person getting stabbed around 15 times. I understand that in real life the human body is incredibly resilient and people have survived worse, but with the position this character was in, there is absolutely no way Ghostface missed anything vital unless it was the plan, which judging by the circumstances, I doubt it. There are only so many times in one movie where you think a character is dead only for them to come back at the end. It loses its punch when it keeps happening right after another. Another thing that bugs me, and this happens a lot, is people having Ghostface on the ground and vulnerable, and instead of pressing their advantage, they run away. It's quickly becoming my most hated trope.

There were things I enjoyed. Sam is by far the best character outside of the original cast and she continues to be interesting in ways that even those original characters weren't. She's central to the story despite being an outsider in the "Core Four." She's also the only one who acts like a human would in the face of a serial killer being after them. She's also dealing with the visions of her father, Billy Loomis (the killer in the first movie) and I'm intrigued to see where they go with her in the future. There have been many movies that tried to set up the protagonist to be the killer in the next installment but it never happens because it's almost always a bad idea. I think this is the rare case where Sam could be an awesome Ghostface. Even so, I don't want that to happen because she's a cool character in ways none of the "Core Four" are.

One last thing, I'm glad Gale Weathers came back. She's the last link to the original cast and she gets better with every movie she's in. One thing the movie pointed out that I didn't realize, this was the first time that Ghostface and Gale spoke on the phone. The scene where he's stalking her in the apartment and the subsequent chase and fight scene is probably the best part of the movie.

I take it back, this is the last thing. The identity of the killer (or killers) is lame. For one, seeing them as normal people throughout the entire movie and then watching them practically growling and snarling like rabid dogs at the end is just silly. Every Scream does that and it's goofy. Do they think we can only accept a person who would become Ghostface if they go over the top and start devouring the scenery? It seems like outside of Billy and Stu, everyone turns into a cartoon character once the mask comes off.

As I said earlier, I think I'm more critical of this series because it likes to act like it's still the smartest movie in the room despite showing a lack of evidence of it since the 90s. It has cool ideas, some interesting developments and plenty of callbacks to make you feel nostalgic. So how do I rate it? That's kind of hard. It's better than four, that's for sure. It's not as good as five and two. It's probably better than three but not even close to the original. It's solid, but not much more than that.

6 Dr. Chainsaws!

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