Scream VI (2023)

‘Scream VI’ movie review: Ghostface takes Manhattan in best Scream sequel yet

Ghostface shows up in the Big Apple to start a new killing spree in Scream VI, which opens in Prague cinemas from Thursday. Slick, bloody, and tense, with a fun guess-the-killer narrative, this was already a satisfying sequel — but some unexpectedly deep thematic material makes this the best in the franchise since the the 1996 original.

More than previous films in the series, Scream VI wants to really get inside the mind of the killer: not the ones who put on the Ghostface mask, but those that truly have murder in their heart. For a franchise that has inspired real-life killings, this one goes in some dark directions, and asks both its characters and also its audience if they are sated by all the bloodshed.

A Scream-standard opening phone call sequence featuring Samara Weaving and Tony Revolori nicely sets up the film’s central motif, before completely pulling back the curtain by unmasking the Ghostface killer. But Scream VI has more surprises in store before it gets to the featured narrative.

That focuses on the last film‘s protagonist, Sam Carpenter (Melissa Barrera), who has moved from Woodsboro to Manhattan along with her sister Tara (Jenna Ortega) and twins Chad (Mason Gooding) and Mindy Meeks-Martin (Jasmin Savoy Brown), the other survivors of last year’s bloodbath.

Sam opens the film by confessing to her therapist (Henry Czerny) that she isn’t haunted so much by the massacre in Woodsboro as she is by the darkness that lurks within herself: that after violently disposing of the last film’s killer, she might have enjoyed it a little too much.

Tara and her friends, meanwhile, just want to enjoy college life, along with a new cast of characters that includes Chad’s roommate Ethan (Jack Champion), Mindy’s girlfriend Anika (Devyn Nekoda), Sam and Tara’s roommate Quinn (Liana Liberato), and Danny (Josh Segarra), the hot guy next door who Sam has secretly been seeing.

And then there’s Scream standby Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox), who has written another book about the most recent massacre, Quinn’s dad and NYPD detective Bailey (Dermot Mulroney), and Kirby Reed (Hayden Panettiere), protagonist of Scream 4 who has since become an FBI agent.

You’d never guess it, but Ghostface has also moved to New York. And one (or more) of these characters is the killer. The plotting of the Scream films has always been slasher-meets-Scooby Doo (or Agatha Christie, if you’re charitable), and Scream VI follows suit. The finale delivers a genuine surprise or two, but the mystery isn’t something the audience would have been able to figure out without the help of the killer unmasking themselves and delivering a five-minute monologue explaining their plan.

But that’s not what makes Scream VI special: this one works better than others as it turns to the horrors internal. As Sam examines her feelings of bloodlust, the film asks us to examine our own: should we be rooting for these sick killers to die gruesome deaths? Or is it just perpetuating a cycle of violence that will only lead to Scream 7?

Directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett delivered an unexpectedly satisfying return to the Scream franchise with last year’s “requel”, and this full-fledged sequel improves on their previous film in almost every way while still adhering to the strict formula established by previous films in the franchise.

The move to New York adds some freshness to the proceedings, but the Big Apple itself is woefully underutilized; this Scream could have taken place in any major metropolis. Unlike the last half hour of Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Take Manhattan, the mean streets of New York atmosphere is lacking here; this isn’t Scorcese’s Scream VI.

Still, a pair of standout sequences add some flair: a NYC bodega shootout that ends with Ghostface wielding a shotgun (completely spoiled in the film’s trailer), and a excruciatingly tense Halloween night New York City subway ride, with half of the riders in Ghostface masks.

While Scream VI doesn’t reinvent the series, it’s an especially well-crafted sequel that will tickle fans of the franchise and might even convert some new ones. This one explores similar subject matter as the underrated Halloween Ends in a much more audience-friendly fashion, and winds up as one of the best films in the franchise.


Jason Pirodsky

Jason Pirodsky

Jason Pirodsky has been writing about the Prague film scene and reviewing films in print and online media since 2005. A member of the Online Film Critics Society, you can also catch his musings on life in Prague at and tips on mindfulness sourced from ancient principles at

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