6 Reasons Why ‘Scream VI’ Looks Like the Most Brutal Film in the Franchise

All signs point to Scream VI being the most brutal Scream yet. Here’s why.

Scream VI (2023) is undoubtedly going to shake up the series.
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Scream VI is easily one of the most anticipated movies of the year. Scream (2022) reintroduced fans to the series with a new story that felt familiar in the best ways. It served as the starting point for a new era of Scream. That era continues in Scream VI, a movie that promises to shake up the franchise.

Similar to how the survivors of Scream (1996) left the confines of Woodsboro for the sequel, Scream VI sees survivors Sam, Tara, Mindy, and Chad travel to New York City. The body count in Scream 2 was higher than in Scream (1996), so will Scream VI follow that trend? Will it be even more brutal? All signs point towards “yes.” Provided here are six reasons why Scream VI looks like it will be the most brutal yet.

As a disclaimer, we have not seen Scream VI yet and know nothing about the plot other than what the trailers show. The following sections are merely speculation from a fellow fan of the series. Do, however, be aware that this article contains major spoilers for every Scream movie released prior to Scream VI, so if you’re not caught up, proceed carefully.

1. Because New York City Changes Everything

Graffiti of Ghostface seen in the trailer for Scream VI (2023).
Has the legend of Ghostface infected New York City?

“New York, New Rules” isn’t just a clever catchphrase, it’s a reality for the characters in Scream VI. The survivors from Scream (2022), Sam (Melissa Barrera), Tara (Jenna Ortega), Mindy (Jasmin Savoy Brown), and Chad (Mason Gooding), are from a relatively small town. Woodsboro is usually a quiet, some might even say sleepy, place to live (except for its periodic serial killings). New York is the city that never sleeps. In many ways, New York is the opposite of Woodsboro. For people who grew up in a small town, a city like New York, one of the biggest cities in the world, can be overwhelming even without Ghostface.

Of course, not every previous Scream takes place in Woodsboro, but New York is different from Ohio (Scream 2) and Hollywood (Scream 3). In a city of millions, Ghostface can be anywhere. They can be in the shadows of any number of dark alleyways twisting off of New York’s seemingly endless streets. They can be behind the door of any of New York’s towering skyscrapers. Horror movies set in New York City tend to be exceedingly tense and gritty. Scream is built on using and commenting on horror tropes, so you can expect Scream VI to elevate the tension more than ever before in the series. For this reason, New York is the perfect location to breathe new life into the Scream franchise.

2. Because Ghostface is Fearless

Ghostface stalks our heroes in a subway car in Scream VI (2023).
New York is one of the most populous cities in the world, but isolation in a big city, even when surrounded by people, is a real fear.

The initial teaser trailer for Scream VI shows us a scene in which Sam, Tara, Mindy, Chad, and newcomer Danny (Josh Segarra) are in a crowded New York subway car when they spot multiple people in Ghostface costumes. As the lights go off and on, Ghostface creeps in closer. The teaser ends with Ghostface grabbing Mindy and pushing her against the wall. Everything we’ve seen of Scream VI so far leads us to believe Ghostface has no fear of crowds or witnesses.

The subway teaser and the attack on Sam and Tara in the bodega we see in the official trailer mean that Ghostface is unafraid of killing people anywhere, and at any time. There is no safety in numbers anymore. In most slasher movies, including the Scream films, stalking and isolating is a big part of a slasher’s operating procedure. A few broad-daylight kills occur in the Scream franchise (e.g. Randy Meeks and Judy Hicks), but those still took place in relatively isolated locations. Plus, they were combined with significant distractions to keep other people away. Now, Ghostface may come directly at their targets no matter where they are or who they’re with. That is a terrifying new development.

3. Because a Survivor May be Ghostface

Melissa Barrera as Sam Carpenter in Scream VI (2023).
Killing is in Sam’s blood.

Sam, Tara, Gale (Courteney Cox), Kirby (Hayden Panettiere), Chad, and Mindy are all returning for Scream VI. That is the highest number of returning survivors in a single Scream sequel ever. With nearly every movie having two killers, the math alone makes it a higher probability that one of the returners will be back with murder on their mind. Having a survivor turn into a killer for the first time in the series would make for an emotionally brutal reveal at the end of the movie. And when you think about it, each of the survivors has a strong motive for donning the Ghostface mask.

What if Mindy, remembering that her uncle Randy died in the second round of Ghostface killings, decides to become a killer herself out of fear for her life? What if Chad is also scared that he’s next on the list, and he decides to do the same? What if Gale is pushed over the edge after Dewey’s death (or maybe she just needs more material for a new book)? What if Kirby, now an FBI agent, has actually been training to get away with murder after her own near-death experience.

Jenna Ortega in Scream VI (2023).
Tara appears to smirk in one of the trailers. If she is indeed smiling, what does that mean?

Also, Scream (2022) establishes that Sam has a dark side. She is the daughter of Billy Loomis, and we see her violent tendencies come out when she repeatedly stabs Richie (even wiping blood from the knife in the style of Ghostface). Maybe Sam gives in to her darker impulses. If that’s the case, then maybe Tara now looks up to her big sister Sam and wants to be like her. Could we see the first Ghostface siblings? Having two killers bonded by blood would be brutal..

4. Because There is a Ghostface Shrine

The shrine seen in Scream VI (2023).
Items (souvenirs?) from every Scream movie can be seen in this shrine.

Someone, or a group of people, are clearly obsessed with Ghostface in Scream VI. In the trailer, we see what is described as a “shrine.” Among the collection we see in this morbid trophy room are items nobody should have. Tatum’s outfit, Billy’s bloody shirt, even a prop from Sidney’s play at Windsor College, and much more. In a place of prominence is every Ghostface costume from each of the previous nine killers.

Who could possibly have access to all of these items, many of which would surely have been in the possession of law enforcement? Other items are so obscure that whoever collected them must have detailed knowledge of the Ghostface killings. Or maybe more than one person contributed to the shrine. We don’t know, and that means the characters in the movie don’t know either.

What we do know is that the shrine also points to a love of nostalgia. The most recent Scream movies tend to focus on current horror trends at the time of the film’s release, and nostalgia is big business in the film industry as a whole right now. The Scream movies, and the in-universe Stab movies, are nostalgic to many people. Is nostalgia killing popular cinema? It’s a debatable point, but a point that Scream VI could turn into literal murder.

5. Because Stu Macher Might Be Behind it All

One of the Ghostface masks in the Scream VI trailers looks old and cracked. Could that be Stu in his original mask?

An Easter egg in Scream (2022) hints that Stu Macher (Matthew Lillard) might still be alive. If that’s the case, then it’s entirely possible that he’s been planning revenge for decades. Scream (2022) also points out that requels (and presumably sequels to requels) always go back to the beginning. In Scream 3 we found out that Sidney’s half-brother Roman Bridger (Scott Foley) is the person who technically started all the killings when he secretly convinced Billy to kill Sidney’s mother. If the new Scream movies are echoing the originals, someone may play a similar role to Roman, orchestrating everything from the beginning. What if that someone is Stu Macher?

There is already a connection to Stu in Scream (2022). Amber lives in Stu’s former house, and she subsequently became obsessed with the Stab movies. That could be a coincidence, but what if it isn’t? Stu could be in hiding somewhere, lurking in the Stab subreddit and waiting for someone just like Amber. What if Stu is actually the person who told Amber that Sam is Billy’s daughter, despite Amber saying her mother accidentally told her? What if Stu is secretly leading a Ghostface cult? Stu is the most chaotic of all the killers in the franchise, so if he is the mastermind behind this new set of killings, then anything is possible.

Or what if this is all an elaborate plan to recruit Sam to his side, thus keeping Ghostface “in the family.” Think about it. Stu finds Amber and Richie online, two obsessed fans who are easily led. Billy was able to convince Stu to help him commit multiple murders, so maybe Stu did the same with Amber and Richie. But his plan wasn’t to kill Sam, it was to test her. Stu knows Amber and Richie probably aren’t going to do a great job, and in fact, they did leave many of their attacks unfinished. Stu’s real idea was to get Sam to embrace her killer instinct. What if Scream VI is the culmination of that plan?

6. Because Jenna Ortega Says So

Jenna Ortega in Scream VI (2023).
Jenna Ortega loves horror movies. So if she says Scream VI is the most brutal, we believe her.

Jenna Ortega has spoken about Scream VI a few times, and she repeatedly mentions how violent and gory the movie is. To quote Ortega from an interview with ET, “I think that this is probably the most aggressive and violent version of Ghostface we’ve ever seen.” To continue, she talks about how “action-heavy and so gore-heavy” Scream VI is. For context, Scream (2022) has many brutal moments with Sam’s stabbing and shooting of Richie being one of the most violent. If Scream VI ups the blood and violence even more (like sequels often do), then it will be the most brutal film in the franchise.

You also have to consider the format of the Scream movies. Though they pay tribute to the past, they also comment on the state of horror movies at the time each movie is released. In the year since Scream (2022) came out, popular horror has trended towards becoming more violent and bloody. While mainstream horror might not be in a full splatter-movie renaissance yet, films from 2022 like The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Terrifier 2, Halloween Ends, Bones and All, X, and Pearl all let the blood flow freely. If you look at the past work of directors Matt Bettinelli-Oplin and Tyler Gillett, you’ll see that they don’t shy away from the red stuff either. Just look at the gore-soaked ending of Ready or Not (2019).

The cast of Scream VI (2023).
Scream sequels always reveal surprising new family connections and relationships. What surprises does Scream VI have in store?

Half the fun of a Scream movie is trying to figure out what’s going to happen next. So even if most of the ideas listed here about what might happen are not even close, it’s all in good fun. Reason #6 is surely the most solid reason why Scream VI is going to be a wild ride though. Jenna Ortega says Scream VI is brutal, so it is brutal.

We can’t wait to see how it all plays out on the big screen, and the time is almost here. Scream VI releases in theaters on March 10, 2023. You can check movie times and get tickets right now at screammovie.com. While you wait, visit Creepy Catalog’s new Scream Hub where we’ve collected our ongoing coverage of Scream VI and the entire Scream franchise.

Meet The Author

Chris has a degree in film studies at Temple University’s campus in Tokyo, Japan. He is a renowned expert on horror cinema.