‘Scream VI’ Explained: Themes Explored, Ghostface Reveals, & Body Count
Scream VI delivers on its promise of being a brutal and fun sequel. This article answers any questions you might have about the plot, the characters, the themes, and more.
Table of Contents
What is Scream VI About?
Scream VI is a direct sequel to Scream (2022, aka Scream 5), and it is the sixth overall entry in the Scream franchise. Following the events of Scream (2022), Sam, Tara, Mindy, and Chad move to New York City. Tara, Mindy, and Chad all attend the same school, Blackmore University. As Scream VI begins, they have been in New York for about six months.
Early in the movie, a murder occurs that links to Sam and to past Ghostface killings. Sam wants to flee the city, but because of her connection to the new murder, she isn’t allowed to leave New York. The attacks and murders continue, and the new Ghostface continues to focus on Sam while leaving the masks of past Ghostface killers at the scenes of the crimes. With their lives once again in danger, the “core four” survivors rely on each other to try to stop Ghostface. They are aided in their struggles by Ghostface survivor Kirby Reed (now an FBI agent), multiple-time Ghostface survivor Gale Weathers, and New York police detective Wayne Bailey.
Scream VI Ending Explained
The final act occurs in a Ghostface shrine built inside an old movie theater. The plan is for Sam, Tara, Chad, Mindy, and Kirby to lure Ghostface into the theater where they will lock him in a man-trap double door that can only be opened with a key card. The plan begins to fall apart when Mindy gets separated from the group while trying to get onto a crowded subway car. Scream VI takes place near Halloween, so there are multiple people dressed as Ghostface in the subway. In the crowd, the real Ghostface approaches Mindy, stabbing her in the stomach. So, Mindy is not able to join the rest of the group at the theater.
Sam, Tara, and Chad are unaware of what happened to Mindy as they arrive at the theater. They enter the theater where Kirby has prepared their trap for Ghostface. As the group wanders apart to prepare themselves for the arrival of the killer, Sam receives a phone call. It’s detective Bailey, and he tells Sam that Kirby was fired from the FBI weeks ago for mental instability. So did Sam, Tara, and Chad trap themselves in the theater with Ghostface Kirby?
Sam rushes to Tara and Chad to tell them what she’s learned, but Ghostface attacks. Chad fights back, but a second Ghostface arrives. Chad is stabbed multiple times, sacrificing himself to save Tara and Sam. Back in the main theater area, Kirby shows up with blood on her head. She says she was knocked out, but Sam and Tara are wary of her. The two Ghostfaces arrive, and Detective Wayne Bailey shows up next. Wayne reveals himself to be the mastermind behind the current series of murders. Beside Wayne, the two Ghostfaces reveal themselves to be Sam’s roommate Quinn and Chad’s roommate Ethan.
So why did they do it? “Bailey” is not Wayne’s real last name. His last name is Kirsch, and he is the father of Richie Kirsch, one of the killers from Scream (2022). Quinn and Ethan are also Wayne’s children, and Richie was their brother. So, similar to how Billy Loomis’s mother Nancy wanted revenge for the death of her son in Scream 2, Wayne and his family want revenge for the death of Richie.
It is explained that Wayne helped Richie build the Ghostface shrine thanks to his position as a police officer. Wayne has no real love for Ghostface or for horror movies, but he does love his son. That is why he became Ghostface himself.
It is also revealed that Quinn is responsible for spreading lies online about Sam being the person truly responsible for the Ghostface killings of 2022. Quinn was thought to be dead earlier in Scream VI, but Wayne reveals that her cut throat was a makeup effect, and he was able to switch her body with someone else’s at the crime scene. As for Ethan, he seems like he’s just along for the ride.
In the final battle, Kirby is injured while Sam and Tara fight for their lives. Tara stabs Ethan with a knife (Billy’s knife, actually), and Sam shoots Quinn in the head. After that, Sam, wearing Billy’s Ghostface costume, brutally stabs Wayne to death. Ethan isn’t quite dead yet, but Kirby pushes a TV over, crushing Ethan’s head. Outside, Kirby and Chad are attended to by paramedics. They will both survive, as will Mindy and Gale (who was attacked prior to the finale). So, all six returning survivors live through Scream VI. Before the credits roll, Sam stares at Billy’s Ghostface mask. She drops the mask in the street and walks away with Tara. The exact meaning of this final shot likely won’t be revealed until the inevitable Scream VII. Perhaps Sam is finally leaving her dark past behind, or maybe she is embracing the killer inside on her own terms.
The Themes of Scream VI
Vilifying the Victim
This is a multi-layered theme that involves Sam. In Scream VI, Sam is dealing with the trauma of the 2022 Ghostface murders, but she is also dealing with a conspiracy theory spread online. The theory states that Richie was innocent, and Sam is responsible for killing Richie and framing him for the murders seen in Scream (2022). The overpowering weight of being seen as a bad person causes Sam to close herself off from most interactions with other people.
Sam just wants to get away from it all, but there is nowhere to go in situations like hers. The accusations will follow her, and people can be quick to believe what they want to believe despite evidence to the contrary. This touches on related real-life issues of modern times like victim blaming and cancel culture.
Unfortunately, Sam demonstrates a similar type of behavior late in Scream VI when she immediately believes Detective Bailey’s lies about Kirby being fired from the FBI. Sam’s life was in danger and she didn’t have time to think about it, so it’s understandable, but the instinctual reaction was still there. By the end of the movie, when Sam drops the Ghostface mask in the street, she seems to learn that she may not be able to control what others think about her, but she can control what kind of person she is. By surviving along with the core four, Sam also understands that she is loved and supported by the people who mean the most to her.
Dealing with Trauma and Learning to Let Go
Sisters Sam and Tara show two very different ways of dealing with traumatic experiences. Sam is in therapy, but she is guarded with her emotions. Her past is also causing her to be intensely protective of Tara. Tara, on the other hand, is not actively dealing with her trauma at all. Tara is making poor decisions towards the beginning of Scream VI, and she just wants to forget about what happened in Woodsboro.
Their different methods of dealing with their issues cause Sam and Tara to be at odds during parts of Scream VI. While there is no one way to deal with (or live with) trauma, Sam and Tara appear to come to a better understanding of each other’s path by the end of the movie. Sam learns that Tara isn’t helpless (like when she literally lets Tara go during the final battle), and Tara acknowledges that she needs help before she can move forward (by saying she’ll go to therapy). Showing Sam and Tara walk away together with Billy’s Ghostface mask in the street behind them is a wonderful metaphor for their journey up to this point in the franchise.
Sequels to Requels
The Scream franchise is well-known for its meta commentary about horror movies. Previous movies have openly discussed the rules of slashers, sequels, trilogies, remakes, and requels (or legacy sequel). The movie commentary in Scream VI may not feel as prominent as in past installments, but that understandable. As a sequel to a requel released just over a year after the previous movie, Scream VI doesn’t have a lot of new material to cover. That is probably what led to having only one major scene where Mindy attempts to explain the rules of requel sequels. Basically, she says there are no rules.
There aren’t a whole lot of sequels to requels in cinema, let alone in horror. We can, however, see how the plot of Scream VI may be helping to shape the tropes of the requel sequel. Much like Halloween Kills echoes parts of Halloween II (1981), Scream VI echoes Scream 2. From the Ghostface reveal involving the parent of the previous killer, to part of the finale taking place on a stage, to the out-of-state college setting, and even to some of the attacks, Scream VI feels a lot like Scream 2.
Mindy mentions Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the sequel Star Wars: The Force Awakens which many people consider to be a requel. Her point is that legacy characters aren’t safe in these types of movies. Both of the legacy characters in Scream VI, Kirby and Gale, are attacked. Both of them ultimately survive, but that’s the great thing about Scream. As long as the movie recognizes that a trope exists, it doesn’t have to follow through on it. In fact, recognizing tropes and then subverting them is kind of a Scream trope itself.
So even though the dialogue in the movie isn’t very heavy on meta-movie commentary, the structure of the movie itself is the commentary. The franchise has lasted so long and has been so influential that even referencing itself could still be considered commenting on popular horror at large. It’s an interesting spot for the Scream movies to be in. What happens if there is a Scream 7? Do they go The Rise of Skywalker route and hinder themselves by trying to please everyone? Do they do like Creed III and try something quite different? Do they pull a Halloween Ends and make something that feels largely disconnected from what came before? There aren’t many requel trilogies to look at, so any new Scream sequel may break completely new ground.
The Cast & Characters of Scream VI
Melissa Barrera as Sam Carpenter
After surviving the Ghostface murders of 2022, Sam Carpenter moved to New York City with her sister Tara and their friends Mindy and Chad. Sam is struggling mentally with the trauma of the attacks in Woodsboro, and it has led her to be overprotective of Tara. Also, online conspiracy theories ran with the idea that Sam is the person who committed the Ghostface murders in 2022, and that she framed Richie for the crimes. This has all led to Sam being very guarded with her life, even among her family and friends.
Jenna Ortega as Tara Carpenter
Since we last saw her, Tara moved to New York City to attend college. Tara is choosing to deal with the trauma of her near-death experiences by not actively dealing with it at all. Tara has a growing resentment for what she perceives as her sister Sam’s overbearing presence in her life. She knows Sam’s heart is in the right place, but she can’t help but feel smothered. She also doesn’t want Ghostface to define her life. Tara says she just wants to move on, but she can’t move on without dealing with her past.
Jasmin Savoy Brown as Mindy Meeks-Martin
Mindy, the niece of the original Scream horror nerd Randy Meeks, attends Blackmore University in New York City with her brother Chad and her friend Tara. Mindy seems almost excited when the new Ghostface murders happen, because she now has a second chance to show off her horror knowledge by deducing who the killer is. Mindy’s apparent excitement may be a cover for her fear and paranoia though.
Mason Gooding as Chad Meeks-Martin
Like Mindy and Tara, Chad also attends Blackmore University. Chad has grown closer to Tara since we last saw him in Scream (2022), and he is quick to defend her. Chad is also quick to anger when he perceives that someone is threatening his closest friends and family (aka “the core four”).
Courteney Cox as Gale Weathers
Gale Weathers lives in New York City where she is a TV show host, author, and investigative journalist. In Scream VI she initially attempts to cover the story of the new Ghostface murders, but she quickly decides to join Sam and the other survivors in hunting for the new Ghostface.
Hayden Panettiere as Kirby Reed
After her appearance and apparent death in Scream 4, horror-movie expert Kirby Reed became a fan-favorite character. Then, in Scream (2022), Kirby’s survival was confirmed in an Easter egg. Kirby is back in-person in Scream VI, and she is an FBI agent. After learning about the Ghostface killings, Kirby travels to New York to help with the investigation.
Roger L. Jackson as the voice of Ghostface
In Scream VI, Roger L. Jackson once again plays the menacing voice of Ghostface. Along with Courteney Cox, Roger L. Jackson is the only actor to participate in every Scream movie.
Skeet Ulrich as Billy Loomis
Like in Scream (2022), Skeet Ulrich reprises his role as Billy Loomis, one of the original Ghostface killers and the father of Sam Carpenter. Sam is still struggling with her mental health and the fact that she is the daughter of a serial killer, and the return of Ghostface causes Sam to see Billy in visions. Billy urges Sam to embrace her dark side and indulge in her affinity for killing.
Dermot Mulroney as Detective Wayne Bailey
Wayne Bailey is a detective in the NYPD. He is also the father of Sam’s roommate Quinn. When it is determined that Sam is somehow tied to the initial Ghostface murders in New York City, Wayne takes the case since his daughter is so close to Sam. As the movie progresses, Wayne becomes more personally involved in solving the murders.
- Josh Segarra as Danny Brackett – Danny is Sam’s love interest, though Sam initially keeps their relationship a secret from everyone.
- Liana Liberato as Quinn Bailey – Quinn is roommates with Sam and Tara. She is, in her own words, sex positive, and she attends Blackmore University.
- Devyn Nekoda as Anika Kayoko – Anika is Mindy’s girlfriend, and she attends Blackmore University.
- Samara Weaving as Laura Crane – Laura Crane is a film professor at Blackmore University who teaches a class on slasher movies.
- Tony Revolori as Jason Carvey – Jason is a student of Laura Crane’s at Blackmore. He knows Tara and Sam, but he is not a close friend of theirs.
- Jack Champion as Ethan Landry – Ethan is Chad’s roommate at Blackmore. He is quiet and shy, and he is on the outskirts of Tara, Mindy, and Chad’s friend group.
- Henry Czerny as Dr. Christopher Stone – Dr. Stone is Sam’s therapist, and he is unnerved after learning about Sam’s past.
Who is Ghostface in Scream VI?
Jason Carvey: Scream VI continues its tradition of iconic opening kill sequences with the character of Laura Crane being killed by Ghostface. In a twist, Ghostface takes off his mask after the deed, revealing himself to be Jason. After going to his apartment, a phone call reveals that Jason and his friend Greg are aspiring to take the mantle of Ghostface. However, Jason is a Ghostface, but he is not the Ghostface. The phone call Jason receives is from one of the main Ghostfaces in Scream VI, and Jason doesn’t make it out of the opening sequence of the movie alive. His friend Greg is also dead (beheaded and stuffed in a refrigerator), but Greg didn’t kill anyone, so he never officially became a Ghostface.
Wayne Bailey: Wayne, the detective assigned to the New York Ghostface murders, is revealed to be the father of Richie Kirsch. Wayne works with his children Quinn and Ethan to orchestrate the current Ghostface murders to avenge Richie’s death. While it isn’t always clear which killer is under the mask for a specific murder, Wayne appears to be the strongest of the killers in Scream VI. He is also fairly smart, wisely sowing mistrust between Kirby and the rest of his potential victims during the final showdown.
Quinn Bailey: Sam’s roommate Quinn is the daughter of Wayne Bailey and sister of the deceased Richie Kirsch. Of the three main Ghostfaces in Scream VI, Quinn is probably ranked second just because the majority of the people she presumably tries to kill (Gale, Mindy, and Chad) end up surviving.
Ethan Landry: Like his father Wayne and sister Quinn, Ethan uses a fake name and works his way into the outskirts of the core four. Ethan has to be ranked last among his family of killers since it’s not clear that he actually kills anyone despite his attempts.
Scream VI Body Count
- 1. Laura Crane – Stabbed to death by Ghostface (Jason Carvey).
- 2. Greg – Killed off screen by Ghostface, beheaded, and stuffed inside a refrigerator.
- 3. Jason Carvey – Stabbed to death by Ghostface.
- 4. Bodega shopper #1 – Presumed dead after stabbed in the abdomen by Ghostface.
- 5. Bodega shopper #2 – Presumed dead after stabbed in the neck by Ghostface.
- 6. Bodega clerk – Shot and killed by Ghostface.
- 7. Dr. Christopher Stone – Stabbed in the eye by Ghostface.
- 8. Quinn’s friend – Found in a bathtub after being murdered off screen by Ghostface.
- 9. Anika Kayoko – Sliced in the abdomen and falls to her death from a ladder that Ghostface pushes.
- 10. Brooks (Gale’s boyfriend) – Stabbed to death by Ghostface.
- 11. Quinn Bailey – Shot in the head by Sam.
- 12. Wayne Bailey – Stabbed to death by Sam (while wearing a Ghostface costume).
- 13. Ethan Landry – Stabbed by Tara, finished off by Kirby with a television to the head (the same TV that killed Stu Macher).
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a post credit scene in Scream VI?
Is Scream VI available on Netflix?
Why is Scream VI rated R?
How gory is Scream VI?
Is Neve Campbell in Scream VI?
Is Sidney Prescott in Scream VI?
Who is the main character in Scream VI?
Where was Scream VI filmed?
The bodega where Ghostface attacks Sam and Tara (Abe Snake’s Bodega) is a convenience store called Dépanneur St.Ambroise. The college Tara and her friends attend (Blackmore University) is McGill University. The Ghostface shrine is located inside a music venue called Le National.
Which survivors appear in Scream VI?
Is Scream 5 connected to Scream 6?
Who is the guy Sam keeps seeing in Scream?
Is there a Scream TV series?
Has there ever been a Ghostface killer in real life?
In 1998, teenage cousins Mario Padilla and Samuel Ramirez stabbed to death Padilla’s mother, Gina Castillo. Though references to Scream were forbidden in court proceedings, the killers spoke about their unfulfilled plan to buy Ghostface costumes and voice-changers to terrorize and murder classmates.
In 1999 in North Yorkshire, England, 13-year-old boy Ashley Murray was stabbed multiple times and left for dead by two teens, Daniel Gill and Robert Fuller, after they had watched a Scream movie.
In 2001 in Belgium, 24-year-old Thierry Jaradin murdered 15-year-old Alisson Cambier, stabbing the girl to death while wearing a Ghostface costume. The Guardian reported that Jaradin spoke about being “motivated” by the Scream movies.
In 2002 in France, a 17-year-old boy identified only as Julien murdered 15-year-old Alice Beaupèr while wearing a Ghostface mask.
In 2006 in the United States, Cassie Jo Stoddart was stabbed to death by high-school classmates Brian Lee Draper and Torey Michael Adamcik. The killers later boasted about their crime as being “just like Scream.“
Scream VI Review (Non-Spoiler)
Scream VI continues the story of sisters Sam and Tara Carpenter, and it does so in a highly entertaining fashion. The gore is increased from the previous film, the chase sequences are intense upon a first watch, and the story feels like a natural progression from what came before. It is a very good slasher movie, and for fans of the Scream movies, it’s great to have confirmation that their beloved slasher franchise is in good hands with directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett.
What Scream VI succeeds best at is giving audiences exactly what they expect while occasionally adding a twist. The opening sequence of the movie is a perfect example. The Scream movies always begin with a Ghostface attack. Scream VI is no exception, but it’s the sixth time we’ve seen one of these sequences. How do you keep it fresh? Scream VI does so with its surprise reveal and near-instant reversal. The opening scenes assure the audience that we’re in for classic Scream goodness, but we should also get ready for something different.
To be clear though, Scream VI might not be quite as different as some people were hoping or expecting. Longtime fans will instantly recognize the many parallels Scream VI has with Scream 2, but that’s not a bad thing. Relating back to the previous point, starting from a place of familiarity allows the movie to stretch out in new directions. We all know that slasher movies, as a subgenre of horror, have to follow a formula to a certain extent. If they stray too far from that formula, they aren’t slasher movies anymore. The differences within the repetition of that formula are what make slasher movies so fun. Scream VI beautifully manages that delicate balance of being familiar without being simply being derivative. It’s amazing how the franchise continues to be meta in a time well beyond post-modern slashers, and it does so without cynicism.
What makes it all work so well, beyond the blood and violence, are the characters. Sam Carpenter’s journey as a modern “final girl” continues to be fascinating. Melissa Barrera plays the part wonderfully, being guarded in her daily life, yet seeming to come alive when the darkness of her bloodline starts to emerge. Jenna Ortega is also great, especially since Tara is given more room to show who she really is than in Scream (2022). The supporting roles played by Jasmin Savoy Brown (Mindy) and Mason Gooding (Chad) are also great, providing the right amount of charm to make you continue to care about their survival.
Scream VI is also good about providing nostalgia for hardcore fans of the series. Seeing Kirby Reed (Hayden Panettiere) and Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox) is a blast, and neither of them overshadow the “core four” characters. And that’s how it should be. This is a new era for Scream, and while nostalgia and legacy characters absolutely have their place, it’s smart to not rely too heavily on the past as the series moves forward. Trying to get people to watch five movies to prepare for Scream VI is a lot to ask for new and casual fans, but Scream VI is satisfying even if you’ve only seen part five.
If there’s anything that can be seen as a negative, it’s that Scream VI might feel too safe. The movie is great, but it doesn’t really break much new ground within the franchise. The feeling of safety comes after you’ve seen the movie and think back about what happened. None of the deaths nor the Ghostface reveal really challenge viewers with anything too brutal emotionally. That’s not necessarily a criticism, it’s just an observation. While there have been brutal deaths in the franchise, Scream movies tend to emphasize the fun of slasher movies most of all. Scream VI is definitely fun.