‘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.

Scream VI (2023) is a strong entry in one of the strongest horror franchises ever.
Table of Contents

What is Scream VI About?

Ghostface in a subway car in Scream VI (2023).
New York means new rules for Ghostface.

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 Ghostface shrine in Scream VI (2023).
Sam feels drawn to her father’s Ghostface costume (the one in the case in the center of the stage).

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?

Billy Loomis's knife in Scream VI (2023).
In Sam’s mind, Billy is happy when she takes his knife from its display case.

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.

Sam points a gun with an image of Ghostface in the background in Scream VI (2023).
With her father in her mind and her ex-boyfriend’s Stab fan-film playing in the background, Sam fights back against Ghostface.

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.

The original Ghostface mask in Scream VI (2023).
Sam’s struggles with her family and her past will hopefully be explored even more in future Scream films.

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

Sam talks with her therapist in Scream VI (2023).
Even Sam’s therapist contributes to Sam’s feelings of persecution.

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

Jenna Ortega smirks as Tara in Scream VI (2023).
In the final battle of Scream VI, Tara and Sam finally come to an understanding with each other.

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

Tara next to Steve Orth's jacket in Scream VI (2023).
It always goes back to the beginning, and here we see Tara standing next to Steve Orth’s letterman jacket and the duct tape used to gag him. Steve Orth was the first kill ever shown in a Scream movie.

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.

Scream VI (2023).
The seventh installment of the Nightmare on Elm Street series is Wes Craven’s New Nightmare. It would be interesting if Scream VII (assuming it happens) incorporated ideas from New Nightmare into the Scream franchise.

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

Melissa Barrera as Sam in Scream VI (2023).
Between Scream (2022) and Scream VI, Melissa Barrera starred in the supernatural horror movie Bed Rest (2022).

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

Jenna Ortega as Tara Carpenter in Scream VI (2023).
In 2022, Jenna Ortega appeared in the horror movies Scream (2022), American Carnage, Studio 666, and Ti West’s X.

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

Jasmin Savoy Brown as Mindy Meeks-Martin in Scream VI (2023).
In 2021, Jasmin Savoy Brown starred in the horror film Sound of Violence.

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

The returning survivors in Scream VI (2023).
Mason Gooding (in the Blackmore University hoodie) briefly appeared in the 2022 survival movie Fall.

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

Courteney Cox as Gale Weathers in Scream VI (2023).
With Scream VI, Gale Weathers is the only character to appear (alive) in every Scream movie.

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

Hayden Panettiere as Kirby Reed in Scream VI (2023).
Hayden Panettiere costarred in the 2015 horror video game Until Dawn.

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

Ghostface in Scream VI (2023).
In addition to film and television, Roger L. Jackson has an extensive resume voicing characters in video games.

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

Skeet Ulrich as Billy Loomis in Scream (2022).
Between Scream (2022) and Scream VI, Skeet Ulrich appeared in the horror movie Blood released in 2023. (image of Skeet Ulrich taken from Scream 2022)

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

Dermot Mulroney as Wayne Bailey in Scream VI (2023).
Somewhat similar to his role in Scream VI, Dermot Mulroney costarred in Copycat (1995) as a police officer investigating a copycat serial killer.

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.

Mindy, Anika, and Sam in Scream VI (2023).
Anika (middle) learns about the danger of getting close to a Ghostface survivor.
  • 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?

Tony Revolori as Jason Carvey in Scream VI (2023).
Some people may debate whether Jason is a true Ghostface or not, but he did kill one person in the style of Ghostface, so he counts.

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.

Dermot Mulroney in Scream VI (2023).
The parallels between Wayne Bailey and Nancy Loomis are clear to longtime fans of the Scream series.

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.

Liana Liberato as Quinn Bailey in Scream VI (2023).
After Quinn is revealed as a Ghostface and her faked death is explained, she makes perfect sense as one of the killers.

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.

Mindy, Chad, Ethan, Danny, and Sam in Scream VI (2023).
Chad (second from left) never really trusts Ethan (middle).

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

Anika tries to escape Ghostface in Scream VI (2023).
In Scream VI, it pays to be a returning character. Anika, unfortunately, will not be returning after her time in Scream VI.
  • 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?

Yes, there is a short scene that plays after the final credits in Scream VI. However, in true Scream fashion, the scene is all about poking fun at tropes. SPOILER: The post-credit scene is a single shot of Mindy from her “rules explanation” scene earlier in Scream VI. Mindy says, “not every movie needs a post credit scene,” and then the movie ends.

Is Scream VI available on Netflix?

No, Scream VI is not on Netflix, HBO Max, or any other streaming service right now. Scream VI is distributed by Paramount Pictures, so it will most likely stream on Paramount+ after its theatrical window is complete. No streaming date has been announced yet, but we will list it on our New/Upcoming Horror Movies tracker when it becomes available.

Why is Scream VI rated R?

Scream VI is rated R for strong bloody violence and language throughout, and brief drug use.

How gory is Scream VI?

Scream VI isn’t exceptionally gory for most fans of slasher movies, but it is more brutal than previous films in the Scream franchise. There are a few closeups of gore in key moments in Scream VI, including the slicing of someone’s abdomen and a stabbing in the face.

Is Neve Campbell in Scream VI?

No, Neve Campbell does not appear in Scream VI. In June of 2022, Neve Campbell announced that she would not return for Scream VI because, in her words, “I felt the offer that was presented to me did not equate to the value I have brought to the franchise.”

Is Sidney Prescott in Scream VI?

No, Sidney Prescott is not in Scream VI. However, Gale does mention Sydney when speaking to Sam. In the movie, Gale says she spoke to Sidney, and that Sidney is aware of the Ghostface murders in New York City. Gale assures Sam that Sidney is safe and has taken her family into hiding. Gale also says that Sidney “deserves her happy ending.”

Who is the main character in Scream VI?

Sam Carpenter (Melissa Barrera) is the main protagonist in Scream VI. It’s an arguable point that Sam and Tara (Jenna Ortega) are co-leads, but the continued focus on Sam’s internal struggles with her past, as well as her positioning as the “final girl” who faces off with the main Ghostface, make this new era of Scream Sam’s story.

Where was Scream VI filmed?

Despite being set in New York City, Scream VI was primarily shot in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. A few of the specific shooting locations within Montreal have been identified by fans.

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?

Sam, Tara, Mindy, and Chad, all introduced in Scream (2022), are back in Scream VI. Kirby, introduced in Scream 4, is also back, and so is Gale who appears in every Scream movie.

Is Scream 5 connected to Scream 6?

Yes. Scream VI is a direct sequel to Scream (2022) aka Scream 5, so you should watch part five before watching part six. You can get by without watching parts one through four if you really want to just start with part five. However, the Scream movies constantly reference earlier events, so you’ll be missing a lot of the depth and fun of the series if you don’t watch them all.

Who is the guy Sam keeps seeing in Scream?

If you’re newer to the series, Sam’s visions may not be 100% clear. In her head, Sam occasionally sees her deceased father Billy Loomis speaking to her. Billy is one of the two Ghostface killers in the original Scream from 1996.

Is there a Scream TV series?

Yes, the Scream TV series ran for three seasons and aired on MTV (2015 – 2016) and VH1 (2019). The continuity of the TV show is not connected to the movies.

Has there ever been a Ghostface killer in real life?

After the first Scream, each sequel is essentially about a string of copycat serial killers. The 1996 Scream was initially loosely inspired by real-life serial killer Danny Rolling, aka the Gainesville Ripper. And, unfortunately, real killers (and the press) have attributed true crimes to the Scream movies. To be clear, none of these examples are meant to suggest that slasher movies cause people to kill.

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)

Ghostface tilts their head in Scream VI (2023).
In the beginning of Scream VI, Ghostface feels nearly unstoppable.

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.

Ghostface hunts Sam and Tara in a New York bodega in Scream VI (2023).
The name of the bodega in Scream VI is Abe Snake’s Bodega. “Abe Snake” was a pseudonym used by Wes Craven for some of his work in X-rated movies very early in his career, such as The Fireworks Woman (1975).

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.

Ready or Not cosplay in Scream VI (2023).
With so many Halloween costumes seen throughout the movie, there are lots of Easter eggs to discover. Seen here is woman dressed as Grace (wedding dress, bandolier) from Ready or Not, a movie directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, a starring Samara Weaving.

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.

Sam points a gun in Scream VI (2023).
Though the number of returning survivors appears to be growing in the latest movies, Sam is still the main focus of this new era of Scream.

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.

Further Reading

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.