‘Scream VI’ slashes its way into critics’ hearts: It’s ‘a mean, nasty, rollicking good time at the movies’

On March 10, 2023, “Scream VI” was released by Paramount Pictures and became the highest-grossing box office opener for the franchise, raking in nearly $45 million over the weekend. Despite the absence of Neve Campbell’s iconic character Sidney Prescott, the film was a hit with both fans and critics, currently holding a 76% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 92% audience score.

In this installment, the survivors of the Ghostface killings leave Woodsboro behind and start a fresh chapter in New York City. The cast includes Melissa Barrera, Jenna Ortega, Jasmin Savoy Brown, Mason Gooding, Hayden Panettiere, Jack Champion, Dermot Mulroney and Courteney Cox returning as original franchise O.G. Gail Weathers. The critics consensus reads, “Certain aspects of horror’s most murderously meta franchise may be going stale, but a change of setting and some inventive set pieces help keep Scream VI reasonably sharp.” Read our full review roundup below.

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Charlie Ridgely of ComicBook.com says, “If ‘Scream’ isn’t the best long-running horror franchise out there, it’s at least the most consistent. Wes Craven‘s meta slasher series turned the genre upside down in 1996 and, while it hasn’t reached the highs of that first film with its subsequent entries, ‘Scream’ has been a constant beacon of slasher quality in every decade since.” The opening kill is one of the best in years. Ridgely adds, “Sam and Tara Carpenter are wonderful as the new leads of the franchise…’Scream VI’ is a mean, nasty, rollicking good time at the movies, just as Wes Craven always intended.”

Amelia Emberwing of IGN Movies praises the latest installment, calling it “The best sequel in the franchise yet.” She adds, “In fact, it’s even better than ‘Scream’ (2022) — which I gave a 9/10 for breathing life back into the franchise — though, there is one slight pitfall that keeps the sixth entry from achieving the elusive 10. But, while it is the Sidney Prescott of it all, it’s not what you think.” Emberwing concludes, “There’s a future for the franchise with or without its original final girl by giving us strong connections to the new Core Four.”

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Joey Magidson of Awards Radar also praises the film but notes “it can’t maintain all of the freshness from the last movie, [but] it’s still a top-notch slasher, one that clearly is enjoying playing around with various tropes. Bring on another sequel!” Changing the setting to the Big Apple is also appreciated, as the new playground proves to be especially deadly. “The core four have officially become characters I care about as much as the original group. Sam, Tara, Mindy, and Chad have distinct personalities, while the cast has great chemistry together. Melissa Barrera is again the lead, with her relationship with Jenna Ortega essential. Barrera in particular is a force, while Ortega is even better this time around. The same goes for Mason Gooding and Jasmin Savoy Brown, the former being incredibly charming, while the latter being a comedic highlight.” Magidson concludes, “Upping the violence and upping the stakes the last two films from the Radio Silence directing team has allowed the franchise to stay vibrant. As long as the ‘Scream’ movies continue like this, I’m keen for the series to continue living on. Ghostface sure doesn’t seem done with us just yet…” 

Frank Scheck of Hollywood Reporter notes that for a franchise born in 1996, it is evolving to meet the times despite being formulaic. With the cast now in New York City, there is a freshness to the proceedings. “This film is the longest in the series, and seems to contain the most frequent and goriest kills.” He adds, “And as in all the previous films, Roger L. Jackson, his vocal creepiness seemingly ageless, provides the voice of Ghostface.”

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