The last Scream film I saw was the second in the series, way back in 1997. Thanks to great buzz and solid box office, Ghostface finally drug me back to the latest entry SCREAM VI.
The opening sequence is a very clever & intriguing spin on the appeal of the very first film, now layered with all the meta-layers of insider jokes about Scream films over the past 17 years.
Ghostface killings quickly pile up in the opening 15 minutes, bringing back serious Jason vibes from the classic Friday the 13th films of the 80's.
This story is a continuation from last year's very successful "Scream" relaunch and while I didn't know any of the new characters, I caught up quickly with the storyline.
Sisters Sam and Tara Carpenter (Melissa Barrera from "In the Heights" and Jenna Ortega from "Wednesday") have escaped the recent Ghostface killings and relocated to a college just outside New York City. It seems that deranged fans of the "Stab" Hollywood films, dramatizing the murders in the "Scream" films (how very meta) are donning Ghostface masks and killing those around the sisters.
At least that's what the girls and their tight circle of friends and the police think, including the lead detective on the case, Lt. Bailey, well played by Dermot Mulroney (My Best Friends Wedding).
To further complicate things, Bailey's daughter is one of the sister's inner circle. Josh Segarra plays neighbor Danny, whose higher-floor apartment faces the girls across a courtyard. One of the best scenes in the film follows Danny as he sees Ghostface in the girls bedroom"Rear Window" style. Of course, if he called 911 instead of the girls, what follows could never have happened, but as Scream fans know, that wouldn't be following the unwritten rules of the horror film genre.
A long sequence aboard a New York City subway car on Halloween night also stands out. Those fluttering, dark moments when the tracks go in and out of tunnels have rarely been played as effectively for horror.
All the fun in the Scream films is trying to figure out who is Ghostface. Since the films have told us there can be more than one, suspects abound and it's hard to trust anyone.
OG series members Courtney Cox and Skeet Ulrich play key roles and Cox still shows plenty of vigor squaring off with the killer. I have no idea how her character Gail affords that Manhattan apartment on a reporter's salary, but it's a hell of a setting for a major face-off. (She must have sold a LOT of books!)
Actor Roger Jackson's voicing of Ghostface is a modern classic and I looked forward to every call.
Original creator Kevin Williamson is an executive producer this time around and has said he loves this film as an almost complete reinvention of the series with a big budget and a large cast.
It's certainly a lot of fun in a gory 80's slasher flick style, but spun with a modern attitude. At just over two hours long, it's never slow and kept me guessing all the way to the end.
I've heard that some Scream super fans are angry at this installment and are missing Neve Campbell, but this is my first Scream film since #2, so I'm coming in fresh and nostalgic.
I really enjoyed all the insider references and verbal cues to other modern slasher classics dating back to "Psycho". And the characters are right about "Psycho II" too, it IS underrated!
Horror movie buffs and "Scream" fans alike made this latest chapter a huge box office hit, earning $169 million on a $35m budget.
With those kind of sales, I'm sure we haven't seen the last of Ghostface, whoever ends up behind that mask.
SCREAM VI gets a B-