The first Sidney Prescott-less Scream instalment re-locates the carnage to the Big Apple, cranks up the number of stab wounds, and revels in murder memorabilia in this satisfying entry in the long-running horror series that is proving hard to kill.
Buckle in, there is some ground to cover.
It’s a year after the Scream ’22 killing spree and survivors Sam (Melissa Barrera), her younger half-sister Tara (Jenna Ortega), and her twin mates Mindy (Jasmine Savoy Brown) and Chad (Mason Gooding), have moved to New York an in attempt to lead normal lives.
While the younger three indulge in drunken college frat party shenanigans, Sam has become suffocatingly over-protective of Tara, while battling her own demons (a dark streak bubbling under the surface thanks to the murdery DNA passed down to her from her serial killer father Billy Loomis).
It is days until Halloween, and the streets are littered with people wearing the Ghostface costume made popular by the Woodsboro killings, which makes the healing process even trickier.
And, of course, someone starts hacking up people that The Core Four know, leaving their so-far-still-alive new friends and love interests at the top of the suspect list, or kill list.
Movie nerd Mindy realises that not only are they in a requel sequel, they are in a – gasp! – franchise, meaning that even the main or legacy characters could be bumped off, or be the killer/s.
Hot on the case are Detective Bailey (Dermot Mulroney), Scream 4 fan favourite Kirby Reed (Hayden Panettiere), now a FBI agent, and pushy, fame hungry reporter Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox), who really did right a book about last year’s events, despite vowing not to.
Between the slashings and slayings, which there are plenty of, Scream VI explores trauma recovery, and how each character deals with their shared experience differently – there is no right way to recover from a bloodbath.
Also, how that shared experience can create a strangely special bond that no one else could possibly understand or penetrate, leading to some lovely scenes of relaxed banter that solidifies them as franchise leaders. Move over Sidney, Gale and Dewey (RIP).
This instalment also builds on the family theme, established way back in the 1996 original- though by this point, a family tree guide may be required to map out who is related to who and how.
The interconnections between the new and original sagas are becoming increasingly hard to keep up with; it may be time to finally cut ties between the two.
What it does nail, is gnarly deaths that are as emotionally impactful as they are shocking and bloody. The supporting characters may not get much screen time but their demises are allowed to have weight for those who are forced to watch helplessly.
And the ones left to fight to the bloody end are given some fist pumpingly great moments, as icing on the cake for franchise fans.
There might not be a Sidney this time, but the chase sequences are longer, the kills are more brutal, nuance is maintained, the highly populated location is terrifying and the Easter eggs are plenty.
Happy Scream-ing. (7.5/10)