Stars: Melissa Barrera, Jenna Ortega, Jasmin Savoy-Brown, Mason Gooding, Hayden Panettiere, Samara Weaving, Courteney Cox, Liana Liberato, Dermot Mulroney, Samara Weaving, Jack Champion
This sequel to last year’s dull ‘requel’ (a reboot/sequel apparently) ‘Scream’, relocates the action to New York and manages to drum up a little more energy in the process.
A clever prologue has nervous film lecturer (the excellent Weaving, allowed to use her native Australian accent for a change) awaiting her blind date in a high-end Manhattan bar, who calls her to confess that he’s lost and asks her to meet him outside.
The masked slasher Ghost Face has arrived in town which is harrowing news for the Carpenter sisters Sam (Barrera) and Tara (Wednesday herself Ortega), who have relocated to NYC from their native Woodsboro, California after a bloody encounter with the killer. Joining them in the Big Apple are hometown friends, horror expert Mindy (Brown) and her amiable jockish twin brother Chad (Gooding) who christens the quartet ‘the core four’. Also in the mix is the Carpenters’ amusingly deadpan ‘sex positive’ flatmate Quinn (Liberato) whose cop dad Dt. Bailey (Mulroney) joins in the hunt for Ghost Face, and nice guy new friend Ethan (Champion). Series’ returnees include ruthless investigate journalist Gale Weathers (Cox) and Kirby (Panettiere) an ex-Woodsboro high school student turned FBI agent because what the hell.
The obligatory lengthy badinage about genre dictates and mentions of Elevated Horror and Giallo pictures will please fans of the series’ pop cultural nous, if not fans of narrative momentum, while this episode dishes out more literal red meat for gore fans.
Taking advantage of the New York locations, directors Gillett and Bettinelli-Olpin deliver some impressive set-pieces including a bodega shoot-out replete with brash ‘There’s a line here!’ customer guy, an extended sequence where the core four encounter multiple Ghost Faces on Halloween in the subway, and a scene which uses ‘Rear Window’ as a jumping-off point then ramps up the tension to something genuinely nerve-racking.
Alas, by the conclusion we have returned to the series’ trademark torturous plot convolutions and meta-nodding speechifying, the latter which, by now, feels like a pre-emptive defence against criticism.
Scream VI is out now
Follow David on Twitter @DWill_Crackfilm
Sign Up To Little Crack