Onto the next release of the weekend and with Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar covered as a theatrical release over a weekday, I had a slot for a theatrical watch over the weekend. And contemplating a lot, I decided to venture into the new English slasher film Scream 6 at a theatre near me. Scream officially has to be one of my favourite slasher franchise which is now in its third decade as I type this review.
I remember being introduced to my first slasher film of the franchise, Scream 1 which had premiered on Star Movies. More than the horror element which was great, I was fascinated with the mystery behind each of the previous 5 whodunnits. The franchise did have the one unsaid rule that one amongst the people featuring on its film poster is the killer. With multiple permutations and combinations, after with everyone being a suspect(another unsaid rule), it did make for a fun watch every single time. My only concern after Scream 5 was whether there is a sense of fatigue creeping in with the franchise, especially because it was touted to be a nostalgic ride when the OG gang returning, but the writing did feel simplistic. Come Scream 6, I was on the fence on what to expect. Now that I have finished watching Scream 6, here are my two cents on the same!
Story & Screenplay
Scream 6 is the 6th installment of the popular slasher franchise wherein another set of killings take place in the city of New York. The story may not be too novel but credit to the writers for adding ‘rules’ and meta-references and also playing around with different combinations to keep the audience invested. The screenplay standing at a shade above 2 hours does make for an exciting watch which is surprisingly layered in its writing as well.
If you have been a fan of the franchise or atleast have watched its previous films then you would know that all films do open with a murder. So the setting would be a lonely house with a girl unassumingly answering a phone call before being sliced to pulp. But I was surprised and pleasantly so at the opening scene here which really did pull a fast one on the audience. So there is a murder followed by a reveal of the masked killer in the very first scene. But the twist in the tale being that the hunter does become the hunted by another masked killer. The beginning really had my undivided attention and how!
You are soon introduced to the protagonist and a few survivors from the previous films of the franchise. You need to keep in mind that this is a sequel of a requel and so there is a chance that you may spot atleast a couple of familiar faces from last time, besides a couple of legacy characters. The screenplay here is a little more than a few cheap thrills. It does well in building the world and its set of characters. For instance, the drama is set against the backdrop of Halloween which makes it that much more textured, thereby adding to the fun quotient of the film.
To top it, there are an interesting mix of characters, both old and new and each one of them is a suspect. As a character lays off the rules, everyone is a suspect, everyone is dispensable in the franchise! What that does is that it does raise its stakes that much higher by creating an element of doubt in the minds of the viewer who does indulge in the guessing game while also rooting for his/her favourite character. And yes, there are multiple set pieces that keep you on your toes by building the right amount of tension before the killings are underway!
I did like how self aware the writing was, creating a homage of its previous films in the form of a shrine/museum while throwing in several meta-references of the universe and genre. The twists and turns in the screenplay are interesting leading up to the grand reveal which is equally satisfactory. And there is a tinge of nostalgia thrown in every now and then, either through some characters or the situations. The logical angle did just about add up as far as the reasoning was concerned thus summing up the screenplay which may just have kickstarted a fading and fatigued franchise!
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are witty and almost soul stirring for a horror geek but also having its core emotions in check. The music and BGM blend perfectly with the drama. The cinematography and the killing set pieces are terrific, almost prompting the user to indulge in them. I for one had a smile on my face which was kind of weird but I did enjoy the sequences! Directors Matt Bettinelli-Olp and Tyler Gillett have done an astounding job in kickstarting this franchise by firstly retaining its nostalgic factor and secondly, dabbling with the genre to find new permutations and combinations in the universe. It was exciting and enjoyable and for that the direction does need to be applauded.
The performances are exceptional here. I will be keeping the character names under wraps to avoid any spoiler talks. Jack Champion, Liana Liberato and Dermot Mulroney are excellent in their respective roles. Hayden Panettiere and Courtney Cox add to the nostalgic element of the show. Mason Goodling and Jasmin Savoy Brown are first rate. Jenna Ortega does have a good presence onscreen in a job well done. Melissa Barrera is at the helm of things here and she is well restrained and quite phenomenal!
Scream 6 is a true-blue slasher nostalgia that successfully manages to kickstart a fading and fatigued franchise! Available in a theatre near you.