Directors: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett
Writers: James Vanderbilt, Guy Busick, and Kevin Williamson
Stars: Courteney Cox, Melissa Barrera, Jenna Ortega
Synopsis: In the next installment, the survivors of the Ghostface killings leave Woodsboro behind and start a fresh chapter in New York City.
Note: This review contains mild spoilers
My ranking of the series in favorite to least will always be number 3 first, and my ranking of the series from best film to least will always be number 2 first, with this new outing for Ghostface falling into the 3rd slot for both rankings. So my official ranking of my favorite of these movies is 3,2,6,1,5,4 and my official ranking of the movies in order from best to not is 2,3,6,1,5,4.
After a return to the big screen last January for the first time in over a decade, many were wondering if the Scream series had any life left in it, and after delivering the least scary entry into the franchise the directing duo and writers behind Scream 5 were back and brought Ghostface with them to the big apple. A trope that was done in the most fun and ridiculous way back in 1989 with another horror titan in Jason Voorhees in Friday the 13th part 8: Jason Takes a Cruise Ship… I’m sorry I mean Manhattan, Jason takes Manhattan, many including myself wondered if taking Ghostface to New York could work at first, totally forgetting that Ghostface already took Hollywood so why not New York? And guess what, the masked killer could. A huge win for this team that was sorely needed after the last installment. Honestly, the last two installments of this series were clunkers. However, this time a big factor was missing from the story, Neve Cambell. But after seeing this movie and sitting with it for a few days past the press screening here in Cleveland I truly feel it was for the best. This worked in almost every way possible. It felt like finally the series belonged to Ghostface and not Sidney, which was welcoming, let that woman rest in the world of this story. Her absence is addressed and it works perfectly.
This is Ghostface like we’ve never seen them before, brutal as all hell, vicious, and absolutely the most tension filled and perfectly timed comedic entry in the series. The return of Kirby (Hayden Panettiere) seems a bit awkward because she feels like she exists purely for fan service, and Gale (Courteney Cox) is used sparingly, but perfectly, in probably the best chase scene in the movies since Sarah Michelle Gellar in Scream 2. I also would like to shout out the work of Jenna Ortega and newcomers to the series; Devyn Nekoda and Tony Revolori who were pretty solid standouts in their roles. Another large positive is the setting of New York City, which feels like its own character, the promise of large crowds and feeling safe in them truly means nothing to our latest batch of victims. For example, the attack in the bodega was absolutely sublime and tension filled to the brim.
There is something in the writing, development, and performance of Samantha (Melissa Barrera) that just isn’t working for me here, and I hate to say it but I do think it’s Barrera herself as I also found her a weak spot in In the Heights, as well. She’s just not clicking with me and, especially compared to Jenna Ortega, is the weak spot in this pair of final girls. And as much as I’m praising this movie, I didn’t love the motive as it’s already been done in one of the sequels. The reason the movie is so high in my rankings is that it’s like nothing we’ve seen in the sense of the brutality, tension, and fun for the series.
So, what next? Well, yours truly has an idea that hasn’t been done before in this series or in any horror movie franchise yet to date that would be the biggest twist in a horror movie since Amanda’s reveal in Saw 2 ( yes I’m this confident) but alas I am not signed onto the seventh film, so if anything I say- kill off almost all of the 57 survivors this movie has, don’t bog it down with the SIX killers this movie has, but do keep up the intensity and brutality this movie has and send Ghostface to space, because in space- NO ONE CAN HEAR YOU SCREAM!!!….. ( I kid on that part)
Grade – B+