It has been over twenty-five years since a young, aspiring actor named Kevin Williamson (I Know What You Did Last Summer) wrote a screenplay called Scary Movie. After Miramar purchased the screenplay, Wes Craven (A Nightmare on Elm Street) was hired to direct the newly renamed Scream. Released in late 1996, it became a box office hit and was followed up by three sequels over the next fifteen years, all of which Williamson wrote except for number three. Then in 2022, Scream (also known as Scream 5) was released in theaters with little to no involvement from Williamson who had moved on to other films and television series.
Scream 5 was a reboot of sorts with fresh, young faces to carry on the franchise and smaller parts given to the original cast - Neve Campbell (Wild Things) as Sydney Prescott, David Arquette (Never Been Kissed) as police officer Dewey Riley and Courtney Cox (Friends) as reporter Gale Weathers. The main characters in the updated version are two sisters Sam (Melissa Barrera; In The Heights) and Tara Carpenter (Jenna Ortega; Wednesday) who have the same mother but different fathers. Sam, we find out is the daughter of Scream's original killer, Billy Loomis (Skeet Ulrich; The Craft), and She and Tara are being targeted by a new ghost face.
With the success of 2022's Scream, the powers that be once again released a sequel this year called...you guessed... Scream VI. Sam and Tara are back, only this time the setting has changed from the sleepy town of Woodsboro to the hustle and bustle of New York City. Released in March 2023, Scream VI had a healthy theatrical run earning $168 million at the Box Office Worldwide. Four months after its release, Scream VI is now available for purchase in 4K, Blu-ray, and Digital.
The leads, Barrera and Ortega, are both talented young women who step into this icon franchise seamlessly. Like Sydney Prescott, Sam, and Tara are strong individuals who decide to take matters into their own hands and fight back. They are surrounded by other actors, Jasmin Savoy-Brown (Yellowjackets), Mason Gooding (Booksmart), Jack Champion (Avatar: The Way of Water), and Liana Liberato (If I Stay), who portray their characters well but who don't overshadow the leading ladies. Sadly, while Neve Campbell does not return (due to payment disputes), Cox is back and she is joined by franchise alum, Hayden Panettiere (Heroes).
The Blu-ray is presented in 1080p resolution with a 2.39:1 aspect ratio - pretty much standard fare nowadays. The picture quality is very good with clean lines, sharp focus, and a color palette that is deep and true. Conversely, the Dolby Atmos audio is merely serviceable. Set in Manhattan there was plenty of opportunity for ambient noise to enhance the dialogue and soundtrack. However, this very little depth or height to the audio leaving it somewhat flat.
The extras are housed on the Blu-ray Disc as no DVD is included with this combo pack. They are interesting enough but probably could have been embellished even more. They include: Audio Commentary, Death Comes to the City, The Faces of Death, More Meta Than Meta, Bloodbath at the Bodega, An Apartment to Die For, The Night Train to Terror, and Theater of Blood.
The recycled story of the Scream franchise hasn't changed much over the years with the exception of bringing in the next generation of victims and killers to the plot. However, moving the location from Woodsboro to New York City infuses some new life into the film giving the cast an opportunity to react to their new surroundings while adding in new props to the mix.
While I'm not sure how much juice is left in the Scream tank, for number six at least, the writers, directors, and cast upped the game by including a look at the past while taking one step forward into the future. We'll just have to wait and see what they can come up with next.