Scream 6's biggest flaw is that it doesn't follow its own rules
Scream 6 spoilers follow.
In Scream 6, Mindy makes her late Uncle Randy proud, as she did in Scream, by gathering her friends and outlining the rules of the real-life horror movie they find themselves in.
They might be in a "sequel to the requel", but Mindy believes it's bigger than that. They're now part of a franchise — and these days, only the title matters in a franchise. When it comes to the survival of the legacy/established characters, all bets are off.
To illustrate her point that everybody should be worried about Ghostface this time, Mindy cites the likes of Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: The Last Jedi and James Bond in No Time to Die. As well as being a classic pop-culture-packed Scream speech, this teases the prospect of a major death in the new movie.
After all, they killed off Dewey (brutally, it must be added) in Scream. So who's saying Gale or Kirby couldn't be offed this time around? After Mindy's speech, we were definitely worried about our favourites.
It turns out that we didn't need to be, as Scream 6 clearly wasn't paying attention to Mindy's speech.
Major spoilers ahead!
Does Gale die in Scream 6?
It certainly seems as though Gale's good fortune has finally run out when Ghostface confronts her in her apartment.
Gale manages to trick Ghostface once with a neat 1471 trick (a niche reference for the UK readers), but it's not enough. She's stabbed by a shard of glass, and Ghostface is about to land the killer blow when Sam and Tara arrive in the nick of time, scaring Ghostface off.
"Tell Sidney he never got me," Gale tells the duo before she passes out. Paramedics are able to find a pulse, but Gale's actual fate is left up in the air until later in the movie when we're told she's survived.
Sure, killing off Gale would have been another blow to Scream fans after Dewey's death, but it arguably wouldn't have hurt as much. After all, Gale went on to write a book about the latest round of Woodsboro killings, despite her telling Sidney that she wouldn't and that she wanted to honour Dewey instead.
Gale has always used the Ghostface murders for her own benefit, and you could argue her death at Ghostface's hands would be karmic retribution. It would still be painful, but at least Scream 6 would be following its own 'all bets are off' rules.
With Sidney off enjoying her "happy ending", as Gale puts it earlier in the movie, Gale's death could have also allowed the franchise a clean break from the OG trio. Instead, her survival means that we could expect to see her in Scream 7 instead of it focusing on the "core four".
Talking of the "core four", Gale's survival isn't the only time that Scream 6 pulls its own punches, leaving it feeling as blunt as Ghostface's knives must be by now.
During the bloody finale, Chad is fighting off Ghostface when another Ghostface appears. The duo overpower Chad, stabbing him multiple times as Tara looks on in horror. (Side note: Seriously, when will Scream characters realise there's generally more than one Ghostface?)
The scene is pretty unambiguous: Chad is a goner. But then again, we never see a body and we all know what that means... yep, Chad miraculously survived being stabbed multiple times by multiple Ghostfaces.
It's a similar situation to the previous movie, where Chad was also brutally attacked by Ghostface and somehow survived. He's clearly the new Dewey of the "core four": a character who takes unimaginable damage and still manages to stumble through to fight (and get stabbed) another day.
And look, like with Gale, we'd have been disappointed if Chad was killed off, as Mason Gooding is great in the role. But it would have given Scream 6 the stakes and the edge it sorely needed.
Instead, the new movie just focuses its kills on the new characters and the "core four" — alongside Kirby (who's also shot a couple of times) and Gale — make it through unscathed.
Talking to The Hollywood Reporter, co-director Tyler Gillett said the decision not to kill off any major characters was to make Scream 6 "a secret feel-good movie", comparing it to the first Scream film.
"All the people that you love — minus Tatum [Rose McGowan], really — make it out alive [in the original Scream], and one of the reasons that movie is so lasting and enduring is because it just feels great at the end," he said.
"So we really wanted to replicate that in as big and fun and grand a way as we could."
Co-director Matt Bettinelli-Olpin added when speaking to Variety: "On this one, we're like: 'If we kill Gale, we'd hate ourselves'. We'd hate the movie. The movie wouldn't be fun to watch."
That's all well and good, but at the end of the day, Scream 6 is a horror movie. There are always comedic elements because it's Scream, yet it's not a horror-comedy and people do die in brutal, vicious ways — arguably worse ways than the more comedic Scream (2022).
Dewey's death hurt a lot for Scream fans, but at least it was memorable and had an impact going forward. There's nothing in Scream 6 that will really be felt come the likely inevitable Scream 7 because it ended up being too blunt for its own good.
Scream VI is out now in cinemas.
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