In this section of our Colossus Movie Guide for Scream VI, we will explain the film’s ending.
- Sam Carpenter – Melissa Barrera
- Tara Carpenter – Jenna Ortega
- Mindy – Jasmin Savoy Brown
- Chad – Mason Gooding
- Gale Weathers – Courteney Cox
- Kirby – Hayden Panettiere
- Danny – Josh Segarra
- Ethan – Jack Champion
- Quinn – Liana Liberato
- Wayne Bailey – Dermot Mulroney
- Jason – Tony Revolori
- Anika – Devyn Nekoda
- Laura the Film Professor – Samara Weaving
- Dr. Stone the Therapist – Henry Czerny
- Written by – James Vanderbilt | Guy Busick
- Directed by – Matt Bettinelli-Olpin | Tyler Gillett
The end of Scream VI explained
The end of Scream VI begins with the final confrontation. Sam and Tara have their showdown with Richie Kirsch’s family. The father, Wayne, explains that it was he who indulged Richie’s interest in the Stab franchise and the real world events. The memorabilia in the theater belonged to Richie. Now Wayne and his remaining children, Ethan and Quinn, want revenge. The sequence ensues and ultimately sees Sam and Tara winning. Along the way, we wrap up the subplot of Sam learning to let go of Tara, providing her sister more independence. And bring to a climax Sam’s subplot of following in the footsteps of her father, Billy Loomis, as a killer. She dons the very mask and robe he wore in the original Scream. Ultimately, she says, “My father was a murderer. No matter what you think, I’m better than that.” After a shared look with Tara, she concludes, “But you did f*** with our family, so…” and finishes Wayne. The sisters step through a movie screen that projects “Written & Directed by Richie Kirsch” over top of a burning Ghostface mask.
Tara thanks Sam for trusting her and letting her go and admits she’s not okay and will seek therapy rather than ignoring everything that’s happened. Sam’s boyfriend, Danny, arrives with police officers. Tara and Sam find out that Mindy and Gale are going to be okay. Outside, they share a moment with Kirby, who says legacy doesn’t always have to be a bad thing. Tara finds out Chad survived. They emphasize the core four of Sam, Tara, Chad, and Mindy.
There’s a last dramatic moment as we see Sam has taken her father’s mask. But after Tara says something, Sam drops the mask and walks off with her sister. The music changes from chilling to upbeat and empowered. The heroes walk off as the camera pans to the city skyline.
Parents and children
The primary theme of Scream VI is the influence of parents on their children. We see this in Sam’s dynamic with her father and the mix of fear and fascination she feels with regards to his history as a serial killer. Can she ignore that and be her own person? Or is she doomed to become like him? The theme extends to Sam and Tara, as Sam, being the older sister, has become Tara’s de facto mother in the aftermath of their own mother’s abdication. Sam’s overly protective of Tara. Tara got into college in New York. So Sam goes to New York. Tara goes to a party, Sam shows up at the party. Sam’s paranoia about another attack plus her fear of becoming not only like her father but like her mother has made it so she smothers Tara.
It makes sense to extend this theme to the villain. As much as Sam’s struggling to do the right thing, Wayne Bailey is an example of the wrong thing. Would Richie from the last movie have gone so far to become a Ghostface if Wayne hadn’t spent years indulging his son’s interest in not only the Stab franchise but the real world events? It’s Wayne who bought Richie all the memorabilia and let Richie feel that much closer to the reality of Woodsborough, to the point of becoming part of it. Then it’s Wayne who inspires his remaining children, Ethan and Quinn, to take up this revenge plot against Sam and Tara. Wayne’s inability to responsibly raise his children ended up robbing them of not only normal lives but mortality itself.
The specific situation with Wayne is extreme, but it represents the general idea of an irresponsible parent and the impact that can have on a child. That can range from a parent who spends more time out with friends than at home to a parent who is overly lax and lets their teenager stay out all night and doesn’t care if they go to school or not. To a parent who forces their interests or beliefs on a kid who doesn’t share either. To a parent who contributes to a child’s poor nutrition or a self-destructive “winning is all that matters” worldview. Examples, big and small, abound.
While Wayne’s influence has crossed the point of no return, Sam and Tara aren’t so far gone. But the early parts of the film show us how close they are to a tipping point that would be ruinous for both of them. What Wayne, Ethan, and Quinn represent to Sam and Tara is that worst possible outcome. And it’s through this engagement with this embodiment of the negative that allows the sisters to discover the positive version of themselves. Sam literally lets go of Tara’s hand and it saves them both. And then by putting on her father’s mask and robe, by spending just those few seconds like him, Sam understands that’s not her. She isn’t him and won’t be him. That’s why her leaving the mask behind is so powerful. It’s that rejection of the negative influence. On her life. But also with regard to how she will be to others.
Parents and children and franchises
What’s awesome is that everything we just discussed about shedding the influence of parents is a meta commentary on Scream VI looking to step away from the influence of the previous films. It’s said multiple times throughout, but Scream VI is the evolution of the series into a franchise. And that means the past goes out the window. With Sam being the face of the new franchise, her conflict with her father’s legacy is really about Scream VI and its conflict with Scream 1-5. Sam wants to be her own person. So does the franchise moving forward. Sam discards Billy’s mask. So does the franchise. It’s unlikely that Scream 7 doesn’t involve the Ghostface mask but it would also be fitting if, for the first time, they made a meaningful cosmetic shift.
The whole “theater filled with old memorabilia” thing is the film’s way of visualizing the history of the series in order to make the point that none of that stuff matters anymore. That it’s actually kind of lame and silly to idolize it so much. The heroic thing to do, the cool thing to do, is to move on.
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