In this section of our Colossus Movie Guide for Scream VI, we talk about themes that help us understand the film.
- 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
- Officer 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 themes and meaning of Scream VI
History vs Future
The meta focus for Scream VI is on the series evolving into a franchise, going beyond its roots as a small, smart horror entry. Part of that growth means leaving behind the past. It’s something you acknowledge but not what defines you.
We see this reflected in Sam and Tara. Tara wants to ignore what happened in 2022’s Scream and just live her life. While Sam is overwhelmed by those events. Stuck. The two are at odds because they’re pulling one another in opposite directions.
By Scream VI’s conclusion, the sisters discover a middle ground. Tara can’t ignore what she’s gone through. It’s part of her story and will be forever. That’s okay. She can keep moving forward. For Sam, she let’s go. Of overprotecting Tara. Of fearing everyone. Of hiding everything. Of her dad being Billy Loomis. She’s ready for tomorrow.
The pressure of parents
Sam defines herself as the daughter of Billy Loomis. Others do it, too. Ghostface. The media. The public. Sam even sees visions of Billy. He talks to her. Inspires her. On the one hand, it’s not as bad as the Green Goblin talking to Norman Osborn is Spider-Man. Billy’s often motivational, supportive, helpful. On the other hand, he’s still a serial killer and his presence is meant to highlight that Sam has something wicked inside of her. This potential to be like him. The fear that she could, one day, pick up the knife. Not in self-defense. She even tells her therapist that killing Richie felt good.
The whole subplot of her becoming like Billy, taking up the mantle of Ghostface, is there to, ultimately, setup Sam’s rejection of Billy. At the end of the film, she leaves his mask on the street. Thus freeing herself of not only the burden of Billy Loomis but of the Scream film series as a whole. Whatever comes next is its own incarnation.
This theme also extends into the dynamic between Sam and Tara. Sam’s essentially Tara’s mom and putting a lot of pressure on Tara, throttling Tara’s ability to live on her own, to make mistakes, have fun, hurt, learn, grow. Part of Sam being able to let go of her own father’s influence is to first let go of Tara. Not completely. Not forever. Just enough for Tara to have a life.
And it also plays into this film’s Ghostface. Officer Bailey and his kids, Ethan and Quinn. Would Ethan and Quinn have gone full Ghostface on their own? Probably not. But because Bailey not only indulged the idea but actively facilitated it, the entire family became murderers. Bailey even says that he might be to blame for what happened to Richie because he indulged Richie’s interest in the Stab movies and relief events. It’s Bailey who bought all of the “memorabilia” in the warehouse. All to humor Richie. Despite all of its exposition, Scream VI doesn’t over explain this part of the theme and allows its implications to be more subtextual. Other Ghostfaces were the products of retribution, news media, social media, a desire for fame. But this time around: its parenting.
Family and found family
The negative family experience presented by the Baileys is in conversation with the family experience of Sam and Tara. The girls have no parents. Their mom abandoned them. Tara’s dad abandoned her. And Sam’s dad died 20 years earlier. There’s a tragedy to that but also a freedom. And growing pains. As previously mentioned, Sam has become Tara’s mother figure and its been an adjustment for them. But beyond their own dynamic, you also have the found family of the Core Four.
Sam, Tara, Mindy, and Chad—the core four from Woodshoro who survived Scream and now stick together no matter what. They’re a different kind of family. But family nonetheless. With everything Sam and Tara have lost, the core four represents something gained.
We can apply this to the meta conversation about Scream VI moving past its roots. It severs the cord from the previous family of Scream films. And is ready, with this new cast, this new Scream family, to move forward into the next chapter of the franchise.
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