Welcome to our Colossus Movie Guide for Scream 6. This guide contains our detailed library of content covering key aspects of the movie’s plot, ending, meaning, and more. We encourage your comments to help us create the best possible guide. Thank you!
What is Scream 6 about?
Scream 6 sees the longtime series transition from an indie-horror vibe to full-blown franchise. Through this meta lens, it uses Sam and Tara to explore growing up and moving beyond the weight of history and public opinion. They literally go from their small town of Woodsboro, California to the Big Apple—New York City. Secondary themes involve family, found family, and the influence of parents on children.
Movie Guide table of contents
- 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
- Billy Loomis – Skeet Ulrich
- Written by – James Vanderbilt | Guy Busick
- Directed by – Matt Bettinelli-Olpin | Tyler Gillett
The ending of Scream 6 explained
The end of Scream 6 begins with the final confrontation. Sam and Tara have their showdown with Richie Kirsch’s family. The father, Detective Wayne Bailey, explains that it was he who indulged Richie’s interest in the Stab franchise and the real world events. The memorabilia in the abandoned movie theater belonged to Richie (Jack Quaid from Scream (2022)). It was a kind of shrine to Ghostface.
Now Wayne and his remaining children, Ethan and Quinn, want revenge for what Sam did to Richie in the previous film. The sequence ensues and ultimately sees Sam and Tara win. 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 Detective Bailey. 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 6 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 6 looking to step away from the influence of the previous films. It’s said multiple times throughout, but Scream 6 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 6and 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.
The themes and meaning of Scream 6
History vs Future
The meta focus for Scream 6 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 6’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 6 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 6 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.
Why is the movie called Scream 6?
The answer has a bit more nuance than simply being the sixth movie in the Scream series. Remember, Scream 5 was actually called Scream. Why? It was a meta choice. Since the fifth Scream served as a soft reboot of the series, what Mindy explained as a requel, both a sequel and a remake.
By that logic, the sequel to the requel that claimed the original title should be Scream 2 or Screams or something that doesn’t go back to the conventional numbering. Doesn’t calling it Scream 6 invalidate the choice of calling the fifth film Scream?
Not quite. Mindy, the meta mouthpiece of the filmmakers, explains that this chapter in the story is where it turns into a franchise. Bigger. Louder. Larger budget. Totally different set of rules than simply being a horror film. One aspect of the franchise is that the number of entries carries a certain prestige. There’s a reason the Fast and Furious franchise is making its tenth entry a big deal. It’s a sign of longevity. Success. Cultural relevance.
Through the franchise lens, calling it anything other than Scream 6 is silly.
Important motifs in Scream 6
Memorabilia from the previous Scream films
Scream 6evolves the series into a franchise. The nature of franchises is that they’re narratively self-referential, building off of the previous installments. Scream, being a meta-film, is aware of this, so calls it out, turning the trope into a literal and serious-yet-still-tongue-in-cheek aspect of the plot. It’s there to say, “Yes, this is the history of this franchise. Let’s all take a moment to appreciate what’s come before.”
But Scream 6isn’t self-referential just to be self-referential. It includes all of these physical elements of the franchise in order to leave those things behind. In doing so, Scream 6 announces itself as a kind of rebirth, a new direction. Something that’s made abundantly clear at the very end when Sam drops the Billy Loomis Ghostface mask on the ground and walks away from it.
Kirby originally appeared in Scream 4. She’s a bit of a surprise inclusion, especially as a fallen FBI agent. Legacy wise, most fans expect Sidney Prescott, Gale, and Dewey. But Kirby is one of only a handful of secondary characters to not only reappear but also play a major role in the story. She’s even set up as a red herring for Ghostface. And she gets the last on-screen kill by throwing the TV from Scream onto Ethan. Those are some pretty big moments.
The purpose of this inclusion reveals itself at the very end, through dialogue delivered by Kirby. She’s on a stretcher, leaving for the hospital, when she tells Sam, “If you ever need me, call. We’re all part of the same f***ed-up family now. And legacy doesn’t always have to be a bad thing.”
Kirby establishes that legacy characters can be used well and that everyone who has been part of the franchise is part of this big, weird family. It’s highly meta commentary. The actors, old and new, big and small, are part of this Scream family. And coming back, being included, can be good for everyone, actors and fans alike.
Questions & answers about Scream 6
How many Ghostface killers are in Scream 6? Who is the real killer?
If you count Jason, it’s four. If you only count the Baileys, then it’s three. If you count Jason and Sam, it’s five.
Who killed who in Scream 6?
Jason killed Laura, his professor.
Detective Wayne Bailey killed Jason and Greg. He’s the one at the bodega. So that’s at least three victims.
Quinn, the detective’s daughter, killed Gale’s boyfriend, injured Gale, and stabbed Mindy and Chad.
Ethan, the detective’s son, definitively attacked Chad.
We don’t know who killed Sam’s therapist or Anika and Quinn’s boyfriend. It would make sense for it to be Ethan, otherwise he barely does anything. He did say he was in Econ class during the attack on the apartment, an alibi that’s later confirmed. But, you know, “confirmation” in these movies doesn’t often mean much. Sam told Detective Bailey about the therapist, so the logic would follow that it was Bailey who then goes after the therapist. Except he could have sent Ethan or Quinn.
Is it Scream 6 or Scream VI
Technically it’s Scream VI but a majority of people use the easier Scream 6.
Was Kirby really crazy or did Bailey just make that up?
Kirby did lose her job as an FBI agent for poor mental health. But she was never Ghostface. The reason Bailey wanted to know more about Kirby is because Bailey was Ghostface so needed as much information about this wildcard as he could get. This detail also allows the filmmakers to, for a brief bit, misdirect the audience.
Who was the Ghostface in the convenience store?
I imagine that because this version of Ghostface was so good with firearms that it had to be Wayne Bailey. After all, he was a police officer. His bearing and demeanor and strength don’t really fit Ethan or Quinn. But the issue was that Bailey was just at a crime scene in capacity as a detective. So that means he’d have to leave the scene, change into the robe, then attack the girls. It’s logistically probably, just a bit complicated. But we don’t know how long it was between the phone call with Bailey and when the girls left the apartment. Sam actually has a completely different top on. So that points to at least a few minutes if not longer. Ethan is completely unaccounted for at this time. So you can make the case for him. I wouldn’t. But you could.
Does Gale live?
Yeah, we’re told she’s going to be okay. We don’t know if she’ll be back for another movie. But she definitely survived this one.
Are all the statements about family a reference to the Fast and Furious franchise?
Given how meta and self-aware the Scream series is and the emphasis of it becoming a franchise…I wouldn’t put it past them wanting to be like the horror version of Fast and Furious and making subtle nods to that through the whole “family” joke.
Is Scream 6a remake of Scream 2?
For the most part. I’d call it more of an evolution of Scream 2. It sticks to some of the major beats: college, finale takes place in a theater, Ghostface is the grieving parent of the previous Ghostface. So while remaining true to some of the core aspects of Scream 2, Scream 6 really found its own direction as it brought in elements of the franchise.
Who were Jason and Greg? Why did they want to kill Sam and Tara?
The opening scene involving Jason and Greg plays into the meta commentary on the horror world. Jason and Greg are copycats. They idolize the Stab movies and real events and decide to pursue it themselves. This shows the sad influence true crime events have on people. But it also represents all the movies trying to be like Scream. When the old school Ghostface shows up and kills Jason and Greg, it warns the public and movie studios alike about the dangers of imitations.
One of the subplots from the previous Scream was the online community that had built up around Stab (the diegetic movie franchise that’s essentially Scream). Richie and Amber became Ghostface to save the Stab franchise by making their own film. Jason and Greg were part of the same community. Knew about Richie’s film. And blames Sam for what happened to Richie. So they wanted to “finish” the movie.
How is Billy Loomis in Scream 6?
Sam has visions of him. So Billy’s not really alive. But whatever mental illness he had, Sam has some form of. It doesn’t mean she’ll end up just like Billy but we do see that there are some similarities.
Who is Sam’s boyfriend?
Lance from The Other Two. Pug from She-Hulk. Just a cool dude who lives in the apartment building next door.
Now it’s your turn
Have more unanswered questions about Scream 6? Are there themes or motifs we missed? Is there more to explain about the ending? Please post your questions and thoughts in the comments section! We’ll do our best to address every one of them. If we like what you have to say, you could become part of our movie guide!