Scream 6, the follow-up to Scream 2022 (or Scream 5), has made a big decision about where it's taking the bloody action and, in so doing, has avoided one of the drawbacks of popular horror film series. Scream first hit screens in 1996, and it now includes four other films, a three-season television series, and merchandise. The series follows Sidney Prescott's recurring struggle against a series of murderers who adopt the Ghostface mask and the ripple effects of the bloodshed across successive generations of high-schoolers.SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY
Ghostface's victims in the Scream franchise are found in the small fictional town of Woodsboro, California. Forty-one people have been murdered over the course of the nearly thirty years that the franchise covers. However, the next film in the series is set to give Woodsboro a much-needed breather.
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Since locations have character and setting is an important element to plot, new scenery can open up doors of possibility—and new rivers of blood and gore for a horror franchise. That's why the decision for Scream 6 to take place in New York City instead of Woodsboro is so critical. Commemorating the location change, the franchise's official Twitter account announced, "Goodbye, Woodsboro!" If viewers were getting exhausted with all the bloodshed perpetrated in such a small locale, seeing the Ghostface mask in the City That Never Sleeps is bound to renew interest.
Scream 6 Is Avoiding A Typical Horror Franchise Problem
Four survivors of the Ghostface killings will leave Woodsboro and attempt to start anew in the Big Apple. The change in location highlights a common horror franchise problem: always returning to where the frights first began. Just how many times can Ghostface terrorize Woodsboro without it becoming boring? How long will viewers stomach Woodsboro's suffering?
Scream isn't alone in repeatedly centering its stories in the same location. Each of the 12 movies in the Halloween franchise take place in Haddonfield, Illinois. The soon-to-be 10 Saw films all happen in the same unnamed American city. While mining the history and mythology of a (fictional) location has its benefits, doing so at the extent to which horror films tend to do them can handicap the story and the characters and make each successive iteration feel repetitive.
Despite Scream 6 having a bevy of returning actors and characters, its location change might be aiming to quiet critics like Jeannette Catsoulis, who argued (via The New York Times) that 2022's Scream was "throttled by a corrosive self-awareness" and "so enamored of its own mythology that its characters speak of little else." While admitting that franchises "have always pandered," she argued, "Rarely has one groveled quite so thirstily for fan approval. The result is a picture so carelessly plotted, and so coarsely photographed, that it traps its cast in a deadening cycle of blasé snark and humdrum slaughter."
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Perhaps Neve Campbell's refusal to return as Sidney Prescott can be re-spun as a firm departure from the past and an invitation to explore new possibilities for the franchise. In fact, new scream queen Jenna Ortega has claimed Ghostface in New York City will "probably [be] the most aggressive and violent version of Ghostface we've ever seen." She told Entertainment Tonight, "Ghostface gets a lot more intimidating...it just gets more and more gory." Scream 6 is set to release on March 31, 2023.