Scream VI (2023) Movie Ending/Post-Credits Scene Explained and Meta-Commentary Analyzed: The sequel to last year’s requel (or legacy sequel), Scream VI, is a solidly done slasher that continues the bloody streak of the franchise in being consistently subversive and enjoyable. While the 2022 film that revitalized the franchise took jibes at the state of horror legacy sequels that began with David Gordon Green’s Halloween (2018), Scream VI continues the series’ meta-approach to satirize Hollywood franchise culture. Apart from its meta-commentary, the film also looks back cleverly on its prequels—resulting in numerous easter eggs and callbacks that are likely to amuse and please long-standing stans of the franchise.
In this article, we examine the film’s twist ending and dwell deep into the meta-commentary (and its subversion) that it attempts. Also, we would explore the numerous easter eggs in the film. As always, a SPOILER ALERT for the entire franchise!
Scream VI (2023) Movie Synopsis and Plot Summary
The Subverted Opening Sequence
The film begins with Laura Crane (Samara Weaving), a film studies professor who is sitting in a bar, waiting for her Tinder date to show up. The date calls her up, and in the conversation, we learn that Laura teaches twentieth-century slasher cinema to her students. The date feigns being lost in the alleys of New York and unable to find the bar. Laura steps outside to help him find the direction.
Suddenly, the date mocks Laura for walking into a dark alley despite being a professor of slasher films (a wink-in reference to the alley-kill in the Kevin Williamson scripted I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)). Before Laura can comprehend this, a Ghostface masked killer appears and brutally stabs her to death. But unlike the previous entries in the franchise, which cut to the film’s title after the opening kill, Scream VI subverts those expectations.
After killing Laura, Ghostface unmasks himself—and it is revealed to be Jason Carvey (Tony Revolori), who we later learn was a student of Laura’s. Along with his roommate and equally-deranged friend Greg, Jason seeks to kill Sam (Melissa Barrera) and Tara (Jenna Ortega), survivors of the 2022 Ghostface killings. Both are revealed to be film fanatics who want to complete the film that Richie did not get to finish.
Richie, one of the murderers from the Scream (2022), wanted to kill the sisters so that their death greenlights a new Stab movie—which would be as close to the original. Since Ritchie was brutally killed by the final girl Sam, his hopes did not evolve to fruition. Jason and Greg seek to fulfill Ritchie’s dreams by killing the sisters.
After killing Laura, Jason heads back to his apartment, where he receives a call from someone in Ghostface’s voice. Jason plays along, believing it to be his accomplice, before discovering Greg’s mutilated body stacked inside the refrigerator. Suddenly, Jason is attacked by another Ghostface who kills him—introducing us to the real antagonist of the film.
While Jason wanted to kill ‘for the movies,’ this Ghostface ends his killing by saying, “Who gives a fuck about the movies?”—suggesting that his reason for donning the mask is much more personal.
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The Core-Four Storyline
Following the opening sequence, we resume with the four survivors from the previous Woodsboro killing—Sam, Tara, Chad (Mason Gooding), and Mindy (Jasmin Savoy Brown). Tara, Chad, and Mindy are attending university in New York, and Sam has tagged along with them to take care of her sister. While all of them still feel the horrors of the last year’s tragedy, it has been especially hard for Sam. During a therapy session with Dr. Stone (Henry Czerny), Sam reveals that despite ending the Woodsboro killings, the world did not see her as a survivor.
Since she was Billy Loomis’s daughter, someone on the Internet put out a conspiracy theory that Sam was responsible for orchestrating the entire thing and that Richie was innocent. This has led Sam to become a pariah as people continue to deem her accountable for the murders. Sam further reveals to Stone that she felt a perverse sense of fulfillment when she killed Richie and wonders if she got this from her serial-killer father. Stone is horrified to learn of Sam’s confession and ends their session.
After her session, Sam returns to the apartment where she and Tara share a room with Quinn (Liana Liberato). Quinn is the daughter of Detective Bailey (Dermot Mulroney), who now works with the New York Police. Following the death of Quinn’s brother, Detective Bailey moved to New York to be close to his daughter.
As Sam arrives, Quinn reveals that Tara is out for a party. Sam arrives at the party and saves her sister from a douchebag jock who is harassing Tara. But rather than feeling thankful, Tara is vexed at her sister’s overt interference in her life. Following the fiasco at the party, the group returns home—joined by Mindy’s girlfriend, Anika (Devyn Nekoda), and Chad’s roommate, Ethan (Jack Champion). Unbeknownst to everyone in the group, Sam is also flinging with Danny (Josh Segarra), a mysterious hunk living in the adjacent building.
Back at the apartment, the survivors are jolted by the television announcement of a new spade of Ghostface killings that killed Jason and Greg. Quinn calls her father, Detective Bailey, who reveals that the killer has left Sam’s driver’s license at the crime site in a bid to incriminate her. The killer has also left the mask from the previous year’s Woodsboro killings. The detective calls Sam to the police precinct to prove that she was not at the crime site.
As Sam and Tara head over to the precinct, they receive a call from Ghostface, who reveals that he wants to torture Sam slowly by killing everyone around her. Before she and Tara have the time to react, Ghostface jumps at them from behind a building. Sam and Tara rush their way inside a bodega with Ghostface trailing after them. Ghostface shoots the bodega’s owner with a shotgun after the latter tries to defend the sisters. However, the sisters are able to escape in time by pinning Ghostface down with a showcase. The police arrive with Detective Bailey and take the sisters to the precinct, but Ghostface manages to escape before that. The police find another mask from the 2011 Woodsboro killings (orchestrated by Jill Roberts and Charlie Walker).
At the precinct, Sam and Tara give them alibies for the night. Sam also meets with Kirby Reed (Hayden Panettiere), who was her senior at Woodsboro High and a survivor of the 2011 mass killings in the town. Kirby now works for the FBI and decides to assist Bailey in the case. Outside the precinct, Sam and Tara encounter Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox).
Sam is annoyed at the fact that Gale had (yet again) written an exploitative book about last year’s murders wherein she had painted Sam as psychotic and deranged. Angered at her actions, Tara punches Gale threatening her to stay away (repeating Sidney’s iconic gesture from Scream and Scream 2). Gale sincerely tells the sister she wants to help them catch the killer. She also reveals that Sidney Prescott has taken her family to a safe location following this recent buzz around the killings. While happy for Sidney, Sam and Tara refuse Gale’s help, believing her to be opportunistic and incorrigible.
Around the same time, Ghostface kills Dr. Stone at his apartment and takes Sam’s file from his cabin. Continuing his trend, Ghostface leaves the mask of Roman Bridger (the killer from Scream 3 and Sidney’s half-brother).
Meanwhile, Mindy, the film geek, addresses Chad, Quinn, Anika, and Ethan about the rules of legacy franchises. Mindy suggests that since this is a sequel to a legacy sequel—its stakes are incredibly high, and surviving legacy characters (like Gale, Kirby, and Sidney) are entirely disposable.
During the night, Chad, Mindy, Anika, Sam, and Tara hang out at the apartment. Chad suggests the goofy title of “Core-Four” for them, and the group enjoys a pleasant camaraderie. Suddenly the group hears loud noises coming from inside Quinn’s room. Initially believing it to be her regular loud sex, the group is horrified when Ghostface appears and throws Quinn’s corpse on them. Chad and Tara manage to escape from the apartment. Anika, Sam, and Mindy hide in a room and decide to climb to Danny’s apartment using the ladder he throws at them. While Sam and a wounded Mindy manage to escape, Ghostface topples the ladder killing Anika. This time he leaves the masks used by Mickey and Mrs. Loomis (from Scream 2).
When the police arrive, Detective Bailey is heartbroken to see his daughter dead. When Ethan comes later, an angry Chad confronts him for being absent, but Ethan reveals he was studying the entire night. Gale and Kirby arrive at the crime scene—and Gale takes them to an old cinema theatre where a shrine of previous Ghostface killings has been set up, including masks, capes, and victim’s clothing. The group makes a decision to lure Ghostface into this shrine to execute him.
With Kirby and Bailey’s help, the friends manage to locate Ghostface’s cell location. They realize that Ghostface is about to target Gale next. Ghostface intrudes inside Gale’s apartment and kills her boyfriend. Gale puts up a fight but is brutally stabbed by Ghostface. But before Ghostface can deliver a final blow, Sam and Tara show up, causing Ghostface to abscond. Gale is taken to the hospital.
Sam, Tara, Chad, Ethan, and Mindy meet up with Danny, and they all take a subway to return to the theatre. Mindy and Ethan are separated from the group during the process and take the next tube. Since it’s Halloween, several of the people are dressed as Ghostface. Amidst this confusion, the ‘real’ Ghostface takes cover and stabs Mindy in the gut. She is, however, saved, and the authorities take her to the hospital.
Sam, Tara, Chad, and Kirby arrive at the theatre. Suspicious of everyone around her, Sam refuses to let Danny inside, and he willingly agrees. As the four of them prepare to trap Ghostface, Sam receives a call from Detective Bailey, who reveals that Kirby had previously been fired from the FBI for being mentally unstable and cannot be trusted.
Sam warns Tara and Chad, but two Ghostface killers attack them and take down Chad. An injured Kirby appears, revealing that the killers stabbed her, but Sam does not believe her. Suddenly, Bailey arrives and shoots Kirby—shocking Tara and Sam.
Who are the Killers, and What Was Their Motive?
The other two killers are unmasked as Ethan and Quinn, who Bailey reveals are his children. Bailey reveals that since he was the detective, it made it easy for him to fake Quinn’s death, as no one would question a grieving cop. The trio seeks to frame Sam for all the murders by making her wear the Ghostface mask originally donned by her father, Billy Loomis.
It is revealed that Bailey was Richie’s father, with Ethan and Quinn as his younger siblings. They seek to avenge Richie’s death by holding Sam responsible and completing the ‘movie’ that Richie wanted to make by killing Sam in the previous installment. Moreover, Quinn reveals that she was the one who originally started the rumors of Sam being the actual killer in the Woodsboro slayings.
Sam and Tara manage to evade the killers when a still-alive Kirby shoots Quinn. As they rush towards the balcony exit, Tara slips, but Sam holds her. The three killers catch up and corner the sisters. Tara requests that her sister trust her and let her go. Sam does as follows—and Tara falls down on Ethan and stabs him. Meanwhile, Sam shoots Quinn in the head. She finally dons her father’s mask to taunt and lure Bailey before brutally stabbing him to death.
As the sisters reconcile, they are attacked by Ethan, but an injured Kirby manages to kill him by throwing the television set (that Sidney had used to kill Stu Macher) on his head. The police rescue Kirby, Sam, and Tara. It is also revealed that Chad managed to survive the stabbings—and he is joined by Mindy, who accompanies him to the hospital. Kirby suggests that the sisters keep in touch with her as they are now part of one strong family.
Before the film ends, Sam again looks at the Ghostface mask donned by her father—reflecting upon the darkness inside her. However, Sam chooses to throw the mask away and follows Tara into the police precinct—choosing to let go of her past, however dark it might have been.
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Scream VI: The Meta-Commentary and Post-Credits Scene Explained
Just like every other Scream film, the sixth entry attempts meta-commentary at Hollywood film culture. While its prequel dissected the tradition of making legacy sequels/requels (films that rebooted the franchise with ties to the original), Scream VI targets the culture of film franchises. In an era where superhero franchises and sequels seem to reign at the box office, Scream VI reiterates the tropes and cliches of such franchises—in an attempt to subvert them. For instance, citing the example of Luke Skywalker, Mindy states how legacy characters in requels are disposable as they are deemed not as integral to the plot as the new characters.
Legacy characters like Kirby and Gale should have been killed in the new film by this logic. However, Scream VI tries to subvert this trope by allowing both the final girls to survive and live in this era of Ghostface slayings. Like the original, where Sidney survived despite losing her virginity, Scream VI goes against the rule by granting both legacy characters armor.
The film’s post-credits scene (which many missed) is a parody of the practice of post-credits in itself (like Deadpool). In the post-credits scene, Mindy proclaims that “not every film needs to have a post-credits scene” before the screen cuts to black. By doing this, the film satirizes Hollywood’s practice of baiting the audience into staying for the credits to prepare them for the next entry into the franchise.
Scream VI and Scream 2 Similarities Explained
Another aspect of Scream VI worth analyzing is its relation to Scream 2 (1997). Even though this is the sixth entry in the franchise, Scream VI is essentially a direct sequel to Scream (2022), like Scream 2 (1997) was to Scream (1996). As a result, there are several homages the film pays to Scream 2 that are pretty intriguing to explore.
Firstly, both films move away from Woodsboro into a college setting. Scream VI is set in New York, while Scream 2 takes place at Windsor College in Ohio. But this spatial setting is not the only thing tying the two films. As Randy explained in Scream 2 about sequels being generally bigger and bloodier, his niece Mindy reiterates the same point about legacy sequels.
But the most exciting thing common to both films is the killer reveals. In Scream 2, the killer is shown to be Mrs. Loomis (Laurie Metcalf), the mother of Billy Loomis, who wants to avenge her son’s death by killing Sidney. Similarly, the killers in Scream VI are revealed to be Richie’s family, who wish to torment Sam for killing their psychotic son in the previous installment. The motive in both films is shown to be revenge and how it turns grieving family members into avenging murderers. Furthermore, the showdown between the final girls and the killers in both films occurs inside a theatre.
But as I outlined in my review for Scream VI, this sixth entry (despite its similarity to Scream 2) lacks the guts (pun intended) to take daring risks like the second film. With nearly every major character making it out alive of this carnage, Scream VI seeks to subvert tropes of movie franchises but appears to be playing safe while doing this. One could never say this for the first two entries in the film. Nevertheless, Scream VI remains a brutal and solid slasher that continues to cement the status of this meta-franchise as one of the genre’s best offerings.