Melissa Barrera, Jenna Ortega, and Courtney Cox return to the Scream franchise with Scream 6, directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett. Barrera plays Sam, the daughter of the original Ghostface murderer, Billy Loomis (Skeet Ulrich). Sam lives in New York City with her half-sister Tara (Ortega), and their inner-city college lives are upended when a new spate of Ghostface killings haunt the city.

The few good things about Scream 6 are the suspense sequences and some of the kill sequences. As a slasher movie, Scream 6 is technically well done. There is a scene with a ladder and characters trying to traverse two buildings that has some genuine thrills, and Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillett’s direction creates some serious tension during a scene on the subway. For fans who are satisfied with the basest requirements of a Scream movie, Scream 6 will do the trick.

However, Scream 6 is essentially a distillation of the franchise’s tropes. There is an obligatory meta scene in which one character attempts to solve the film’s mystery using horror film rules. It’s an expression of just how rote the film has become when she concludes that anyone in the cast could be the killer. At that point, the only satisfactory surprise would be an unknown, unseen, random killer. Sadly, the film did not go in any original direction, and I found the solution to the mystery unsatisfying.

All horror films require a significant suspension of disbelief, but the degree to which these characters have miraculous health care defies all believability. Characters survive vicious stab wounds and literally run around a couple hours later. Much of this can be hand-waved away in order to enjoy something in this genre, but Scream 6 goes to the same well so often that the film loses any sense of stakes or emotional investment. It would do well to remember that when Scream (1996) depicted the brutal killing of Drew Barrymore’s character – the actress who was front and center on the posters and whom many audience members specifically went to see – it defied the audience’s expectations and made us believe that anyone – even named actors – could die at any time.

Ultimately, your enjoyment of Scream 6 will depend on your commitment to and enjoyment of the franchise. Did you like the other Scream films? Well, here’s another one.