Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Scream 6: The Most Disturbing Moments, Ranked

If a creepy voice on the phone were to ask someone the name of their favorite scary movie, there's a good chance that person would answer "Scream," Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson's 1996 slasher movie featuring a killer who is obsessed with slasher movies. Both a metafictional treat for horror fanatics and a razor-sharp thriller in its own right, "Scream" turned the slasher genre upside-down and inside-out, dissecting its rules and touchstones while laying its structure out on the floor for the audience to see, like so many intestines.

The "Scream" movies have always been as much about blood and guts as they are about wit, so it feels only appropriate that any discussion of "Scream 6" should note its similarly impressive balance of carnage and cleverness. Like its predecessors, "Scream 6" has no shortage of eerie moments and unsettling imagery, and enough twists to make your head spin off of your body. Plus, it just might be the most violent entry in the franchise thus far.

In "Scream 6," sisters Sam and Tara Carpenter (Melissa Barrera and Jenna Ortega) and twins Chad and Mindy Meeks-Martin (Mason Gooding and Jasmin Savoy Brown) leave Woodsboro, California behind to start a new life in New York City, only to find that the legacy of the masked killer Ghostface won't leave them alone. Once again stalked by a stab-happy murderer in a familiar costume, the "core four" survivors are forced to fight for their lives once again, solve the mystery of Ghostface's new identity, and try to put the past behind them once and for all.

Brace yourselves for (spoiler-heavy and super-gory) details; below is a breakdown of the most disturbing "Scream 6" moments.

8. The opening murders

Ever since being shocked by the opening moments of the original, "Scream" fans have known that it's never too early for characters played by big name actors to be killed off in one of these films. After all, the original Craven-directed phenomenon — in an homage to the premature departure of Janet Leigh in Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho" — opened with the gruesome death of Casey Becker, played by the film's most recognizable star at the time, Drew Barrymore

Most films in the franchise have since opened with a murder (this is a slasher series, after all), but it's actually been a while since a "Scream" movie began with the death of one of its advertised stars. Jada Pinkett's Maureen was murdered in the teaser to "Scream 2" back in 1997, and Liev Shreiber's Cotton Weary was knocked off in the opening of 2000's "Scream 3," but the next two chapters deliberately subverted this expectation. "Scream 4" began with a series of meta misleads before finally giving the audience its first two kills (TV stars Aimee Teegarden and Britt Robertson) and Jenna Ortega's character actually survived the first Ghostface attack in 2022's "Scream."

"Scream 6," for its part, appears to play this expectation straight when it introduces Samara Weaving's Professor Laura Crane (again, likely a "Psycho" reference), only for her to be murdered before the opening titles. Her death by stabbing in a Manhattan alleyway is violent and upsetting, but this alone wouldn't necessarily shock a seasoned "Scream" fan. This time around, however, the killer's identity is revealed immediately, and it's quite surprising: college student Jason Carvey, portrayed by Flash Thompson from the Tom Holland "Spider-Man" films, actor Tony Revolori. 

This twist is only setting up the next one, as Jason is dispatched shortly thereafter by the film's true villain. And just like that, two of the faces on the poster have been dispensed with, and the film isn't even ten minutes in. Like the first film's opening twist, such moves put the audience off balance from the very beginning. It's all in keeping with the spirit of Hitch, who was so famously devoted to his "Psycho" secret that he wouldn't let people enter the theater after the movie began.

7. Chad gets stabbed mid-kiss

"Scream 6" establishes Chad, the hunky sweetheart, as a romantic foil to Tara. This feels like a twist in itself, as the two characters don't get to spend much time together in the first film, but actors Mason Gooding and Jenna Ortega share enough chemistry that it's easy to get onboard this particular ship. After all, it's been ages since "Scream" introduced a new romantic relationship between lead characters. Gale Weathers and Dewey Riley were on and off for five films, and the only reason Sidney Prescott's new husband is still alive is likely because fans have never seen him on screen. It's about time two of these Woodsbury teens got together.

After their first attempt at a kiss is interrupted early in the film, the pair once again becomes too busy fending off Ghostface attacks to make another. That is, until the third act, when they finally capitalize on a quiet moment while waiting for Ghostface to step into a trap they've set up at the killer's secret lair. Chad and Tara share a tender kiss, only for their embrace to be broken when Tara is stabbed in the back. The assailant is Chad's roommate Ethan (one of the films' three main Ghostface killers), and Chad subsequently gets shanked in the side several more times while buying Tara time to escape.

This appears to be the end for Chad, and it's pretty shocking, though not as gory as a lot of the film's other kills. This is possibly because it is not, in fact, a kill. For the second consecutive movie, Chad appears to be stabbed to death but is eventually carted out of the crime scene on a gurney, miraculously clinging to life, which takes some of the bite out of the scene.

6. Gale goes down swinging

"Scream 6" gives its viewers plenty of notice that "legacy characters" are on the chopping block. Resident horror nerd Mindy makes a point of telling the crew that, in the "franchise film" they're living through, the old guard is basically just here to get killed. The killer gives Gale the same warning over the phone when he calls her for the very first time in the franchise, which itself feels like an omen that her story has come to its conclusion.

Still, nothing quite prepares a viewer for the violent shock of seeing a beloved character murdered. Ghostface invades Gale's Manhattan apartment and quickly disposes of her boyfriend, Brooks. (Gale's indifference to his death is kind of disturbing in itself.) After putting up an impressive fight, nearly outsmarting the killer, Gale is pinned down on the floor and stabbed in the gut. Sam Carpenter arrives to chase off Ghostface before he can do any more damage, but the event has an air of finality to it, right down to Gale exhaling some memorable last words.

"Tell Sidney he never got me," she whispers to Sam with what seems like her last breath.

This moment, too, would rank higher on the list if audiences didn't learn at the end of the film — via dialogue, no less — that Gale has survived the encounter. Gale has cheated death before, even walking off a bullet to the chest in "Scream 2," but Gale's encounter with Ghostface in "Scream 6" feels visceral and final when it happens. Turning out to be yet another false alarm, the scene will probably lose much of its intensity (and by extension, effectiveness) on repeat viewings.

5. Sam suits up

The new series heroine introduced in the fifth "Scream" film, Sam Carpenter, has a darkness inside her. The secret daughter of original Ghostface Billy Loomis, Sam is haunted by visions of her murderous father, and has apparently inherited his predisposition towards violence. She keeps a handle on herself through medication and mental discipline, but she's got a vicious streak that comes out when she's under pressure. Viewers first saw her cut loose at the end of 2022's "Scream" when she repeatedly stabbed her murderous boyfriend Richie Kirsch in the brutal fashion typically employed by Ghostface.

In "Scream 6," Sam struggles to cope with the sense of satisfaction she felt while butchering Richie, while being accused of being the real 2022 Ghostface by conspiracy theorists on the internet. The online rumors turn out to be part of a scheme engineered by Richie's father, Detective Wayne Bailey, whose end goal is to frame Sam as the new Ghostface. Bailey traps Sam in a secret Ghostface museum that Richie curated before his death, whose artifacts include the masks worn by every previous Ghostface. Throughout the film's climax, Bailey urges Sam to put on the mask of Billy Loomis and fulfill her destiny — by dying in it.

Surprisingly, Sam eventually does choose to put on her father's mask, for only as long as it takes to kill Bailey Ghostface style, stabbing him multiple times in the face and abdomen. This marks the first time one of the series heroes has put on the iconic mask, technically making Sam Carpenter the fourteenth Ghostface. It's the only occasion in which a Ghostface killing is framed as a victory, and the only time Ghostface gets the final kill in a "Scream" film. It's a bizarre and effective twist, and quite unnerving.

4. Ghostface pulls a gun

The "Scream" series has always offered transparency in wearing its rules on its sleeve. There is always a Randy or Mindy type to tell viewers what can and can't happen, defining the danger the characters find themselves in based on the Ghostface killer's traditional obsession with horror movie cliches. Typically, whoever's behind the Ghostface mask is trying to reproduce the experience of being the villain in a slasher flick. This makes them dangerous, but also to some extent predictable.

"Scream" has one special rule, however, never remarked upon by its characters: When you're wearing the Ghostface mask, you're only allowed to wield a knife. Every single Ghostface has pulled a gun after their identity has been revealed, never before. There seems to be something about the visual — it would be like Jason Vorhees holding a shotgun or Captain America grabbing a chainsaw; it just wouldn't look right.

In "Scream 6," however, the new Ghostface does indeed break the mold. During Sam and Tara's first confrontation with the new Ghostface on the streets of Manhattan, the Carpenters seek shelter in a bodega, where the shopkeeper attempts to defend his store with a shotgun. Whereas previous killers might have stabbed the gunman and threw the rifle away, this Ghostface has no compunctions against stealing the weapon and shooting up the place with it.

Footage of a gun-toting Ghostface scandalized "Scream" fans on social media from the moment it first appeared in the trailers, and it's no less weird to see in the context of the film. The sense of danger around the familiar movie monster is immediately increased, at least for the duration of this sequence. For the rest of the film, Ghostface more or less follows the usual rules.

3. Anika falls

As viewers catch up with Mindy Meeks-Martin in the beginning of "Scream 6," she's a college freshman, lounging at a frat party with her new girlfriend Anika (Devyn Nekoda). Anika is immediately cool and likable, which in the world of "Scream" can only mean one of two things: Either she's secretly the killer, or she's not long for this world.

Sadly, Anika receives perhaps the most brutal death of "Scream 6," when Ghostface invades Sam and Tara's apartment while the rest of the gang is visiting. After Ghostface appears to murder their roommate Quinn, the survivors are forced to flee the apartment by crawling out a bedroom window and crossing to a neighbor's place via a narrow ladder over a gap several stories high. Anika is the last to cross the gap, already badly wounded by Ghostface's knife. By the time she gets halfway across, Ghostface has broken into the bedroom and taken hold of the ladder, shaking it violently until Anika loses her grip, plummeting to the concrete below. The film then offers a close-up on her gnarly, bashed-in head.

Most of the "Scream 6" victims and targets are slasher film veterans able to keep themselves together throughout the violence, but this is Anika's first encounter with a masked killer, so her reaction is much closer to your average innocent horror movie victim. She screams, cries, begs for her life, and then suffers a horrible death. It's par for the course in a horror movie, but the fact that she's the only character who gets a prolonged, screaming death in "Scream 6" makes it hit home. Metatextually, this is important, as Anika turns out to be the only member of this movie's gang who is actually murdered by Ghostface.

2. Sam mocks a grieving father

In a slasher film, it's a necessity that some moments need to be viscerally upsetting. After all, there are blood and guts splattering everywhere, knives rending skin and bone, homes invaded and innocent lives lost. Once the tables turn, and the heroes have the upper hand on the villains, then it becomes time for catharsis, one-liners, and splendid, righteous revenge. For instance, Tara executing murderous creep Ethan and quipping "Die a virgin," is about the right level of nasty.

However, one of the leads of the rebooted "Scream" franchise is Sam Carpenter, who wrestles with some truly psychotic impulses, and her capacity for cruelty is, appropriately, a bit beyond the average audience's comfort level. During the final confrontation with the three new Ghostfaces, who turn out to be the late Richie Kirsch's surviving family, Sam shoots her treacherous roommate Quinn in the head, right in front of her father, Detective Wayne Bailey. 

Sam kills Quinn in self-defense, but the figurative twist of the knife comes when Sam has the gall to smirk about it while standing face-to-face with Bailey. Yes, Bailey is a serial killer and he's earned his comeuppance, but there's something shocking about the film's hero relishing in the pain of a guy who's just watched his last two offspring die violent deaths. Sidney Prescott and Gale Weathers could be pretty cutthroat (remember last year, when they set a teenager on fire?), but Sam is on another level.

1. The subway scene

Without question, the greatest cinematic triumph of "Scream 6" is in the tooth-grindingly tense subway sequence, in which Sam, Tara, Chad, and "Cute Boy" Danny brave a long subway ride crowded with costumed strangers celebrating Halloween, some of whom are even dressed as Ghostface. Making matters worse, Mindy and Ethan (who hasn't been revealed yet to be one of the killers) are stuck on a separate train, five minutes behind them. In a protracted, mostly wordless sequence, the heroes attempt to keep an eye on anyone who might turn out to be a threat, an impossible task as passengers are being shuffled about at each stop. The killer could be anyone here, on either train.

Finally, Mindy finds herself cornered at the end of a subway car and is stabbed in the abdomen by one of the "real" Ghostface killers, while the dozens of strangers around her remain oblivious.

Slasher movies often play on the fear of being caught alone and unaware, but the subway sequence in "Scream 6" speaks to an even more terrible nightmare. Like the murder of Maureen in the packed movie theater in "Scream 2," Mindy's subway stabbing forces the viewer to acknowledge that one can face mortal danger even with countless people are around.

Of course, like so many of the other disturbing sequences in "Scream 6," this one would feel weightier if Mindy didn't recover from her injuries by the end of the film. While it seems likely that many viewers will be thrilled not to lose Mindy (perhaps the most fun of the new "Core Four" in these films), in the bloodiest "Scream" to date, it sure is weird that so little of the violence proves fatal.