Scream 6 debunks the ultimate Sidney Prescott Ghostface theory that would have seen the franchise lead scandalously inverted. Throughout the film series its protagonist, Neve Campbell’s Sidney, survives and bests nine Ghostfaces and is the last character expected to inhabit the murderous persona. This assumption has given rise to theories of a potential face-heel turn which fuses with Campbell very publicly being absent in Scream 6. However, Scream 6’s Ghostface quashes the potential of Sidney ever making a shocking appearance as the killer and fulfilling her genre plot convention destiny.
Scream 6 follows the survivors of the Woodsboro legacy killings, committed by Richie Kirsch and Amber Freeman in Scream 5, to New York City only for Ghostface to return. This time the legendary mask is donned by three characters, Richie’s bereaved father, brother, and sister. The latter, Quinn Bailey, when facing off with Gale Weathers, addresses the Sidney as Ghostface theory, revealing to the audience that it can’t work because it doesn’t make sense, confirming to audiences that they will likely never see this theory realized and for good reason.
Quinn Is Right, Sidney Never Would Have Made Sense As Ghostface
The franchise’s distinctive trademark is its self-awareness. Scream uses self-aware characters and meta scenes and plot points and is constantly in dialogue with its cinematic predecessors, satirizing slasher films and subverting horror genre conventions. Quinn taps into these meta channels to confirm to audiences that the Sidney as Ghostface theory is a dead-end. For this theory to become a reality the Scream franchise would have to turn its back on both its identity as two steps ahead of the horror genre and its fans in the face of Sidney’s arc ending in this improper way, tarnishing the character’s meaning.
Sidney has already donned the mask and gown in Scream, however, she doesn’t become Ghostface. Rather, the anti-victim, subverting horror movie female victimhood uses the identity to survive, playing Billy Loomis at his own game before stabbing him with an umbrella. Unlike when Sam Carpenter, Billy’s daughter who wrestles with her perceived genetic destiny of becoming a killer, wears her Dad’s mask in Scream 6, Sidney remains the virtuous, ultimate final girl underneath. Becoming Ghostface would erode Sidney’s identity and betray fans’ conceptualization of what she represents. Campbell would hate for Ghostface to kill Sidney because it would evaporate her inspiring qualities and send the wrong message; as would Sidney becoming the latest Ghostface.
Scream’s self-referential DNA prevents Sidney from being revealed as Ghostface; it would be too obvious for the protagonist, the antithesis of the villain, moral and honorable, last on the suspect list to turn evil. This franchise, famous for appropriating the shifting genre conventions of horror and subverting and developing them, would be guilty of an anti-climactic, well-entrenched horror movie trope, featuring in films like Psycho and My Bloody Valentine. As Randy Meeks says, horror films follow a very simple formula; this would represent the simplest. In true Scream style, Quinn’s meta-comment acknowledges what is in its audience’s minds but, unable to let it play out, squashes the possibility of Sidney ever fulfilling these theories.
Quinn’s speech in Scream 6 could very well be misdirecting for Scream 7, perhaps hinting at a dark return for Sidney after all. However, this twist would necessitate a gauche deviation for Sidney to explain her sudden taste for murder after three decades of being the target of them. It would be difficult, for example, to justify that she snaps under the pressure of her sustained trauma, a two-dimensional, predictable motivation and twist in a franchise famous for fine examples of both. Further, given the history of Ghostfaces dying at the end of Scream movies, Sidney would have to be killed, disgraced, the franchise’s light snuffed out. Neve Campbell would never let that happen.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter