Scream VI is a brutal, intense, and very solid sequel that sharpens the future direction of the franchise. It cements the delightful Core Four and weaves Gale Weathers and Kirby Reed into the mix. While fans absolutely want to know who dies in NYC, the bigger question is always around who is holding the knife (or perhaps gun). So, who are the killers in Scream VI and what’s up with that Ghostface shrine? The answer is equal parts surprising, baffling, and (for theorizing fans like me) possibly affirming.
The Not-Really Ghostface Killer
Scream VI does something unorthodox in its opening scene by having its first kill done by someone in a Ghostface costume who isn’t revealed as a final killer. In fact, Jason becomes one of the opening kills himself. So, does Jason count as a Ghostface killer? Not really. He’s more of a copycat, an imitator of the real ones.
The Scream VI Ghostface Killers’ Reveal and Their Twisted Rationale
In the final act, Sam, Tara, Mason, Danny and Kirby head towards the Ghostface shrine (more on that later) to execute the plan to trap and kill the killer. Detective Bailey, who has been suspicious of Kirby, isn’t totally down with the plan but doesn’t do anything to stop them, either. Sam stops Danny from entering the shrine because she’s still suspicious of him, and rightfully so considering her past.
Sam gets a phone call from Bailey saying that Kirby is the killer. The group realizes they are locked in and begin to panic because Kirby is MIA. She shows back up right when Bailey arrives and he shoots Kirby. A chase and scramble ensues where Chad steps in to defend Tara and Sam; however, he gets accosted and stabbed by not one but two Ghostfaces. (A franchise first!)
Sam and Tara are once again face to face with Bailey, who is indeed a killer. A Ghostface joins him…and then ANOTHER. That’s right, there are THREE killers in Scream VI and they are Detective Bailey, Ethan, and Quinn. (Bailey is positioned as more of a mastermind but still a killer. And thankfully there is not a Ghostface killer cult… technically.) While Mindy previously called Ethan, who was Chad’s roommate, out as a potential suspect, the crew thought Quinn died at their apartment. Earlier in the film, Quinn admits that she moved to NYC after the death of her brother. She also says her father transferred to NYPD to look after her. And, my friends, this is where the Scream VI killer rationale and twists come into play.
The Scream VI Ghostface Killers’ Motivations and the Ghostface Shrine, Explained
So, why did a detective and two college-aged people decide to go after Sam and Tara? It turns out that Detective Bailey is Richie’s father and blamed Sam for his death. There are so many Scream 2 parallels in this film that it is mind boggling. The killings taking place near and on a college campus and there are small references like Tara wanting to join Omega Beta Zeta. But this is the biggest tie in because, in that film, Billy’s killer mother Nancy Loomis wants to exact revenge against Sidney.
The group knew that Quinn is the detective’s daughter but it turns out Richie had a brother, too: Ethan. Throughout the movie, the killers “payed homage” to several previous killers. Ethan is wearing Nancy Loomis mask while Quinn wears Stu’s mask. And, while we never technically see Detective Bailey in costume, we know that he played a part in making sure the crime scenes left behind mask DNA from Roman, Jill, Richie, and Charlie. Bailey wants Sam to put on Billy’s mask, weirdly.
From this point forward, the rationale gets a little convoluted at times. Bailey explains that while the Ghostface shrine is registered to Jason and Greg, the two Stab-obsessed fans who were the opening kills, it is actually Richie’s spot. Some fans (it’s me, I’m fans) speculated that the only way someone could get access to items like the killers’ costumes, Stab 3 paraphernalia, and more would be if they worked in law enforcement. And that’s exactly what happened here. Instead of Richie’s dad helping him see a therapist, he fed into his son’s twisted obsession with making his own Stab films. He got these items to help Richie build a shrine. And, we even see a Richie-directed Stab film playing in the background during the final fight scene. Now, the Ghostface shrine is essentially a tribute to Richie. Very weird stuff, indeed.
Detective Bailey also messily explains how he covered up Quinn’s death, saying it was easy to do some body swapping and faking as a grieving police dad. Ummmm okay. There’s not much to dissect concerning Quinn and Ethan’s motivations besides avenging their brother. Quinn did take part in assassinating Sam’s character online, spreading rumors and feeding into the gossip mill that she was the real killer in Scream (2022).
Do the Killers Die in Scream VI?
Thankfully Tara and Sam are able to get the upper hand and take out the killers, with a nice assist from a not-dead Kirby. The most satisfying is Sam putting on Billy’s costume and stabbing Bailey mercilessly. Sam admits that her father is a cold murderer; however, she affirms that she’s not like him before finishing off Bailey with a stab to the eye. Sensational. Chad somehow survives along with Mindy, so the Core Four win this round. The cops arrive, Danny reunites with the group, Mindy shows up to be with Chad, and all is as well as it can be.
It’s not clear where this franchise will go next if there’s a Scream 7. However, the Carpenter sisters era seems to be modeling Sidney’s trajectory. Could they possibly have a mastermind secret sibling who will show up? Or, will they learn something tragic about their mother that puts them in harm’s way? We don’t know that but we do finally know who the killers are in Scream VI, and it’s an inspired choice to have a Ghostface family with a whole shrine.