Scream stans, are you still with us after the departure of Neve Cambell? The sixth installment is trying to appease franchise devotees by bringing back Hayden Panettiere’s Kirby, but the next film will mark a serious departure for the series regardless. Not only will the movie leave its original scream queen behind, but it will also leave behind its setting: rather than Woodsboro, Ghostface will haunt New York City instead.
The change of venue makes sense for its protagonists, Sam (Melissa Barrera) and Tara Carpenter (Jenna Ortega), who are hoping to leave behind the trauma they experienced in the previous installment. Unfortunately for them, Ghostface will follow them to the new city.
“It’s, like 20 times more mortifying. It’s awful,” Barrera told Collider of what it’s like to be chased by the villain in a big-city setting. “Because you also see how, in a city like New York City, everyone is kind of doing their own thing and someone is screaming for help, and no one will come to their help. No one comes to help them, you know, like, everyone’s kind of like, “I’m not getting into that.’ So it’s mortifying, because you’re chased by Ghostface, but you also see humanity and how that reacts in a situation like that. Anyway, I think I’ve already probably said too much.”
So Scream 6 is delving into the bystander effect, huh? For those unfamiliar, that’s the phenomenon where witnesses to an emergency in a public forum fail to offer assistance, for whatever reason. The psychological concept was popularized after the murder of Kitty Genovese, and erroneous reporting that 38 witnesses had seen Genovese be attacked and had done nothing to help her.
In fairness to New Yorkers, one might assume that someone being chased by a masked villain was doing some sort of avant-garde art piece or filming a movie. (Very meta, if you think about it!) Still, we must all look into the darkness of our souls and ask: Would I step in if I saw Ghostface running after a screaming young woman? Hopefully the answer is yes, but perhaps the citizens of the Scream universe are simply too inured to masked serial killers to get involved.