It all starts with Scream 5’s opening scene, in which Tara gets repeatedly stabbed like a pin cushion and still manages to be the first opening victim to survive. It’s a nice subversion of expectations, but also a troubling sign of what’s to come. The third act of this movie has Sidney getting stabbed and Gale getting shot in the stomach; both of them walk it off like it’s nothing. This is also where Chad gets his first proper brush with death: he’s stabbed repeatedly, left for dead on the ground, then shows up again half an hour later in a stretcher, giving Mindy a thumbs up as the paramedics take him away.
This all feels grounded compared to “Scream 6,” however, a movie where characters get impaled by massive knives and still live to tell the tale. Gale, Mindy, and Chad each get brutal moments that play out as death scenes, where the music and acting seem to imply that this is their final moment. But with Mindy and Gale, their scenes keep going. The moment the paramedics show up at Gale’s apartment or when Ethan takes Mindy out of the subway, it’s clear that both of them are going to make it out of this after all.
Chad’s fake-out, meanwhile, is on a whole other level. He gets stabbed a whole bunch of times, falls over dead, and the movie moves on. Nobody comes to help him for at least half an hour. Whereas Mindy and Gale’s survival kind of makes sense in that horror movie logic sort of way, Chad’s recovery is the most blatant screw-the-audience reveal in the series so far. It’s the sort of thing that makes you wonder if anything that happens in these movies actually matters.