Trey's Takes: 'Scream VI', 'Shazam!' sequel excite, Hulu exclusive disappoints

The sixth installment in the Scream franchise, Scream VI, released March 10, 2023.

2023 has been off to a relatively slow start when it comes to blockbuster releases, with a majority of my most anticipated films (“The Flash,” “Barbie,” “Blue Beetle” and “Wonka”) not premiering until the summer or fall.

Despite this, I got a chance to catch up on some of March’s movie releases after a much-needed spring break. Here are some of my thoughts on the new releases I did, and did not, get a chance to watch this month.

First, I watched “Scream VI,” the sixth installment in the horror franchise "Scream," on its opening day March 10. Adorned in my Ghostface T-shirt and socks, I was very eager to watch one of my favorite horror villains wreak havoc in New York City.

The film utilized the urban setting, which was new to the series stuck in the fictional town of Woodsboro, to the best of its abilities. The kills and effects were shocking, gruesome and quick, resembling the relatively fast essence of its location, and the returning cast of characters was a joy to watch on screen.

“Scream VI” featured some of my favorite scenes of the franchise, such as the Ghostface villain entering a small bodega looking for Sam and Tara Carpenter (Melissa Barrera and Jenna Ortega) and an emotionally-scarring ladder scene.

However, the scene that left me on the edge of my seat involved a long-awaited chase scene with Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox), the only character to appear in all six “Scream” films. I was gasping for air as my heart raced during the tense chase sequence, resulting in some of my favorite lines and skillful moments from a fellow journalist.

The ultimate highlight of the film, in my opinion, was the return of Kirby Reed (Hayden Panettiere), a character who was presumed to have died in the fourth film. The film was Panettiere’s return to acting after a short hiatus, and the film did her justice.

“Scream” is probably a top horror franchise of mine, and its sixth installment did not disappoint.

On March 17, a week later, I watched “Shazam! Fury of the Gods,” a sequel to 2019’s “Shazam!” and the 12th installment in the now-ending DC Extended Universe.

As a DC fan, I was highly excited to watch the film and expected positive reviews from critics after the first one received so much adoration. I was disappointed once I saw the Rotten Tomatoes reviews, which now sit at 51% in the critics' score, and walked into the film with lower expectations.

Unlike the critics, though, I enjoyed the film. Maybe it is my DC bias, but I found the overall tone of the film to be consistent with its predecessor. Some of the jokes did not land and product placements felt forced, but the film’s themes of family relationships worked well for me.

Action scenes felt energetic, strong and impactful, and the villainous trio of the daughters of Atlas (Helen Mirren, Lucy Liu and Rachel Zegler) was some of the best original villains DC had to offer.

Unfortunately, the film did not perform well at the box office, but after a few cameos were unable to appear in a post-credit scene, I am a bit pleased to see the "Shazam!" story end on a cheerful note.

The last March release I saw was “Boston Strangler,” a Hulu exclusive that premiered March 17. I saw the first trailer for the movie before “Scream VI,” and decided to check it out after I became bored Saturday.

The film is based on the true crimes of the “Boston Strangler” in the early 1960s and focused on Loretta McLaughlin (Keira Knightley), the Boston Record American reporter who broke the story of the murder’s connections.

Director Matt Ruskin does a phenomenal job at portraying the tense atmosphere that surrounds the two female reporters, McLaughlin and Jean Cole (Carrie Coon), assigned the story. However, the film becomes a bit slow after it tries to juggle the murder mystery, sexism in the workplace and a faltering marriage.

“Boston Strangler” was a rather disappointing first watch that failed to make me connect with its leading ladies. I did not learn much about Cole or McLaughlin, besides a few scenes of McLaughlin's character interacting with her family, and that made the film’s messages hold less weight overall.

The film is probably fun for an avid true crime enjoyer, but as someone who is not, I became very bored a few minutes in.

Outside of these three movies, only two more March releases have caught my attention.

“Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves,” seems like a cheesy, light-hearted watch for someone unaware of anything Dungeons & Dragons related. I have always wanted to try out the game, so I may do that before giving the March 31 release a watch.

I have seen the trailer for “A Good Person” twice, so I think it is destined for me to see the film. I will have to check it out because Florence Pugh is in it. Hopefully, its critic score on Rotten Tomatoes results in another Fury of the Gods moment.

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