'Scream VI' Editor Discusses Building Suspense, Ghostface Reveal (Exclusive)

Scream VI is now in theaters, offering up new chills for the audience. Although Scream VI brings new scenery to the film via a move from California to New York City, the formula of the movie remains the same: a group of survivors, who are just readjusting to life following a brutal murder spree, suddenly finding themselves once again facing off against Ghostface, something that culminates in numerous deaths and, of course, the iconic Ghostface reveal at the end of the film. Warning: This post contains spoilers for Scream VI.

With a franchise that has spanned some 25 years, making a new installment feel fresh and not like an exact repeat of the previous films is no easy feat, and it's a process that spans from the script to the filming and all of the way to the editing room, where Scream VI editor Jay Prychidny, who told PopCulture.com he wanted "to delight fans as much as possible with new scares and surprises," explained he attempted "to be unpredictable in my editing rhythms to create bigger scares." To create those scares, Prychidny said he made an effort to "lull viewers into expecting one thing to happen and then doing something else." Although he acknowledged that "many films can fall into predictable editing rhythms," Prychidny said "varying the editing language of this film was one thing I did to try to keep it fresh," adding that as a long-time fan of the franchise, he was already "quite familiar with what the fans have come to expect. So one of the most fun things has been to play with those expectations! " But more than just scares, the suspense that builds throughout the film is a key element not just to Scream, but the horror genre.

"The lead-up to the kills are some of my favorite moments, compared to the kills themselves. Scream VI has some classic suspense moments like this, such as the scene where the audience knows the killer is in Sam's apartment, but no other character does," Prychidny said. "To me, the real key is having as much delicious fun with these moments as possible. I want to prolong these scenes as much as possible to keep the audience on edge without losing momentum. That's a subjective call – how long you can draw something out before it breaks. But I'm very pleased with how they turned out, and I think there are some really classic Scream-type setpieces in the film that stand up against some of my faves, like Sidney and Hallie crawling over Ghostface in the car or Maureen not knowing her boyfriend is the killer at the premiere of Stab."

It is only once viewers are on the edge of their seats and clutching the arm of the person sitting next to them that Scream enters its third act: Ghostface's reveal, a moment that Prychidny described as "the most difficult section of the film to edit." The third act killer reveal was "the most varied in terms of the sheer volume of footage, coverage, and tonal options to pick from," according to Prychidny, who explained that "for almost every line of dialogue, there were options that ranged from quieter character moments all the way to insanely broad comedy!" Although "being a bit crazy is what always makes the killer reveals fun in a Scream movie," Prychidny said he "tried to temper that with grounded character emotion as much as I could," something that resulted in "one of the best emotional scenes in the film."

"It takes them out of the realm of just being cartoonish villains to explore something deeper in their characters," he said of the third act. "There was also a huge amount of improvisation in that scene, so there was quite a lot of exploration in discovering which lines should be in the film and which take it too far over the edge. One of the most impactful lines in the scene is 'There's a very special bond between a father and his first son,' which was actually the setup for a joke improv line. But using it without the punchline actually deepened and enhanced the character relationships."

Prychidny added that "showcasing the characters' emotional aspects was one of the most important things" to him when it came to Scream VI. While Prychidny said that those slower, more emotional scenes "often come under fire when you are trying to reduce length," he said the "incredibly strong character scenes, especially between the Carpenter sisters... were some of the most important to the directors and me."

Scream VI is now in theaters. The five previous Scream films, including Scream (2022) are available to stream on Paramount+.