The Reporter (Vacaville)
`Scream VI' star Melissa Barrera says NYC setting adds even more scares
The Big Apple meant bigger stakes for the latest “Scream” movie, star Melissa Barrera says.
“Scream VI” is the slasher franchise's first film set in New York and incorporates city staples including crowded subways, cramped apartments and busy bodegas as the newest masked killer to suit up as Ghostface stalks his victims.
“New York is a character in this movie,” Barrera told the Daily News. “The city becomes such a major player because there's just so many places where Ghostface can come from. It's unfamiliar territory for these characters.
“New York City just inherently can be scary,” she said. “It has that very hostile energy, and there's so many people but usually ... everyone's just minding their own business. If there's a fight on the street, people are going to walk past. They don't want to get involved.”
Coming to theaters Friday, the film is the second “Scream” movie starring Barrera. The NYU alumni debuted last year in the franchise's fifth installment. Her character, Sam Carpenter, is revealed to be the illegitimate daughter of Billy Loomis, a serial killer from the original “Scream.” Sam remains the focal point of the new movie as she grapples with her past.
The Mexican-born Barrera previously starred on the Starz drama series “Vida” and portrayed the aspiring fashion designer Vanessa in the 2021 film adaptation of Lin ManuelMiranda's Manhattan-set musical “In the Heights.”
“I've always wanted to surprise people with the things that I do,” Barrera, 32, said. “I never in a million years would've thought that I would be doing horror movies, honestly,
and when `Scream' came up, I think the only reason I was like, `Yeah, I'll meet for `Scream,' I'll read the script,' was because it was `Scream.'”
She added, “If it had been any other horror movie, I probably would've said no. I'm so glad that I'm in the franchise because it helped me rediscover my love for horror.”
Production for “Scream VI” took place on sound stages in Montreal, but Barrera saw the potential in setting the film in New York. The previous five movies all took place on the West Coast, including in the fictional suburb of Woodsboro, Calif.
“New York is a very special place for me,” Barrera said. “I went to school here. I always pictured myself here because I thought I was just going to do Broadway my whole life. I love working here. I shot `In the Heights' here. I just got excited at the prospect of it being set in New York and what that would mean for so many people. It's such an iconic city. Even if you've never been, you dream of New York City.”
“Scream VI” kicks off a busy stretch for Barrera, who also has the addiction drama “All the World is Sleeping” in theaters March 17 and the musical “Carmen” out April 21 in New York and Los Angeles.
Barrera, who stars alongside Jenna Ortega in “Scream VI,” believes the franchise remains popular nearly three decades after its debut due to its mix of horror, humor and heart.
“`Scream,' when it first came on the scene in `96, was such a departure for the genre,” Barrera said. “Killing off the main character that everyone thought was Drew Barrymore in the first 20 minutes just blew everyone's minds. The self-awareness, the commenting on itself, the making fun of itself, the light comedy combined with the horror, made it so unique.
“A big reason why people keep coming back is because Ghostface is always someone different, and there's a different motive, and it can be anyone. It's a very interactive franchise in that way, because the movie is playing a game with the audience.”