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‘Scream 6’ Ending Explained: Ghostface Unmasked

Learn who did it in the latest slasher sequel

“Scream VI” is here, a little more than a year after the last installment. And the body count is rising.

In “Scream 6,” Sam Carpenter (Melissa Barrera) and her younger half-sister Tara (Jenna Ortega), both survivors of 2022’s “Scream,” have moved to New York City. Tara is attending Blackmore University and not visiting any actual Manhattan landmarks because they shot the movie in Montreal. A couple of other survivors from the last movie, twins Mindy Meeks-Martin (Jasmin Savoy Brown) and Chad Meeks-Martin (Mason Gooding), are also along for the ride and attending Blackmore University. But wouldn’t you know it? A mask-wielding killer has arrived, once again, and targeted Sam and Tara once again. Of course, this wouldn’t be a “Scream” installment without some legacy characters, and Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox), still reeling from Dewey’s death in the 2022 film, makes her return alongside Kirby Reed (Hayden Panettiere) from “Scream 4.”

What makes the “Scream” franchise different than other slasher series like “Halloween” or “Friday the 13th” is, of course, that during each movie a new killer (or, more likely, killers) is unmasked. And, if you have questions after seeing the movie or maybe are all “Scream”’d out and still want to know who did it, we’ve got you covered.

Huge spoilers for “Scream 6” follow. Like the biggest spoilers possible! Turn back now if you don’t want to know!

Who is behind the Ghostface mask?

For the first time in franchise history, there are actually three killers. The killers are Ethan Landry (Jack Champion from the new “Avatar” sequels), who is Chad’s roommate and a student at Blackmore University; Quinn Bailey (Liana Liberato), who is Sam and Tara’s roommate and another student at Blackmore University (she also faked her own death, more on that in a minute); and Wayne Bailey (Dermot Mulroney), Quinn’s father and an unhinged NYPD detective who was previously investigating the recent rash of Ghostface murders. Quite a twist, huh?

But, like, what is their deal?

As it turns out, Quinn and Ethan are siblings and Wayne is their father. Their other sibling? Richie Kirsch, the “Stab”-obsessed murderer from 2022’s “Scream” (played by Jack Quaid in “archival” footage). As it turns out Wayne supported his son’s horror movie obsession … to an unhealthy degree. In his big monologue at the end of the movie, Wayne admits that maybe he wasn’t the best parent.

Are there any more killers?

There are, actually!

Wait what?

In the movie’s cold open, two other Ghostface copycats are revealed but then dispatched by one of the movie’s actual killers. (This sequence with the copycats constitutes the movie’s very gripping cold open.) Wayne and his kids go as far to further incriminate the copycat killers, to throw FBI agent Kirby and the rest of the survivors off the case. It’s an elaborate plan for sure!

What about Quinn faking her own death?

Early in the movie, Ghostface appears in Sam and Tara’s apartment. Ghostface appears to kill Quinn and her boyfriend and leads to the death of Mindy’s girlfriend Anika (Devyn Nekoda) in one of the movie’s very best sequences. But, as Wayne explains, her death was staged and a different, anonymous corpse was swapped in for his dead daughter. It got people off his trail and also allowed for him to be simultaneously distanced from the rest of the NYPD. Because the only thing more dangerous than an on-duty cop is an off-duty one.

What about Ethan?

He was just an angry nerd. Think of him as Randy (Jamie Kennedy) from the earlier films gone bad. (Mindy harbors this suspicious early and voices it often. She’s perceptive!)

Anything else to their evil scheme that we should know about?

It seems that Quinn has spearheaded an online whisper campaign against Sam, implying that she was actually behind the Woodsboro murders in 2022’s “Scream,” not her brother. Quinn and the rest of her family know that Sam didn’t really do it; it was masterminded by their son/brother after all. But if they can ruin her reputation and plant enough doubt in the public, then maybe these murders can be pinned on her too. And who doesn’t love a good conspiracy these days?

Does Sam, whose father was serial killer Billy Loomis, give into her dark side?

Well, she does get a flash of her father (once again played by Skeet Ulrich), who encourages to give into her killer instinct. And after much resistance, she finally does. And it ends up saving her – and her sister’s – lives. It will undoubtedly be something that the movies will continue to wrestle with, should they continue (and judging by the over-performance of the movie last night, that’s all but guaranteed).

Anything else?

The idea of a parental figure taking revenge via Ghostface murders is actually one of the first ideas introduced into the “Scream” universe. In “Scream 2,” one of the killers was revealed to be Debbie Salt (Laurie Metcalf), an overzealous reporter who was actually Billy Loomis’ mother. Famously, the script for “Scream 2” leaked during production and the movie was hastily rewritten to provide the movie with two new killers (the other was Timothy Olyphant’s movie nerd Mickey). Bonus trivia: the original killers were supposed to be Sidney’s handsome boyfriend Derek (Jerry O’Connell) and her roommate Hallie (Elise Neal).  

“Scream VI” is in theaters now.