Ahead of Scream VI, Olly Dyche ranks the Scream franchise…
Slasher movies are a pivotal aspect of the horror genre. Delivering creative and overly gory kills, with stories and characters that are, for the most part, fairly two dimensional, they still make for highly entertaining horror flicks. 1996 saw a little horror movie known as Scream, which reinvented the entire slasher subgenre and helped pave the way for how we see horror movies today.
Horror legend Wes Craven and master horror storyteller Kevin Williamson teamed up to deliver the ultimate slasher, elevating the slasher sub genre with impeccable social commentary, compelling characters, and brilliant murder mysteries scattered throughout each movie. Scream is without a doubt one of the best and most consistent franchises in the horror genre, with each movie bringing something new to the table in interesting and jaw dropping ways. Sure, some are better than others, and with Scream VI just around the corner, what better time to rank every movie in the franchise from worst to best…
5. Scream 3 (2000)
As previously mentioned the Scream franchise is incredibly meta and full of some of the best and well executed social commentary in movie history. However, Scream 3 leans a little too much into its meta, making for an incredibly silly entry to the franchise. Does this make Scream 3 a bad movie ? Absolutely not. Whilst Scream 3 may not be as tight knit or as masterfully constructed as the previous Scream movies before it, it is nonetheless a lot of fun.
The voice changing device is ridiculous but allows for some pretty tense set pieces, as we, the audience, are put in the character’s shoes and don’t know if it’s the real character, or Ghostface pretending to be that person behind the door or on the phone. With Scream 3 being on a movie set, we also get to see some pretty cool cameos from the likes of Jay and Silent Bob, as well as the late great Carrie Fisher. The reveal is a little convoluted, the kills aren’t too memorable and there is a weird B plot involving a ghost, but Scream 3 is still a solid although silly entry into the Scream franchise.
4. Scream (2022)
Over a decade after Scream 4, 2022’s Scream was a highly anticipated entry into the franchise, introducing a whole new cast as well as allowing audiences to spend more time with our favourite legacy characters. Thankfully, Scream lived up to expectations and told a compelling story which didn’t center around Sidney Prescott, an aspect that fans of the franchise were worried the movie wouldn’t pull off. Likewise, its new cast of characters were brilliant additions to the franchise, with Sam and Tara Carpenter as well as Chad and Mindy Meeks-Martin being standouts.
The Ghostface reveal was somewhat lackluster, although it did lead to a pretty gnarly kill by Sidney Prescott and Gale Weathers. As a “requel” which the movie brilliantly touches on many times, Scream 5 has a lot of connections to the original in ways we simply didn’t expect – mostly with Sam Carpenter being the descendant of Billy Loomis, and the final act taking place in Stu Macher’s house.
3. Scream 2 (1997)
Scream 2 delves into more of the meta commentary we have grown to love with the franchise, being more obvious than the first, without feeling too goofy, like the aforementioned Scream 3. The first follow-up to the hit original plays with the sequel ceoncept, laying out the rules of a sequel as well as talking about some of the best movie sequels in history. The kills and set pieces scattered throughout the movie are some of the best in the franchise, with the phenomenal opening as well as the heart pounding crawl over a passed out Ghostface in a crashed police car.
Randy continues to be the best character, whilst Sidney continues to prove why she is one of the most badass final girls in horror history. The rest of cast is awesome with the likes of Timothy Oliphant, Jada Pinkett Smith, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Laurie Metcalf, Jerry O’Connell and Liev Schreiber all helping to make Scream 2 become so memorable. Overall, Scream 2 is a worthy and compelling sequel that cements our love for the franchise.
2. Scream 4 (2011)
Scream 4 may not be as masterfully crafted as Scream 2, but it’s still a lot of fun with a lot of compelling ideas that delivers an incredibly shocking Ghostface reveal we did not expect coming. The fourth installment into the franchise sees the most gruesome kills yet, as fans are treated to characters with their guts poured out on the floor, as well as a character getting knifed in the head and still continuing to blindly fight on. Once again seeing the legacy characters return after another 10 year hiatus proved why we love these characters so much.
Love it or hate it, the opening of Scream 4 is simply unforgettable. In perhaps the most meta that the Scream movies have ever been, we see three layers of kills that break the fourth wall in thrilling fashion. Perhaps this may have made the final kill pretty inconsequential in the audience’s mind, but it was an interesting avenue that we appreciate the film took us down. Scream 4 was wild, and although it’s certainly not perfect, its brutal kills, shocking reveal and unique opening make the fourth entry a great Scream movie.
1. Scream (1996)
What else could have topped the list but the one that started it all? Scream is without a shadow of the doubt one of the best slasher movies to date, offering an introspective and meta look at the genre as a whole, which had us in love with the film within the movie’s opening minutes. Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson provided a compelling story with layered characters that made us fall in love with them, even if we thought they may have been the Ghostface killer.
Neve Campbell, David Arquette and Courteney Cox are dynamite as the leading characters, and Skeet Ulrich, Drew Barrymore, Matthew Lillard, Rose McGowan and of course Jamie Kennedy provide great performances as the supporting cast, elevating Scream from being just another slasher to one of the best of all time, and one of the finest horror movies of the 1990s.
How would you rank the Scream movies? Let us know on our social channels @FlickeringMyth…