Scream 6 is right around the corner and it looks like it’s going to be another great addition to the franchise. We have returning characters, new characters, a Ghostface that looks insanely unhinged, and a brand-new location. We have moved from Woodsboro to New York City.
The Scream franchise began with its first film in 1996 and reinvigorated the horror genre. It was innovative and fresh and a type of meta-slasher that we hadn’t seen done before. This franchise is not just horror movies for me. Scream is arguably my favorite movie in general. It was the first horror I remember watching as a child that made me start to appreciate films and their characters.
There were many things I was afraid of as a child. Watching Sidney fight off Ghostface again and again while still being vulnerable and unsure, in a weird way helped me grow up and become less fearful. We don’t have to just sit there and be fearful. We could fight back and be strong. I owe Scream for not only getting me into movies but for getting me into horror which I continue to love to this day.
I have decided to look back on the Scream franchise in preparation for this new installment to see which film is the best. Granted I love all of the films but there are definitely ones that stick out a bit more. Here are the Scream movies ranked.
5: Scream 3
Now like I said, I like every single entry in the Scream franchise. Just because Scream 3 is in last place does not mean it is bad. It just has more disappointing things about it than the other films. Those bangs on Gale did not work.
Sidney, Gale, and Dewey are back but this time in Hollywood. The change of setting this time around is a good idea. Another Stab movie is being made based on the events that happened to our main characters and they are there to be advisors. A new Ghostface is around though and ready to kill everyone on set.
The setting and characters are the best part of the movie. We have our main characters and the people who are supposed to be playing them in the Stab movie they are making. Parker Posey as Jennifer is a highlight of a character as she follows Gale around studying her in preparation for her role. Every Scream film has humor in it and the writing is back and as good as ever.
Unfortunately, everything else is a bit messy. The Scream film franchise has always been pretty meta but there is such a thing as being too meta that you almost become a spoof. Sometimes Scream 3 feels that way. Jay and Silent Bob show up because they are owned by the same company…I guess. I love them but they don’t belong in a Scream film. Carrie Fisher shows up and makes Star Wars jokes. It’s just weird. There is stuff like this that takes you out of a movie that is still supposed to be a smart slasher.
The killer here is also a problem. One of if not the weakest in the whole franchise. The reason behind the motive is silly and doesn’t really make sense. Also, the character is shown dead, but then it is revealed he was not dead. He is the killer. It’s not smart. It’s lazy.
Lastly, the kills really suffer here as they are barely shown. The violence had to be cut down due to Columbine. It definitely brings the movie down. Scream 3 does have my favorite final ending shot but since more sequels came out after, it doesn’t hold up as much anymore. Overall, Scream 3 is still a fun time and still worth watching for the characters we love.
4: Scream (2022)
The fifth installment in this franchise came after over a ten-year hiatus. The announcement of this movie scared me. Wes Craven had passed away. Kevin Williamson was not involved and I couldn’t help but feel that what we were going to get was a mess. Luckily I was wrong.
Scream 5 respects the fans and respects its own creator. Radio Silence, who directed Ready or Not made a fun, scary slasher film. The returning characters are great and the new characters are written well enough that we care about them pretty quickly. Jenna Ortega is a force to be reckoned with.
With each Scream movie, I always look to see what movie commentary are we focusing on this time. Scream 5 has a lot to say about fun slasher films and elevated horror. Horror with a message or purpose if you will. Jasmin Savoy Brown as Mindy is great at explaining all this and a lot of the meta stuff comes from her.
The kill sequences in this movie are fantastic. The Scream movies have been violent but this is probably the most brutal Ghostface we have ever gotten. You feel every stab and every bone break. The sequence in particular between Wes and his mother Judy is heartbreaking and so damn brutal yet beautifully shot and all in pure daylight. The humor is back as well along with the tension.
The motive didn’t work for some people but I loved it. SPOILER ALERT. The motive is basically that people are killing people because their favorite movie franchise has been ruined. This is so genius and relatable in my mind. I see people repeatedly complain, insult, and ridicule others every day due to movies. Movies being remade, recast, etc. Scream 5 does a good job of feeling current and fresh.
My only real complaint is that the character of Sam who is our new main character was kind of bland for me. It is hard to fill Sidney’s shoes so she gets a pass for now. Scream 5 is simply a great blend of stuff we have loved and new stuff to love.
3: Scream 4
This is the last Scream film that Wes Craven was involved in before he passed away. Once again, Scream took a ten-year absence before returning. This installment has a lot of commentary on remakes and reboots. During the time this movie was released, reboots were everywhere. I seriously thought this was just going to be another reboot.
Emma Roberts was set up as the new final girl and the original cast was getting old. I am so happy that Wes decided not to do what everyone else was doing. The motive in this one is simply, “I want to be famous”. Might sound silly at first but this was the era where Youtube and social media were starting to become huge. The motive makes sense to me.
The kills are great in this one but the new characters aren’t too memorable except for Kirby played by Hayden Panettiere who is easily the best new character. The dialogue is still sharp as well.
Some do not like the ending of this one. SPOILER ALERT. Emma Roberts is one of the killers here and after rewatching the movie, you can kind of guess it. During my first viewing though, I was so surprised because I was so sure they were setting up for a reboot. Emma Roberts goes crazy at the end of this movie and I love every second.
We get a final showdown between Sidney and her at the end and it is fun to watch. Sidney says an iconic line but it felt like Wes talking to the producers. “Don’t f*ck with the original.”
2: Scream 2
A good sequel is supposed to give you more of what you want. Scream 2 does just that. A bigger body count, higher stakes, and bigger climax. We get that while also getting a movie that stands on its own just fine.
There are some who don’t like this one. I’ve heard people say it’s slow and too talky. This is probably the Scream movie that has the most dialogue but I don’t mind this because it makes sense for the characters. Sidney just went through a horrific situation. When the movie takes its time and lets her just talk with other characters about how to move forward, it helps her character grow even more.
I don’t know how this movie could be called slow or boring when there is some of the most memorable stuff of the franchise in here. The opening movie theatre scene is so perfectly shot and directed. It is brutal and that is before the credits even appear. There is a scene where Sidney and her roommate have to climb over a passed-out Ghostface and man it is tense as hell.
The ending is action-packed and fun. The killers are fun. The soundtrack is awesome. Scream 2 is just a solid sequel that other movie sequels should take notes on.
Of course, this is the best one. Scream in my opinion is a perfect movie. The acting is on point. The kills are great. The script and direction are top-notch. There were so many slashers before this one but Scream changed the game. We got characters we care about and are self-aware.
Neve Campbell is a great final girl as Sidney. She is not just a victim. She is a fighter who makes mistakes but learns from them. Sometimes we get a character who is too dumb or too unstoppable. It is not relatable. We want to see our hero struggle and grow and we get that here.
The movie is insanely quotable and full of characters we grow to love. David Arquette as Dewey was supposed to die in this movie but Wes liked him so much, he kept him around. Billy and Stu are great characters and killers. We are not supposed to like the killer but people still want Matthew Lilliard to make a return.
As fun as the movie is, it is also pretty damn scary. The opening scene of this movie is horrifying. Every time I watch it, I forget how mean-spirited and bold it is. In the whole movie, we are told that the boyfriend did it and what do you know? The boyfriend did in fact do it. Why is this not a disappointing twist? Because of how good the writing is.
I could go on forever talking about this movie and why it is as amazing as it is. It came out at a time when horror was becoming stale and after so many years and so many sequels later, Scream still finds a way to be fresh.
Scream 6 comes out on March 10th everywhere.
Are you excited to see Ghostface again? What is your favorite Scream film? Should I buy more Scream merchandise? Let us know in the comments below.