When it comes to 1990s horror, “Scream” stands out from the pack. “Scream” in nature is incredibly referential, poking fun at the clichés and tropes of slasher movies. In doing so, it became a phenomenon in its own right and has become one of the most recognizable horror franchises of all time. “Scream” was directed by Wes Craven, who’d previously created the “A Nightmare on Elm Street” franchise. Craven would go on to direct the first four films before passing away in 2015. Kevin Williamson wrote the first, second and fourth movie—going on to create “Dawson’s Creek” and “The Vampire Diaries.”
Aside from referencing other horror movies, the “Scream” franchise follows a similar “whodunit” plot with each movie. In each film, a different character becomes the masked killer Ghostface and goes after final girl Sidney Prescott and her subsequent gang. Thus far, five films have been released in the franchise and a sixth is scheduled to be released in March of 2023.
Take a peek at our ranking of all five “Scream” films in the gallery below. Then let us know your favorite “Scream” movie in the comments section on social media.
“Scream 3” (2000)
This movie should get last place for Courtney Cox’s bangs alone. “Scream 3” is the only film in the franchise with a rating below 50% on Rotten Tomatoes and honestly, it’s probably the most forgettable movie in the series. We do, however, love how this film resolves around a film within a film concept, getting super self-referential and meta throughout.
“Scream 4” (2011)
“Scream 3” was originally intended to be the last film in the series, but they brought it back just over 10 years later. We enjoyed how this film was more modern and touched on more contemporary topics like social media or internet fame. And our favorite part was the clips of all of the “Stab” sequels featuring popular actresses of the time, which continued to build upon the universe of these characters. The reveal of Emma Robert’s character as Ghostface did feel pretty predictable, especially when you consider how typecast Roberts has become. Personally, her motivation for becoming Ghostface just wasn’t as believable as some of the other characters in the franchise.
Many horror classics have been rebooted in the last few years (“Halloween,” “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” etc.” and “Scream” was no exception. The most recent film, which bears the same title as the first film, belongs right in the middle because overall it was pretty middle of the road. We liked how they developed the recurring cast, particularly the direction they went with Gale Weathers and Dewey Riley. The new cast was also standout and we genuinely surprised by the Ghostface reveal.
Deciding the top spot was a tough one. The original “Scream” set the bar extremely high for not only the franchise, but horror going into the 21st century. It played off the tropes and clichés found in many slasher films of the 1980s and 1990s, satirizing and revitalizing them for a Y2K audience. “Scream” also has a very impressive cast of heavy hitters—killing off Drew Barrymore, Rose McGowan and Matthew Lillard. It’s iconic and if you see one film from this franchise, it should be this one.
“Scream 2” (1997)
This may be controversial, but we have to give the top spot to “Scream 2.” It can be hard for a sequel to match the success of an original film, but “Scream 2” does that and more. It puts emphasis on the pitfalls of horror sequels, which really set the stage for all the films to follow. Plus it sets the “Stab” franchise in motion and gives redemption to characters that may have been written as one dimensional in the previous film.