The Scream franchise is one of Hollywood’s most iconic franchises, remembered for its distinctive style, violence, meta-commentary on films, and of course the terrifying Ghostface. The franchise also openly satirizes the trend of legacy sequels and addresses classic slasher films. The journey began in 1996 and 27 years later we are six films in and the franchise is still going strong. The late Wes Craven directed the first four films and the previous two were directed by Matt Bettineli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett. The most recent entry, Scream VI, hit the theatres on March 10, 2023.
The structure of the films has remained consistent throughout the years including the character of Ghostface and the element of mystery to his/her identity. The lead characters from the original film were the focus of the story in the first four films, but the focus shifted to another group of friends from the fifth installment, albeit with the involvement of the original characters. This franchise had had some up-and-down entries in terms of critical reception and audience appreciation but remains one of the most popular franchises in the industry. So, it’s time to rank all six Scream movies from worst to best. (Warning: this article contains spoilers)
6. SCREAM 3 (2000)
Scream is probably the most disappointing entry in the franchise. It did not reach anywhere near the standards of a scream movie. I went in with very high expectations, especially after the success of the first two films but I did not love this one. It also has arguably the weakest Ghostface out of all the Ghostfaces. It’s not a bad film, but just not very enjoyable. This was the first scream film not to be written by original writer Kevin Williamson, and his absence was very evident on screen.
5. SCREAM 2 (1997)
Scream 2 was a decent follow-up to the original film. But it felt rushed as they tried to do this sequel immediately after the original. But Scream 2 tries to raise the bar in everything including the kills and the meta-commentary, and it got a lot of things right. The ending was bittersweet for me, as I was not a big fan of Timothy Olyphant’s Ghostface. Another major event that holds this one back for me was the death of Randy Meeks, one of my favorite characters and his absence has been felt in the entries ever since.
4. SCREAM 4 (2011)
Most people believe that Scream 4 was way ahead of its time. It had lukewarm reception and the weakest box office performance of any scream film. Scream 4 was the final film to be directed by Wes Craven. This film also sheds light on the impact of social media, which was very refreshing. But this one for me had more tonal issues and lacked scares compared to the previous entries. But I still had a lot of fun with this one as the franchise had taken an 11-year break and it was great to have the original trio of Sidney-Gale-Dewey back. Emma Roberts’ Ghostface was one of the best twists of the entire franchise.
3. SCREAM (2022)
I was very skeptical when this reboot was announced, especially without the involvement of both Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson. The franchise had taken another 11-year break and was returning with a new cast and a new group of friends this time. But I was glad that I was wrong, It turned out to be a breath of fresh air. Jack Quaid’s Ghostface reveal was amazing. I would even argue that a soft reboot like this one was exactly what the franchise needed. The new directors and writers also proved that there was still a lot of life left in this franchise.
2. SCREAM VI (2023)
The latest entry raises the bar from the fifth installment and plays around with the formula in a very creative manner which works extremely well with the film’s idea. I wondered what they could do next to continue building on a great fifth film, but It definitely lives up to the legacy set by its predecessors. This is the first time we got more than two Ghostfaces in a movie and I genuinely believe that this one is the most atmospherically chilling entry in the entire franchise and I had a blast with it.
1. SCREAM (1996)
The first scream movie is quite simply, a masterpiece without a doubt. Right from the opening sequence, it sets the tone for what’s to come, and what we get is a scary, brutal, and suspenseful journey with charming characters and such a unique style, I was instantly all in. It kept me on the edge of my seat throughout its runtime. Billy Loomis is arguably the best Ghostface of the entire franchise and he introduced us to one of the most terrifying characters in cinematic history. This film reinvented the slasher genre and gave birth to what has today become an iconic franchise.
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