Ranking Every “Scream” Movie (including “Scream VI”)

Every few years, Scream serves as a meta commentary on the state of horror.  Scream tackled slashers, Scream 2 did sequels, Scream 3 analyzed trilogies, Scream 4 roasted remakes, Scream 5 satirized requels, and now Scream VI is here to…well it’s here to do something.  With its recent release, we wanted to look back on the franchise as a whole and update our rankings of every Scream movie!

Note: Spoilers Ahead for All 6 Films

6. Scream 4
Scream 4
Yes, it’s Wes Craven’s final film, and yes it introduces fan favorite Kirby and rightfully lampoons how remakes had completely taken over Hollywood.  But in all honesty, Scream 4 has a lot working against it.  It still wants to heavily focus on legacy characters like Sidney, Gale, and Dewey, but then also wants newer versions of all the classic characters.

So as a result, Jill Roberts, a random cousin we’ve never heard of, ends up being underutilized so that her reveal as Ghostface doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.  Clearly, it was trying to capture the idea of remakes, but it’s really more of a requel than a remake, and in hindsight, Scream 5 does everything this movie did, but better.

Plus, and we mean no offense to Craven’s directing, the movie itself looks absolutely terrible with some sort of strange digital filter over the picture that gives the movie a very washed out look that’s just not pleasant to look at.  Let’s be clear though, there are no bad Scream movies, and just because this one is in last place, doesn’t mean we don’t still like it.

5. Scream VI
Scream 6
Following up Scream 5 and its commentary on requels was no easy task, so we don’t want to hold too much against the newest installment.  It smartly gives us a new and interesting setting in NYC on Halloween.  And it really ups the blood and brutality of the kills.  There is absolutely no denying that Scream VI is an absolute joy to see in theaters with a large crowd.

That being said, Scream VI feels emptier than all of its predecessors.  Each movie feels like it has a unique take on horror, and while every sequel is technically a cash grab, this is the only one that feels like it really has no other reason to exist or nothing else to say.

Gale is there, but contributes nothing to the plot, and the Ghostface reveal is just a carbon copy of Scream 2, which did the family revenge plot much better. (You can read our full review here)

4. Scream 3
Scream 3
For a long time, Scream 3 was everyone’s least favorite entry, but it’s honestly gotten better with age.  Yes, it still has massive flaws.  The whole retcon that Roman was behind everything doesn’t really work, and at times it goes more into parody than satire.  But it actually does a decent job of roasting Hollywood itself.

And its major subplot about the real life horrors of the film industry have only become more uncomfortably relevant in recent years, especially when you remember who was the executive producer behind this series up to his rightful incarceration.

Plus, it managed to even poke fun at real life fan reactions to the Scream movies by way of the fictional “Stab” movies.  For a decade, this was the final chapter of a trilogy, and had it stayed that way, the Scream movies wouldn’t be any worse off than they are now.

3. Scream 5
Scream 5
Coming seemingly out of nowhere over a decade after the previous entry, Scream 5 was everything that Scream 4 should have been.  It introduced new leads to the series, utilized legacy characters, allowing them to pass the torch, and essentially remade the original movie (down to the love interest being the killer), all while commenting on and satirizing the very idea of requels.

Every “flaw” it had, the movie was well aware of and even winked to as part of the requel formula that the filmmakers knew the audience would be doing.  It even had the guts to admit that requels are nothing but fan fiction, all while doing everything that very same way.  But the difference between this and
Scream 4 was that this balanced its new characters well with the old ones, while actually giving them all something to do.

The fact that its Ghostface reveal was diehard toxic fans willing to kill people over their beloved movie seemed very fitting, if you’ve ever spent time on Reddit.  However, I did say back when this came out that it worked perfectly if they never did another sequel again, which of course they couldn’t resist…

2. Scream 2
Scream 2
For our runner up, it has to be the original sequel that lampooned the very idea of horror sequels.  Released less than a year after the original, Scream 2 does everything a horror sequel should.  It moves the setting, ups the stakes, ups the body count, and turns up the gore.

But what it really does best is giving us a cast of characters who are all still affected by the first movie in realistic ways.  It also gives us some of the best Gale/Dewey teamups as they work together to solve the case, and while it remains a tragedy that they had to kill off Randy, he goes out like a boss, screaming at this new Ghostface that they’re nothing.

And that final reveal is the perfect homage to Pam Vorhees in Friday the 13th!

1. Scream
Scream 1
Of course the original was always going to be the top spot.  More than 25 years later, and Scream remains one of the most influential horror films ever made.  It not only revived the dying slasher subgenre, but it showed audiences that a movie could be equally scary and funny, while also self-aware.

And honestly, horror still hasn’t been the same since, with countless new filmmakers trying to deconstruct the genre the way
Scream did. There’s not much more we can say about it that hasn’t already been said in countless other places.

But we will say this, Scream perfectly balanced slasher horror, teen comedy, and classic whodunnit mystery all into one, and from it was built a franchise that’s still going strong today!

Which ones were your favorites?  Let us know in the comments!

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