Movies: It’s a Scream! Ranking The Slasher Classic Films

Wes Craven changed the game with his fantastic revamp of the slasher genre in 1996. Scream was everything that society wanted in a horror movie, and it soon became one of the best movies of the year period.

Naturally, any success is going to breed sequels, that’s just the world we live in nowadays. The 5 sequels that followed the original were serviceable movies. They were meta and included as many horror movies tropes as one could jam into a film.

Now that we have just passed Scream 6 in the chronology it seems like the best time to look back at all movies. Where do they rank amongst each other, and which can call itself the best Scream?

Scream 3

There isn’t a movie in the franchise that could be called overall a weak outing, but someone must end up at the bottom. Scream 3 is going to be the one who falls on the bullet here folks.

Scream 3 was the red-headed stepchild of the Scream franchise. It was still a Scream movie at heart but there were so many things wrong with it. The issues within the movie took away too much from the final product to put it any higher in this ranking.

One of the biggest issues with the movie was the killer reveal. The identity of the killer is what drives each movie. It was what brings us all back to the screen and it was a ball drop for this movie. No one cared who Roman Bridger was let alone what his motivation was. It was an anticlimactic reveal to the film.

The performances from the main and supporting case was as strong as it usually was but they weren’t given much to work with. The dialogue was flat, and the absence of Kevin Williamson was noted.

Plus, the Cotton Weary character was wasted in the opening minutes of Scream 3. Another swing and a miss for the movie.

Scream 6

The latest installment in the Scream franchise has some great moments to the movie but didn’t deliver overall. The opening scene has become a calling card of the movie series, and this one was one of the best. It was the perfect build of tension ahead of the actual murder. It was also interesting to see the killer reveal himself in the opening sequence. It was not the movies final killer, but the subversion was a great way to begin the movie.

Unfortunately, the rest of the movie was a paint by numbers version of the series. It was predictable and the two-hour run time was a bit lengthy for the film. Some scenes, while entertaining, drew out for far too long.

The Core Four was entertaining as always and the set pieces using New York City were creative, but that didn’t make up for its shortcomings.

Scream 5

With the success of horror movie reboots, in recent years, it seemed inevitable that Scream was going to get the same treatment. It happened with the introduction of Scream 5 last year.

The beginning of the sequel was an entertaining entry into the franchise. The introduction of some new blood was exactly what the franchise needed. The main characters of Tara and Sam Carpenter were great in their roles. In addition to that the other core four characters, Chad and Mindy, added some great comedic interludes to the movie.

Outside of that the inclusion of some legacy characters, Dewey, Gale, and Sydney, was a great throwback as they were used smartly throughout the film.

Alas, this movie did suffer from some of the same problems that its sequel did. The killer reveal was anticlimactic. The red herrings throughout did little to throw the scent off Richie and Amber.

The movie was also too much of a revamp from the originals. There wasn’t much new ground being broken and it didn’t help to set this movie apart from the rest.

Scream 4

This may get some hate for having it ranked highly on the list but Scream 4 was a great movie and one of the best of the franchise. After the dismal Scream 3 there was a need for better closure to the franchise, we got parts of that in Scream 4.

Scream 4 was made in a different technological age that the previous trilogy. The internet and all the associated technology were incorporated into the movie heavily. With the meta nature of the franchise this was an interesting idea and one that brought fresh legs to the movie.

This one also had something that push it above the others on the list and that was the killer reveal. While Charlie showing himself to be a killer could have been seen coming, no one could have predicted Jill as his partner.

While this movie was a revamp of the original movies it didn’t have the same staleness as those that came before it on the list. The script was tight, and it felt like a refresh of the entire franchise as opposed to a flat-out copy.

In the end this was a great reboot of the franchise and one that should be considered one of the best entries in the Scream franchise.

Scream 2

Following the massive success of the first movie a sequel was quickly rushed into production. With that one would think the movie would suffer but Scream 2 was an excellent sequel to the original.

Moving the film to a university was the next logical step for the franchise, and one that worked well. It meant more of a supporting cast and contrasting set pieces to the original. This helped to set the movie apart from its predecessor while still maintaining the allure of the first film.

Naturally, having Dewey, Sydney, Gale and Randy return was great but there were some new characters that added some depth. Cotton Weary getting a larger part in the movie was fantastic and he along with Derek provided us with a few red herrings to consider.

The killer reveal was not as great as the original, or 4 for that matter, but the continuity it maintained was perfect. Billy’s mother being the mastermind of the killings made sense as revenge for her son’s murder

The movie also excelled at its kills. From the opening number to the shock of Randy Meeks meeting his end, Scream 2 delivered on some great kills that put it above others on the list.


Was there really any doubt as to which movie would top this list? Scream changed the slasher genre. A genre that was languishing for years with the same old killer in a mask schtick. Scream took this feeling and added a meta layer to the entire movie. Everyone in the movie knew about the old horror movie tropes and used them to their advantage/disadvantage. It was a brilliant way to present the movie.

The cast of the movie was easily the best of the franchise. They took Kevin Williamson’s phenomenal script and brought it to life. Their acting was spot on throughout and we felt like we were part of the action.

The killer reveal, while predictable now, was a great piece of work. Throughout the movie we were lead down several paths to who might be the killer. It took us for a ride and kept the whole audience guessing right up until the end. Sure, its easy to say we knew who the killers were now but who can honestly say that they knew at the time.

Scream revitalized the horror genre. Before Scream the genre was stuck in a purgatory of movie making. There were no mainstream horror movies being produced. This was changed after 1996. The genre came back with a vengeance and that was all thanks to this classic.

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