Horror Lists

Screaming Out Loud: What Is The Best Scream Movie?

Do you like scary movies? If so, the “Scream” film series certainly has an additional place of honor in the heart. Some viewers, like the writer of these lines, grew up in these films. I remember spending Friday evenings in some movie with my good friends, which we rented from the Blockbuster, which is, in most cases, a horror movie. On one of those Friday nights, I met Ghostface for the first time; we laughed at the scary or bloody parts and tried to guess who the killer would be this time (usually not with great success). Several more films followed, some more reasonable and some not, with many – probably too many – meta and reflexive references. When the franchise came back to life recently with a new movies and protagonists, I was already in a different place in my life. Those friends are already forgotten, so I often watch horror movies while the wife and children sleep in our living room. I enjoyed watching the nex “Scream” movies, with all their flaws, trying to guess “who done it,” mostly with myself… and feeling excitement, even nostalgia, with every kill or reveal.

At the current point in time, at the beginning of 2024, the fate of “Scream” is still unknown. A seventh film was announced a few months ago, but the franchise has been shaken up. The lead actress, Melissa Barrera, was fired after posting controversial posts supporting the Palastine and accusing Israel in “Genocide and ethnic cleansing” during the Israel-Hamas war. Shortly after, Jenna Ortega announced that she would not participate in the seventh film due to a “tight schedule” or something like that. If that’s not enough, the film’s intended director, Christopher Landon, has also announced that he is leaving the project. In other words, it is difficult to know whether the series will be able to come back to life and in what form, or maybe we will say goodbye to the franchise that is considered one of the most successful and beloved in the history of horror cinema, and indeed slasher films.

Best Scream Movie

The current point in time is excellent for doing an short summary of the franchise, attempting to understand which is the best Scream movie, and in general, how the audience and critics received these movies. The first place in the list of all Scream movies will not surprise you, but some exciting points remain. 

Similar to other parallel reviews we have done, such as “Final Destination” or “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” we divided the test of best “Scream” movies into three categories: the success at the box office, the rating of viewers through the IMDB website and the critics’ scores, as reflected in the Tomatometer – the weighted score of Rotten Tomatoes.

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Putting Scream Franchise In Order – The List Of Scream Movies

Even before we ask which movie is best in the Scream franchise, in all respects, let’s make some order in a mess with a short summary of all Scream movies in order. So how many Scream movies are there? And Will it gonna end soon?

Scream (1996)

Ghostface appeared in the world in 1996, with the first film directed by the genius Wes Craven (“A Nightmare on Elm Street.” And you can’t miss the appearance of Craven himself as the waiter Fred, dressed as Freddy Krueger). Kevin Williamson wrote the script, and it begins with the iconic opening scene in which Drew Barrymore receives a phone call from Ghostface and discovers that horror movies, ironically, can save her life (or kill her).

For those who have not been here on the planet in the past decades, “Scream” is about a group of teenagers in Woodsboro who try to survive a wave of murders by a mysterious man with a mask known as “Ghostface.” At the head of the company is Sidney (Neve Campbell), whose mother was murdered a year earlier. Sidney and her friends – including her boyfriend Billy Loomis (Skitt Ulrich) and fellas Stu (Matthew Lillard), Randy (Jamie Kennedy), and Tatum (Rose McGowan) – are being killed one by one, until we realize that some of them… maybe… stand behind the murders. 

The film introduced several characters who will accompany us for almost the entire series, especially the news reporter Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox) and the police officer Dwight (or Dewey, played by David Arquette). The film presented the main characteristics that would accompany the series, such as stylized murders, many reflexive and meta references, and, of course – the question of who precisely the killers are in each film.

Scream 2 (1997)

“Scream 2” (1997) was a worthy sequel that took reflexivity a few steps further. It opens with a scene during the premiere of the film “Stab,” which describes the events of the first film from the point of view of Gail, a murderer who slaughters moviegoers. After this excellent scene, we return to Sydney, who moves to college and tries to move on with her life with the help of the survivors from the previous film. But as you probably remember, a new wave of murders begins – along with another journey of discovering the identity of the killer (or killers).

Scream 3 (2000)

“Scream 3” (2000) is considered by many to be the weakest film in the “Scream” franchise, as we will see below. This time, again, Sydney tries to move on with her life and chooses a quiet location in Southern California, just as one of the sequels to “Stab” is being filmed. But as you probably remember again, a new wave of murders begins again – along with another journey of discovering the identity of the killer (or killers). Without making spoilers, this film was the most extreme so far in terms of conforming to the rules of the genre.

Scream 4 (2011)

We continue to “Scream 4” (2011), which begins with a crazy and self-aware meta scene. The plot takes place 15 years after the Woodsboro murders, the franchise from which “Stab” has already reached the seventh film. This time, Sydney returns to Woodsboro to promote the book she wrote, and you guessed it – a new murder spree begins.

Among the characters, some of them revelead as victims and others as killers, we can mention the book’s public relations woman, Rebecca (Alison Brie), Sydney’s cousin Jill (Emma Roberts), Sydney’s cousin’s best friend Kirby (Hayden Panettiere, who might come back in one of the following movies) or one of the famous legacy Scream franchise characters.

Scream / Scream V (2022)

Although “Scream 4” was not bad at all, apparently, at this point, they realized that they should bring some new blood into the franchise. In 2022, the fifth film in the franchise arrived, which received the original name “Scream.” This time, there is a new group of teenagers who are related to the original story in a not very reliable way: Samantha Carpenter, or Sam (Melissa Barrera), is the daughter of Billy Loomis, who played a – um, unique – role in the first film. Sam has a little half-sister named Tara (Jenna Ortega), who also opens the movie with a great scene that is very much in line with the opening of the entire franchise. 

In “Scream V,” unsurprisingly, you will find a new suspicious characters, such as Sam’s boyfriend Richie (Jack Quaid), the twins Mindy and Chad (Jasmine Savoy Brown and Mason Gooding), and some legacy characters whose roles here are smaller than What all “Scream” viewers must have hoped for. One of these legacy characters also meets her death, unfortunately.

Scream 6 (2023)

“Scream 6” (2023) takes place a year after the previous film’s events, when the serial killer Ghostface follows the characters to New York. Sisters Sam and Tara try to start a new life but encounter a new wave of murders and, most importantly – a particularly long list of potential suspects. 

Along with the survivors from the previous film, there is one legacy character in a small role that doesn’t pay too much respect to her, and even Kirby from the fourth film, who returns here as an FBI agent. Of course, you will meet some charming new characters here, like Queen, the roommate of Sam and Terra (Liana Liberato), some film students, a New York police detective (Dermott Mulroney), and others. You might also see the excellent Samara Weaving (“Ready Or Not”) in the credits list, but without spoilers, we’ll say that she meets her death already in the opening scene, so don’t expect to see too much of her. I liked discovering the killers’ identities, even if their motives didn’t quite add up.

Scream 7: The Last Scream?

In recent months, we learned that “Scream 7” is in the works. Despite this, it is still unclear how exactly the film will look after the two main actresses and the director leave the set.

What is the best movie from the Scream series?

Highest Grossing Scream Movies: The First Takes The Lead

“Scream” is considered one of the most successful horror franchises ever. In fact, as of the beginning of 2024, “Scream” movies ranked eighth and very respectable among horror franchises, with revenues of over 900 million dollars worldwide. In other words, if and when there is one, the seventh film will surely make the successful brand pass the billion-dollar mark.

It is important to note that the profit gap between most franchise films is relatively narrow, but some films still stand out. The first film from 1996 is also the most successful to date, grossing over 173 million dollars worldwide. In second place, very closely, is the second film with revenues of just over 172 million dollars, a gap of less than a million dollars. The achievements of “Scream 6” at the box office are not bad; it is in third place with almost 169 million dollars. Further down the list, you will find the third film (about 161 million dollars) and the fifth (about 140 million dollars). At the bottom of the list is “Scream 4”, with revenues of just over 97 million dollars.

Best Scream Movie

Here is a table of all Scream movies ranked by their overall grossing:

Rank Movie Worldwide Gross
1 Scream (1996) $173,046,663
2 Scream 2 (1997) $172,363,301
3 Scream VI (2023) $168,961,389
4 Scream 3 (2000) $161,834,276
5 Scream (2022) $140,041,405
6 Scream 4 (2011) $97,138,686

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What’s The Best Scream Movie According To IMDB Viewers

The following parameter in our test is the advanced score of IMDB visitors on the world’s leading movie website, IMDB. Unsurprisingly, the film with the highest rating is the first one, with a score of 7.4 (it is also the film with the highest number of ratings, by far). In second place, perhaps surprisingly, is the sixth film, with a weighted score of 6.5. You can argue that it is the newest film with the lowest ratings. From our experience, most movies’ ratings decrease as time goes by, so we won’t be surprised if it vacates the second place in the coming years.

Overall, the ratings of the following films on the list – “Scream 2”, “Scream 5” and “Scream 4” – are very similar (6.3-6.2, as of today). The film that stands out negatively is the third one, with a rating of only 5.6. We already said this is the least-good film in the franchise, right?

Here is how the best “Scream” movies ranked according to IMDB:

Rank Movie Rating Voters 
1 Scream (1996) 7.4 382,000
2 Scream VI (2023) 6.5 114,000
3 Scream 2 (1997) 6.3 207,000
4 Scream (2022) 6.3 154,000
5 Scream 4 (2011) 6.2 169,000
6 Scream 3 (2000) 5.6 162,000

Which Scream Movie Is The Best According To Critics?

If we can generally state the opinion of the critics of the “Scream” films, we can say that it tends to be positive – at least in most cases. Even if “Scream” films have not won and will not win Oscars, they are generally not being slaugthered by the critics. And between us, in the case of horror films, it’s not apparent. So what are the best “Scream” movies according to the Tomatometer?

scream movies in order

The film in the “Scream” franchise with the highest elaborated critic score is the second (82% positive reviews), with the film that opened the series slightly behind it (81%) – note that in both cases, the number of critics is relatively low, because what can we do that we are talking about a different period, In which the number of visitors and websites dedicated to the field of horror was probably lower. The last films in the series, the fifth and sixth, receive a relatively similar rating of 76% positive reviews.

At the bottom of the list, perhaps due to the excess of self-awareness or the feeling that the series has started to get a little lost, you will find “Scream 4” (60% positive reviews). Quite surprisingly, the critics are pretty aligned with the audience, and with me too, when “Scream 3” is the film that received the most knife pulls from the critics, by a wide margin: only 41% positive reviews.

Rank Movie Tomatometer( Number of Critics
1 Scream 2 (1997) 82% 85
2 Scream (1996) 81% 90
3 Scream VI (2023) 76% 300
4 Scream (2022) 76% 300
5 Scream 4 (2011) 60% 200
6 Scream 3 (2000) 41% 125

So, what is the conclusion that can we get from reviewing all Scream movies in order? Well, as in other previous reviews we have done, there is not necessarily a direct and unequivocal relationship between box office grossings, audience sympathy, and critics’ scores regarding the “Scream” movies. Generally, the first two films in the series are considered the most successful and probably best. In contrast, the intermediate films (the third and fourth) are ranked relatively low in all indicators. From this point of view, you can see that the comeback of the “Scream” movies in recent years with the “new generation” entirely managed to bring the series back to life.

Time will tell if the seventh film will overcome all the difficulties or even the claims that various parties want to boycott it after the changes in the cast, or if it will be the last knife in Ghostface’s coffin.

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