“Scream” Movies: Scary to Subpar


Photo Via Paramount Pictures

As a huge horror movie fan, I am constantly on the lookout for new movies while also rewatching classics. Since the fifth movie in the “Scream” franchise was released Jan. 14, I’ve been rewatching the old ones, taking note of the good and bad from each.

Scream 1: 10/10

This movie takes place a year after the death of the main character, Sidney Prescott’s (Neve Campbell), mom. Around the anniversary of her mom’s death, a series of murders begin occurring in her small town, and Sidney isn’t spared from being terrorized by the masked killer, Ghostface. This movie came out Dec. 20, 1996, so I had some prior knowledge on the movie, and was even pretty sure I knew who the killer was.

However, what I didn’t expect was how violent yet hilarious this movie would be. I always struggle with finding a genuinely good horror movie that actually lives up to the “horror” aspect. This movie had just the right amount of horror — enough to keep me surprised, yet not enough to make me want to throw up. What really added to the movie was how comedic the characters were, which kept the storyline light in a way while still carrying all the dark elements of a classic slasher film. 

The unexpected twist as to who the killer actually was and why made this movie a full 10/10. My mind kept going back and forth between potential killers while also trying to figure out the motive. All killers in horror movies have backstories, so what could have been Ghostface’s? And what did it have to do with Sidney Prescott? Questions filled my mind throughout the movie, and surprisingly, all my questions were answered. 


  Scream 2: 6/10

    “Scream 2” was released on Dec. 12, 1997 and takes place while the “final girl,” Sidney Prescott, is in college. The movie opens with a couple entering a theater for the opening premier of a horror movie called “Stab,” based on the events from the first movie. 

Naturally, with the excitement of a new crazy villain and horror movie based on true events, the theater was hectic, resulting in a tragic incident to end off opening night. We are then reintroduced to Sidney, who is shown answering a prank call the next day with an unamused tone. This movie had a few returning characters, while also introducing new characters such as Mickey Altieri (Timothy Olyphant), Derek Feldman (Jerry O’Connell), Cici Cooper (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and many more. 

I felt this movie could have been better. One of the aspects that made it good was the fact that it was a part of the “Scream” franchise and fed into the stereotypical slasher film. After such a great first movie, this one just did not fulfill my expectations. One of the killer’s true identities was unexpected, and I truly don’t know how anyone could’ve guessed it. 

However the second one was almost too expected. There wasn’t a personality balance and I felt that the two characters were just so different and in totally different life stages, which left me with more unanswered questions. I wanted to know more about why the killers thought they needed to go after Sidney again and why she was considered the root of their problems. I wanted to be more than just half surprised in terms of who the culprits were, and lastly, I needed more expansion on the killer’s motives. 

The ending of the movie, however, wasn’t terrible, and I felt it helped the movie be more than mediocre. This is because whatever felt lacking was half-saved in terms of horror, tension and suspense.


    Scream 3: 6/10

 I rewatched this movie recently to refresh my memory before the fifth one. Unlike the first movie, I truly could remember little to nothing about this one before watching it again. “Scream 3” was released on Feb. 4, 2000. 

We see our returning character, Sidney, living her post-grad life in a totally different location and with a new alias. The movie begins with the murder of a returning celebrity and his girlfriend at their home in Hollywood, which sparks controversy, as the celebrity was set to make a cameo in the movie “Stab 3.”  This brings back returning reporter Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox) after she’s approached by an L.A. cop asking for help on the case. 

This also brings back Dewey Riley (David Arquette), who is more so involved with the cast of “Stab 3,” rather than the actual police department. We end up seeing Sidney reluctantly making her way out of hiding in order to find out what’s going on. Though this movie had a different plot than the last two, the violence was not there. 

What makes the “Scream” franchise iconic, aside from the obvious Ghostface, was the violence. There was always more than just sound effects, screams and context clues that something happened. However, in this one, some of that aspect still carried, and it felt as if more of these actions happened too suddenly or just offscreen. And though the movie had an interesting plot twist, it still didn’t tie up certain loose ends in the story. 

This movie had a lot to do with Sidney’s mom, which initially confused me, because though she’s always mentioned in the movies, she was more focused on here. Though it started making sense later, the movie went as far to have Sidney genuinely believe her mom was there, haunting her, in a sense. This confused me because this movie takes place in a more “realistic” world, where ghosts and demons aren’t mentioned, and the killer the characters must outrun, at the end of the day, is just a sick and twisted human. 

I wanted to know why Sidney was seeing her mother before it was known that she was a key to the case. Was Sidney losing her mind? Was her mother actually there in some other form? Did the killer somehow trick Sidney into seeing all of this? I had so many unanswered questions that I just wish were explained in some way.


   Scream 4:  8/10

   “Scream 4” takes place in Woodsboro, where author Sidney Prescott returns to her hometown to promote her new book all about taking power back in times where it feels like one incident defines you. “Scream 4” was released on April 15, 2011. 

This movie introduces Sidney’s cousin, Jill Roberts (Emma Roberts), along with her friends, Kirby Reed (Rachel Panettiere), Charlie Walker (Rory Culkin), Olivia Morris (Marielle Jaffe) and many more. The movie opens with the quick and sudden murders of two teens after an unwelcome phone call from an unknown person. This causes tension and wariness throughout the town as Sidney returns, which doesn’t stop her from doing what she came to do. 

However, in the midst of tracking down the call, Sheriff Dewey and his team end up finding their way to the bookstore, putting a pause on the introduction of Sidney’s book. Suddenly, Sidney’s put back into a position of vulnerability where she and those around her are threatened once again by the infamous Ghostface. After the lack of violence in the third movie, I was worried that this movie would be the same, where all the deaths are sudden or just a little too off camera.  

Surprisingly, this movie felt more like the first in that aspect, finally giving what was missing (which was unexpected, considering the movie started off in an abrupt way). The comedy aspect wasn’t as present as usual, but it wasn’t even noticeable with everything else going on. A theme that I worried would repeat was the predictability of Ghostface. 

Unfortunately, I do think it carried into this movie, but the reveal wasn’t as sudden. I was constantly second-guessing myself when trying to figure out the mastermind behind all this, and whenever I thought I had figured it out, something would happen to change my mind. What I enjoyed most about this movie was the motive of the killer. Besides the first movie, this was the first time I truly felt the motives were thoroughly explained, all while seeing just how far Ghostface would go to get what they want. 

In fact, this movie genuinely made me believe that maybe Sidney Prescott wasn’t going to remain the final girl of the series, which worried me and kept me interested and eager for more.


   Overall, the “Scream” franchise is a popular horror series that always keeps its fans laughing, second-guessing and wanting more.