Cory Angen
Having recently finished the "Big Three" of the slasher genre, it felt time to move on to some of the modern classics. I know that I've seen the first few entries in the series, but it's been a very long time so I don't remember much past the major details of the first one.

Below are my thoughts on each installment in the series and my personal ranking of 1-6. Enjoy!
*as of November 2023


I wasn't joking about calling this one a modern classic in the opener above. While 'modern' may be a little outdated at this point, it wasn't when I was in elementary school. It's got a good amount of nods to the "Big Three" of the genre that I really enjoyed with all of those so fresh in my memory, even if some being a little more heavy-handed than others. With a pretty ridiculously stacked cast, some good pacing from one of the masters of the horror genre and an entertaining climax, it's easy to see how this became such a quick hit and why there was such a demand for a follow-up.

  • This has to be one of the first uses of the cell phone in a horror movie like this. And it's done surprisingly well given how the technology has aged since.
  • I remembered the major cast and how they were either already pretty huge or would go on to be pretty huge, but I legit forgot about some of the roles. Henry Winkler as the high school principal is probably my favorite.
  • There are a few shots of the killer stalking the girls through town and it feels like it's meant to be an homage to Michael Myers, but it's done in a way that just makes it feel goofy and almost like a parody. Seeing him run through the bushes was a truly unintended hilarious moment for me.
  • All of the meta scary movie stuff feels like it should get played out by the end, but it does a good job of adding to the plot even if there are maybe just a few too many movie-obsessed roles.
  • I remembered all of the "twists" at the end, so I remembered who the killers were and I really wish I didn't. It was fun knowing those details while watching earlier scenes, but I know I would've appreciated it more if I didn't remember.

  • Ranking: 1/6

    Scream 2

    Much like the other slasher franchises, the first sequel does a good job of doing service to the original. Following Randy's rules, the kills are more gruesome but they still lack the creativity we saw in Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street. The comedy definitely feels like it's been toned down just a little and this one does seem to take itself a bit more seriously, but even with that said, another stacked cast and entertaining climax (with a bit more of a twist this time) makes this feel right at home with the first one. 

  • Another absolutely stacked cast of late 90s rising stars. 
  • Joshua Jackson makes a cameo at the beginning and then is never seen from again which I'm sure would not have been the case in the next few years after The Creek. How are you going to misuse captain Charlie Conway?
  • Most of the kills just involve more stabbing this time, but the cop who gets smashed by the car had a strikingly more gruesome death than anyone else so far.
  • I thoroughly enjoy them making the killer clumsy and not just an unrelenting menace like Jason or Michael. Tripping over chairs and getting pummeled with random thrown objects will always bring a little levity to those chase scenes.
  • I like that they're keeping the co-killers theme going and it's fun to try to play detective throughout the movie to figure out who they are. Unfortunately, I remembered who they were about halfway through again this time. I think I'll be in the dark from here on out, so that should be fun!

  • Ranking: 2/6

    Scream 3

    While I definitely think this is the lesser of the first three entries, it doesn't seem to go off the rails as much as I would have expected from the third installment. It's not until you start to really think about a few things that there are some plot holes that don't have much for filling and the twist at the end is a little disappointing considering we didn't really spend a whole lot of time with the character throughout the movie either. Upon starting, I saw that we were getting the same writer and director combo, but as I read about the filming, I know now that was not the case. With that in mind, some of the decisions and discrepancies start to make a little more sense. So while the actual plot and story points get away from themselves a bit, I think the overall vibe is pretty spot on with the series so far.

  • Most of the movie references in this one are more callbacks to the first two films as apposed to the classics that are referenced in the first two.
  • The voice changer thing would've been an easy write-off as AI if this movie were made today, but in 2000 that technology seems a little far-fetched.
  • The only movie so far where only one person does the killing. After reading some of the IMDb trivia, I know that wasn't always the case and I do think that the story would make a little more sense if there were at least two killers again.
  • The ending is far too happy. I do enjoy that they literally leave the door open at the end the eventual sequels that would come, but I kept waiting for someone to reveal themselves as the real second killer or something.

  • Ranking: 5/6

    Scream 4

    A lot of this feels like rehashing of other movie elements, but not necessarily in a bad way. The kid live-streaming his life and subsequent murder like Halloween: Resurrection, the killer wants their shot at fame like Mickey in Scream 2, quite a few similarities to the ending of the original Scream (by design). I do think that keeping the familial ties to Sidney makes sense, but it is starting to feel like a bit of a crutch at this point. All of that said, this is a fine entry into the franchise and honestly doesn't feel like it was made a good decade after the last one, which is surprising with how other franchises have handled that time gap. It's no where near as good as the original, but I enjoyed it more than the last entry. There's another whole decade between this and the next installment, so we'll see where things end up going.

  • For all the talk about anyone being game, the main three characters keep surviving. I'm not saying I don't like it, but it does feel like it's getting a bit redundant.
  • I truly did not see the killers coming in this one. I also don't know how much I believe some of the kills after their identities were revealed. It seems like it would take some significant force to stab someone through the forehead.
  • Much like the late 00s Nightmare and Friday remakes, a lot of familiar faces in this one, but it somehow still feels like a different era of actors even though it was only a few years later than those.
  • We get rules about remakes a la Randy and I know one is that there's always a false ending, but this one dragged just a little.

  • Ranking: 3/6


    Waiting over a decade for the last one didn't turn out great results and it's sad to say that waiting another didn't help either. There was some solid potential in the early stages of the story even if the connections were already a bit of a stretch, but by the end it just felt like a mashup of all the others. The last half hour or so is so derivative of them that it's actually kind of annoying. I understand paying homage, but a good chunk of this just felt like copy/paste. The killers motives were lame and the reveals didn't really surprise me. There's a line towards the end about killing some legacy characters so it's not just a cash grab, but that's honestly what this felt like. I don't quite understand how this did well enough to warrant a sequel so quickly, but I hope it gets better in the 6th one. 

  • Not a fan of going back to the original name for a later sequel. I know there's a meta joke in the movie about that, but I still don't think it's a great tactic.
  • The kills were so much more gruesome and brutal in this one. Multiple stabs and one that almost had some Final Destination vibes.
  • This being the first Scream since the passing of Wes Craven, it seems a little odd to name a character after him and then have them die a pretty excruciating death. But maybe that's what he would've wanted.
  • Unlike all of the other reboots from the late 2000s, I didn't recognize hardly any of the new actors in this one except for a few. That makes me fell old.
  • I get that the backbone is meta commentary on horror movies and their tropes, but at this point I'm sick of that being such an integral part of the storyline. There's no reason to get ridiculous with it, but a little creativity would be nice.

  • Ranking: 6/6

    Scream VI

    Following the Carpenter sisters from the last movie, we move to a college setting in New York City and this is what Jason Takes Manhattan should've been. Where the last one felt like a bad mash up of the other sequels, this one draws similarities to it and other franchises without being so blatant about the source material and I enjoyed that. That said, it's got a similar convoluted motive storyline to Scream 3, but does better in other aspects to put itself above 3 my opinion. The rules of a franchise are laid out and I do still find those kind of annoying even if I know they're a core plot device. Even without the killers being as obvious as the last one on first watch, it was still more fun in the earlier movies when they tended to be more of the core group. The fact that everyone is a suspect right from the jump is fun, but the whodunit nature has been a bit lost. Overall though, it kept to the source material pretty nicely while trying a few new things along the way so I would put this one somewhere in the middle of the pack in terms of overall ranking. 

  • First movie in the franchise without Neve Campbell. Feels weird, but also right.
  • Starting off with a kill and then immediately revealing who was behind the mask was a fun way to change up the opening scene. I like that they pivoted right away, but it was still fun to see something new.
  • Killings are still very brutal, but knowing the motives that actually does play in and make a little bit more sense this time around.
  • Slightly annoyed that they switched to Roman numerals for this one, but it's kind of fitting after they screwed up the naming convention with the last one anyway. 
  • I can't tell if they're trying to set up that Sam is going to lose it or not. It seems like that's usually the case with these movies where someone thinks that would be a good idea and then it's dropped before the next installment. We shall see!

  • Ranking: 4/6


    I actually give this one a little more credit than most. It follows what would be Laurie's granddaughter being tracked by The Shape and the cult he's amassed that was teased in the awful last one and made it kind of work (until the ending). Again, it would've been interesting to see where they would've taken it without the soft reboot of H20. I understand why this one isn't looked at favorably and why they veered from this storyline, but I enjoy it more than I probably should. It finally seemed to understand the level of camp was warranted and played to it nicely.

  • The feature film debut of a young Paul Rudd as an adult Tommy Doyle!
  • There are 2 different cuts of this one and both are equally confusing and bad.
  • Some of the worst men in the series are included in this one.
  • They gave Loomis a storyline of getting plastic surgery so they didn't have to save him from having to put on make up for his burns.
  • Why anyone associated to Michael still lives in Haddonfield, let alone America, baffles me.
  • Last of the original timeline and last featuring Donald Pleasance as Loomis. RIP.

  • Ranking:


    The Exorcists
    The Crows