For over two decades, the Scream franchise has been a staple in the world of horror cinema on Paramount Plus. Created by Kevin Williamson and masterfully directed by Wes Craven, Scream revitalized the slasher genre in the 1990s and has continued to thrill audiences with its blend of suspense, humor, and meta-commentary.
With the release of “Scream” (2022), a new generation is discovering the terror of the Ghostface killer. In this article, we’ll take you through the Scream movies in order, exploring the evolution of the series and the legacy it leaves behind. However, with four films and a TV series, it can be tough to figure out where to start. In this guide, we’ll break down all Scream movies in order and provide you with a viewing guide.
Scream Movies in Chronological Order
1. Scream (1996): The Birth of a Horror Icon
First Scream movie was directed by Wes Craven and written by Kevin Williamson, the first Scream movie is a modern classic. It stars Neve Campbell as Sidney Prescott, a high school student who becomes the target of a masked killer known as Ghostface.
The film’s clever twists and turns, as well as its self-aware humor, set the tone for the entire series.
It is known for its meta-horror approach, satirizing and subverting the conventions of the slasher genre while still delivering thrills and scares.
The series follows high school student Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), who becomes the target of a mysterious killer known as Ghostface, who wears a distinctive mask and black robe. As the body count rises, Sidney and her friends must figure out the identity of the killer before they become the next victims.
In addition to Neve Campbell’s memorable portrayal of Sidney, the inaugural film of the franchise also unveiled several beloved characters, such as Gale Weathers, a news journalist (Courtney Cox), Dewey Riley, a deputy sheriff (David Arquette), and Randy Meeks, a horror movie enthusiast (played by Jamie Kennedy).
2. Scream 2 (1997): The Legacy Continues
Second part of this show ‘Scream 2’ was released a year after the first film, Scream 2 picks up where the original left off. Sidney is now in college, but she finds herself once again targeted by Ghostface.
This time, she’s joined by new characters, including her friend Hallie (Elise Neal) and film student Mickey (Timothy Olyphant). Scream 2 amps up the action and gore, making it a worthy sequel to the original.
The plot of Scream 2 takes place two years after the events of the first film. Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) is now a student at the fictional Windsor College in Ohio, where a new series of murders based on the Woodsboro killings from the first film begins to occur.
Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox) has become a best-selling author and is also attending the college to research a new book. Whereas Dewey Riley (David Arquette) is now working as a campus security guard. As the body count begins to rise, Sidney, Gale, and Dewey must once again work together to try to uncover the identity of the killer.
Scream 2 was a commercial success, grossing over $172 million worldwide against its $24 million budget. The film received positive reviews from critics, who praised its self-aware humor, well-crafted suspense, and performances from the cast.
3. Scream 3 (2000): Unmasking the Past
Scream 3 takes place three years after the events of the second film. Sidney has retreated from public life, but she’s pulled back into the fray when Ghostface begins targeting the cast of “Stab 3,” a movie based on the events of the first two films.
This time around, the series leans heavily into its self-referential humor. Scream 3 is commonly regarded as the most polarizing film among the original trilogy, although it has some positive aspects.
The movie encountered several production challenges, notably several revisions to the screenplay that necessitated numerous reshoots, even after filming had officially wrapped up.
4. Scream 4 (2011): A Modern Meta-Horror
Scream 4 is a direct sequel to the original trilogy, taking place ten years after the events of Scream 3. Sidney has once again retreated from public life, but she’s drawn back into the fray when Ghostface begins targeting a new group of teenagers.
The series ‘Scream 4’ introduces a new cast of characters, including Kirby (Hayden Panettiere) and Charlie (Rory Culkin). In this entry, a new Ghostface emerges, and Sidney becomes a suspect.
She is forced to remain in town as the police investigate, and the new Ghostface continues their murder spree. Scream 4 reflects on the series’ past and explores how beloved characters have changed in the years since the previous film.
Additionally, the film introduces a new group of younger characters who grew up knowing about Ghostface through the Stab movies.
5. Scream 5: A Fresh Start
The latest entry in the series, Scream (2022), takes place twenty-five years after the original Woodsboro killings. Another Ghostface has emerged, and the first victim, Tara Carpenter, survives the attack.
Tara, her sister Sam, and their friends begin investigating the killer’s identity and cross paths with Sidney and others from the original killings. The film is both a sequel and a reboot of the series, with new cast members as the main stars moving forward, although beloved “legacy” characters do appear in supporting roles.
6. Scream VI (2023)
Scream VI (2023) is a sequel to the successful 2022 revival. Tara and Sam move to New York City with their friends, Mindy and Chad Meeks-Martin. Unfortunately, a new Ghostface begins targeting them, making it difficult to start anew.
The plot of Scream 6 follows the character of Sidney Prescott, played by Neve Campbell, who is once again targeted by a new Ghostface killer. In this film, Sidney is joined by returning characters Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox) and Dewey Riley (David Arquette). As well as a new group of young characters who must fight to survive against the latest incarnation of the Ghostface killer.
While the specific plot details of the film have been kept under wraps, the trailers and promotional material have hinted at a storyline that involves the new Ghostface killer targeting a group of young social media influencers, with Sidney and her friends being drawn into the investigation to stop the killer.
In addition to the returning cast members, Scream 6 also features a number of new actors in leading roles, including Melissa Barrera, Jenna Ortega, Mason Gooding, and Jasmin Savoy Brown.
The Scream franchise has carved a unique niche in the horror genre, offering audiences a thrilling combination of suspense, self-awareness, and humor. While some installments may have fared better critically than others, the enduring appeal of Ghostface and the legacy of Sidney Prescott continue to captivate horror fans.
Whether you’re revisiting the classics or diving into the newest installment, the Scream movies in order are a journey through the evolution of horror cinema—a legacy that continues to terrify and entertain.