Scream Movies in Order, Ranked from Kooky to Spooky

Ghostface returns to the big screen this weekend in "Scream," so we wanted to give you a list of all the Scream movies, ranked in order from lame to insane.

Jesse Conner

By Jesse Conner

Scream Movies in Order, Ranked: Scream 4

© Dimension Films/courtesy Everett Collection

It all started decades ago when a killer with a ghost mask decided to murder innocent high school students in the little town of Woodsboro. This menace targeted various teens one by one, always kicking things off with a creepy phone call. But what would a serial killer want to talk about before hunting his victim down? In the case of this sadistic murderer, he wants to test out your horror movie knowledge. Just be sure that you answer all of his questions correctly. Otherwise, he'll kill you or someone close to you. This crazed franchise has had four films to date, with the fifth iteration of "Scream" hitting theaters this weekend. Because we can appreciate a good horror flick, we've ranked all of the Scream movies in order from not-so-scary to "lock your doors" terrifying.

  • 4

    Scream 3

    Scream Movies in Order, Ranked: Scream 3

    © Dimension Films/courtesy Everett Collection

    There's no question that this sequel to a sequel was definitely an interesting one. Director Wes Craven and writer Ehren Kruger took a big risk by shifting the tone of the film to lean more on the comedic side of horror. The first film created the scary movie rules for the students of Woodsboro to follow. And then the second twisted the rules so that there was a different formula. So, it was always going to be an uphill battle trying to find an original take on this third flick. The major burden holding the movie back is its lack of fresh story points. It clings too much to past events, which is why we've ranked it at the bottom of our list.

    Scream 3 Poster

    Scream 3

    R

    Horror

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  • 3

    Scream 4

    Scream Movies in Order, Ranked: Scream 4

    © Dimension Films/courtesy Everett Collection

    Where the third film struggled to differentiate itself in the ongoing franchise, this film succeeded. Kevin Williamson, screenwriter of the first two films, reunited with director Wes Craven on this reboot. But this time they decided to bring in a new generation of high school victims/suspects. The Ghostface killer's number one survivor Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) returns home during the anniversary of the Woodsboro killings, which prompts the newest psycho on the block to come out of the woodwork. The film is probably the most similar to the new "Scream."

    Scream 4 Poster

    Scream 4

    R

    Horror

    April 15, 2011

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  • 2

    Scream 2

    Scream Movies in Order, Ranked: Scream 2

    © Miramax/courtesy Everett Collection

    As we know from these films, the killer tends to stick to a formula. But with this sequel, the rules change. What fans really appreciate about is how self-aware it all is. You can look to horror movie expert Randy (Jamie Kennedy) to let you know why a sequel is so great. There's a higher body count. The blood's spilled in new and gruesome ways. And there's just enough comic relief and irony to bring it together. Most horror movie sequels pale in comparison to the original, but this one does the franchise justice. It doubles down on all the things that fans love about the original. And it tweaks the story just enough.

    Scream 2 Poster

    Scream 2

    R

    Horror

    Watch on

  • 1

    Scream (1996)

    Scream Movies in Order, Ranked: Scream

    © Dimension Films/courtesy Everett Collection

    In our ranked order of Scream movies, without a doubt the first film reigns supreme. Every other Scream installment, in some way, references a character or event from the original film, similar to the Halloween franchise that this series adores. If Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox), and Dewey Riley (David Arquette) hadn't gone up against Ghostface at the beginning, and lived to talk about it, there wouldn't be a franchise. The film introduced a new genre of horror. It was really one of the first to mock itself by explicitly offering up - and explaining - all the genre tropes. Yet somehow it maintains its serious nature and still manages to thrill. Throughout, Wes Craven offers a masterclass in hiding clues in plain sight.

    Scream (1996) Poster

    Scream (1996)

    R

    Horror

    December 20, 1996

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Jesse Conner

Jesse is a writer and content manager for Noovie. When he's not working, he's on the beach playing volleyball.

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