Scream (2022) Spoiler-Free Review and Ranking of the Five Films in the Series

After finally being able to watch Scream (2022) in the theaters, I came away with nothing but positive thoughts on the film. I have been a little busy lately, so I am doing this review almost a month after watching the film. In anticipation of this film coming out in 2021 I did a re-watch of the films in the series, and it was so annoying when it got pushed to 2022. If getting delayed was not bad enough, the theatres in my city were forced to shut down because of the pandemic (again), and right before my birthday. After waiting so long to see this film, I think it was worth the wait as it more than delivered as being both a reboot and a sequel. Scream (2022) might not be for everyone though, it is very meta, and if that type of style bothers you than maybe this film is not for you. Since the film has yet to hit streaming, I think the less you know about the film the more you will enjoy it so I will not ruin it for you. I am going to do a short review of the film with a spoiler-free synopsis, and I will end the article with a ranking of the five films in the Scream series. Any type of thriller, mystery and horror film is often best watched with the viewer knowing as little as possible. Now I know some people might have phobias in regard to certain types of horror films (for me it is zombie films), but the less you know about them the better the experience you will have watching it. The experience of a horror/thriller is something very different because those films will keep you on edge the whole time you are watching. The anticipation of danger is what makes you feel unsettled, waiting for the inevitable moment when terror will strike is a rush of adrenaline. I thought Scream (2022) did a fantastic job of keeping the audience guessing as to whom the killers might be, and when they were going to strike next. The film did a great job of building tension until a boiling point, and they would only release it after making you wait on the edge of your seat.

The film features some returning cast from the previous four films, but a majority of the screen time is given to a new set of teenage characters. The new cast is made up of a lot of new faces with only two of them being familiar to me. The two familiar faces belong to Jack Quaid (The Boys) and Dylan Minnette (Goosebumps and Don't Breathe). The returning cast is David Arquette, Courtney Cox, Neve Campbell Marley Shelton (Scream 4) and Skeet Ulrich. The mix between the old and the new works really well, and they all had good chemistry with each other. What has always made the Scream films work for me, was the writing; the films never took themselves too seriously. This film has so much fun messing with the audiences' minds; there are constant attack fake outs, and characters constantly pointing out that they might be the killer. After Scream 4 I never thought we would get another film, there was an MTV series called Scream that I never watched an episode of. It was great being back in the fictional town of Woodsboro, for such a small town it has such a violent modern history. The meta part of the film did actually work for me, and it never felt that it was too much. The way the Scream films tapped into the making of slasher films always gave the movies a different feel than the rest; it is now 26 years later, and they are still delivering a solid slasher film. 


The film opens with a typical Scream style kill featuring a woman home alone answering a call from stranger who is our killer "Ghostface'. The killings in Woodsboro start again, and it is up to a few new protagonists that are joined by our returning heroes to stop Ghostface. The new killings have a strong connection to the original killers and victims that leads to some revelations. Our group of heroes begin investigating the murders with some falling victim to Ghostface's killing spree. When one of our main new protagonists (Tara) is attacked while home alone it sets the whole film in motion. The older sister (Sam) of Tara attacked comes back to town to check on her little sister, and she brings her boyfriend Richie. Sam ran away when she was 18 when she found out some horrific history about her family, for seven years she was away. Tara's friends Amber, Wes, Liv, Mindy and Chad become embroiled in the mess too. Mindy and Chad are brother and sister, who are also the niece and nephew of Randy Meeks (from the first two films), Mindy is like her uncle a slasher film geek. Wes is the son of Sheriff Judy Hicks (from Scream 4), Liv is dating Chad and Amber is Tara's close friend and neighbor. Sam and Richie go to former sheriff Dewey Riley (David Arquette) for help, Dewey is living alone in a trailer, and seems to have a drinking problem. Dewey reluctantly agrees to help, and when he realizes it is happening again he calls Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) and Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox) to let them know that killings are happening in Woodsboro again.

When Dewey calls Sidney, she says she will not come, but Gale a national morning show host arrives in town with a TV crew in tow. As the murders keep happening, and nobody has a clue who is behind them and why they are doing it Sidney comes back to town to give comfort to a grieving friend. Sidney is determined to find and stop the new killer, but Tara, Sam and Richie just want to leave town safely before anything else bad happens. On the way out of town they are forced to stop by a house party at a friend of Tara's to get her asthma inhaler. At the house party the killer strikes, and we get the final showdown between the killer and our protagonists. 


I am easy mark for these films, the first one came out when I was 14, and I thought it was one of the best horror films I had ever seen up to that point. I really tried to avoid spoilers in my recap/synopsis, I hope I did not spoil anything for anyone. Part of what makes this film work so well is how unbalanced the film keeps you, you can never get too comfortable before the killer strikes again. I also thought the film did a good job of tying the original film into this one, it was both paying an homage to it while using it as a framework to restart the franchise. I am not sure if Scream (2022) will cause a new series of films to be made, but I think there is way forward using these new characters to start a new story. The film was directed by two members of the directing group Radio Silence Tyler Gillett and Matt Bettinelli-Opin who also directed the awesome film Ready or Not (2019). Ready or Not was a fantastic film that was a lot of fun with some great thrilling moments. I do not think Scream (2022) is better than Ready or Not, but it is still an entertaining film that is a good entry into the Scream franchise. More than any of the Scream films before it, the 2022 film really has a lot of fun playing with the audiences' expectations. 

The performances by all of the cast in film were good, nobody stood out as bad or boring to me which is always a worry when there are so many fresh faces. I do think there was a standout performance delivered by David Arquette, he was amazing in the film. Arquette's performance could have been fueled by his real-life issues he has experienced. Based on how entertaining I thought the film was, I am going to give it a 7/10. The film would have needed to be a lot better to get up to an 8, but I think the movie accomplished what it had set out to do. Scream (2022) is a good scary film that has solid performances, and some really good scares. The premise of the Scream films doesn't lend itself to awards, and the new film is no better, and because of the premise the film is kind of trapped in a box. If Scream (2022) had done something revolutionary with the franchise then it might be hailed as great of it could be hailed as an abomination (see Rian Johnson's Stars Wars: The Last Jedi), which is also a joke in the film. The fact that the film makes a joke about the franchise being trapped in a box by the toxic fans of the original is such a great meta comment on the state of franchise films. Scream (2022) while not reinventing the wheel, still delivers a great new entry in the franchise and potentially sets up the next phase of the movies.


5) Scream 3 (2000)

The third entry in the franchise is for me the weakest film in the series, it still has some good kills, excitement, and humor, but it also was not as good as the others. It is hard to put into words why I don't like this film as much as the others, but I think this film is a little too all over the place. Scream 3 changes locations constantly, and there is a backstory given to Sidney's mom that is a waste of time. The film features too many cameos by Hollywood elite, and none of the kills are particularly memorable. The film is about killings taking place involving members of the Stab 3 production crew, it brings back out familiar heroes. I think had the premise been kept simpler, the film could have been made scarier and more terrifying. Scream 3 is still entertaining, and it is essential viewing for someone interested in the franchise. I recently re-watched the four films leading up to Scream (2022), and I would give Scream 3 a 5/10 since it has some good moments, but there is a reason no other film was made for 11 years. 

4) Scream 2 (1997)

I don't like that I need to have a film ranked second worst on this list, besides Scream 3 I truly believe that all of these movies are really good. I really enjoy Scream 2, I think the tone of the film is a lot of fun and playful; but something had to be ranked fourth. As a character, I always felt Sidney was too boring; she was never the fun one in a group. I think this film is where Sidney was the least likeable as a character, she was more passive in this film and whiney. The supporting characters around Sidney were also not overly fun either, which is why I decided to place this film where I did on the ranking. It has a great cast with Timothy Olyphant and Liev Schreiber joining the main group. The opening featuring Omar Epps and Jada Pinkett Smith was a lot of fun, and the climax was also really fun incorporating the theater stage into the mix. I would give this film a 7/10, it is a solid entry in the series, and a good sequel to the original film. 

3) Scream 4 (2011)

The fourth installment was a lot better than I expected it to be, the fake out opening was a nice touch that I thought fit the film. There was a kill in a bedroom that was surprisingly gory, but because they did that it upped the stakes of the film from that point on. The fourth film also showed a more confident and less of a downer Sidney that was a big improvement to the character. I really liked the style of this film, focusing on a younger generation while including the legacy characters was a nice touch. The only problem was that they killed off the characters I came to like, I think there was room for this film to have led to a sequel had they kept the killer alive and some of the young new cast around too. This film is a 7/10, but it is a step up from Scream 2 and only slightly below the next film on the list. I wanted to put Scream 4 number 2 on the list, but I felt the style of the new film mixed with some of the performances in it kept it higher. I think Scream 4 is a lot of fun, it might be the most entertaining film in the series.

2) Scream (2022)

After 11 years of no new movies, the new film had the tough task of creating a new set of characters while giving fans the closure they desire for the legacy characters. Where Scream 4 kept the legacy characters front and centre, Scream (2022) kept the legacy characters in supporting roles only. The new characters introduced in the film have potential for a few more sequels with these characters but had Scream 4 kept some of the characters I liked around I might have ranked that film higher. Scream (2022) had some great performances from the original characters, as I said in the review above it is a 7/10. I think this film has finally given the legacy characters the send off needed so the series can focus on a new set of characters. The logjam of films 2 and on this list are both good films with each of them having different strengths and weaknesses. Based on Scream 4 and Scream (2022) I think we can see a bright future for the franchise, one thing I hope changes is the killer should be portrayed by the actor that is the killer. It seems in every film the killer appears to be the same height, and moves the same way too; it would be good if there was a notable difference in how the killers moves and kills.

1) Scream (1996)

The original is still the best film in the series, not only did it feel ground-breaking at the time of its release, but it is still today considered one of the best slasher films ever made. The film is a classic, and even watching it today and knowing the ending I still find it a lot of fun to watch. The cast of the original was my favourite cast so far, getting Drew Barrymore for the opening scene was a perfect choice. Matthew Lillard and Skeet Ulrich became two of my favourite actors at the time, it is a shame that their careers never took off. The Scream killer costume is so simple, but it is now so iconic that I think simplicity works in its favor. The original Scream film has some good kills, good humor, and some great thrills. Scream (1996) is a 9/10, I think whether you saw it in 1996 or seeing it now the movie still holds up. The style of the film was cool, and it will always be a go to watch whenever Halloween is approaching. 

Thank you for reading my review and ranking of the Scream films; please let me know your rankings of the films, and your thoughts on the new film.

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