Scream: Ranking the Movies in Order of Quality

I don’t want to seem disrespectful here, at all, because the events at Columbine were tragic and it’s still hard, even now, to think about. The reason it’s relevant here is that the studio was hyper-aware of Columbine, and made major changes to Scream 3 as a result. Plotlines Williamson had suggested were thrown out to ensure there was no link between the onscreen violence and high school, and in fact at one point, the studio wanted the movie to be completely void of violence and gore.

Wes Craven protested on that point, insisting that Scream 3 had to be in line with its predecessors or there wasn’t any point in even labelling it a Scream film, and though he got his way, the comedy in the film was ramped up to try to compensate for it. Unfortunately, it’s not even very funny, and it might have been better for all concerned to just delay the production for a year or two.

3. Scream 2

After taking Scream 3 out of the equation, it’s harder to rank the remaining three films. They’re all strong in their own way, and there’s not really much between them. But for the sake of argument, let’s put Scream 2 in third place.

The second film follows Sidney Prescott as, after enduring the horrors of the first film, she moves away to go to college. With most of her friends dead, she intends to make a clean break and restart her life. But she’s haunted by her past, seeing ghosts – or Ghostfaces – everywhere she looks, and unfortunately, it turns out she’s not just imagining it. Like you’d expect from any self-respecting slasher sequel, the body counter is higher in Scream 2, and the kills are gorier. Where Scream was riffing on the slasher genre, Scream 2 is riffing on the slasher sequel, and having loads of fun with that too.

Put into production quickly after the first film was such a roaring success, Scream 2 was released in 1997, just a year after the original. It re-teamed director Wes Craven and writer Kevin Williamson, and also brought back pretty much all of the original cast – everyone whose character wasn’t dead anyway. So Neve Campbell is back as Sidney, Courtney Cox is back as Gale, David Arquette as Dewey, and Jamie Kennedy as Randy. Liev Schreiber, barely glimpsed in the first film, also gets an expanded role here.

The rest of the cast is filled out with recognisable faces. Sarah Michelle Gellar gets a cameo; Timothy Olyphant turns up as one of Sidney’s new college friends; and Roseanne’s Laurie Metcalf plays a local news reporter. Keep your eyes peeled and you’ll catch Tori Spelling, Heather Graham, and Luke Wilson in blink-and-you’ll-miss-‘em roles. Part of the fun of revisiting these movies is seeing who was famous in the ’90s – and who would go on to be famous, afterward.

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