On October 12, 2021, Paramount Pictures announced a fifth Scream movie for the Scream franchise. It has been 10 years since the last movie. The Scream movie franchise was created by Wes Craven and he had been directing them up until his death. Now, fans will be getting the fifth sequel, coming out for the 25th anniversary of the horror franchise.
Back in 1997, Scream came out as a revival of the slasher movie genre. Movies like Friday the 13th and Halloween are what many people consider to be the best in the slasher series. After some time, people stopped watching slasher movies as they saw them as a bit cliche and outdated.
Wes Craven was able to take the formula of a classic slasher film and turn it on its head. Rather than being predictable, Scream ended up being something different entirely. It skated a thin line between a horror and a comedy, almost like The Evil Dead.
It wouldn’t reinvent anything, because it wears its tropes like a badge.
Let’s take a trip down memory lane and go through what Scream did through the years. Fair warning: there will be spoilers from here on out. We’ll also only be talking about the movies and not the MTV series from 2015.
Scream – 1996
The first movie had one of the most shocking beginnings to any horror movie.
Casey (Drew Barrymore) is making popcorn and is getting called by a mysterious man. Moments later, it turns into a trivia game, where she has to answer questions about horror movies correctly or face the consequences. After her boyfriend becomes the first victim, she tries to escape only to come face to face with the killer.
As Casey tries to escape, she sees a glimmer of hope as her parents return. Ultimately, she is stabbed to death and hung from a tree with her insides showing.
This opening alone, with a big name like Drew Barrymore, was a huge shock to everyone. Even the original movie poster seemed to show her as the main star, but she’s dead within the first ten minutes. The movie ends up having the typical slasher movie guidelines and the characters even address the tropes and rules that come into it.
Neve Campbell’s Syndey Prescott is the real leading character of the movie. Sydney is desperately trying to have a normal relationship with her boyfriend, Billy Loomis (Skeet Ulrich) while trying to cope with the recent death of her mother. She is further pushed when Gale (Cortney Cox) tells Sydney she is writing a book about her mother’s murder.
That brings her to the recent killing of Casey. It is then that “Ghostface” comes to stalk her. This turns into a game of cloak and dagger where everyone is a suspect. Gale and Deputy Dewey (David Arquette) try to uncover what is happening while starting a relationship together.
In a twist the Scream franchise would become known for, Billy and his best friend Stu (Matthew Lillard) are revealed to be Ghostface! They were not only the ones who were trying to kill Syndey but also killed her mother!
Scream 2 – 1997
The first movie was a commentary of the horror genre as a whole, yet the sequel is a commentary of sequels to horror movies.
Scream 2 once again starts with a pretty big-name actor being shown in the opening scene. Maureen Evans (Jada Pinkett Smith) is taken by her boyfriend to see a movie called Stab. The “Stab” movie itself is cashing in on the events in Woodsboro.
Syndey is trying to make it through college life, even though the scars from before still linger. Cotton Weary (Liev Schreiber) comes to see her thanks to Gale, after being released from prison. However, Syndey was not ready to make up with him, let alone on live TV.
After seeing the news on the movie killing, she sees Dewey and Gale checking up on Syndey. Once again, the rules of horror movies come into play as one of the characters mentions how sequels to horror movies go. Scream 2 does a pretty good job in setting the tone by making the body count higher and the kills gorier.
What isn’t good is how it makes no logical sense in terms of plot or character. Another issue is that the killer, who later turns out to be a maniac named Mickey (Timothy Olyphant), accompanied by a reporter named Debbie Salt (Laurie Metcalf), is barely given any screen time or given much character.
Even still, it was a solid enough sequel.
Scream 3 – 2000
This movie was supposed to be the final movie in the franchise but ends up also being the weakest. The tone went from horror to mostly dumb comedy. Many believe this was because production on the movie began a month after the Columbine shooting. Thus, the connections to horror and real-life drama were too fresh for some actors and eventually, many viewers.
Yet it also failed in numerous other ways, from the storyline it decided to go with to its complete lack of creativity that made the second movie so fun. People love the absurdist concept of Scream, but not when this commentary becomes what it railed against.
In this movie, we see that the Stab franchise is starting to dwindle after the recent death of Cotton Weary who had just picked his life up after the second movie. Syndey now lives out in the mountains working for a crisis hotline. Then Ghostface’s reappearance brings Syndey, Dewey, and Gale back into the fray.
In my opinion, Scream 3 is probably the weakest in the series due to how absurd it gets at times. The kills are nowhere near as creative as the second movie, and the killer’s motive just seems too ludicrous even by this movie’s standards. Yet what really gets me is that voice changer that has everyone’s voices. That is just the worst thing to give Ghostface.
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Scream 4 – 2011
The sequel no one asked for. Seriously, no one.
Scream 4 takes place ten years after the events of the last movie and Syndey Prescott is now a successful writer. She stops back at her hometown, Woodsboro, as the last stop in her book tour. However, it doesn’t take long until someone dons the Ghostface identity and starts attacking once again.
This time, Ghostface is going after Sydney’s cousin Jill (Emma Roberts) and her friends.
Scream 4 is slightly better than the third movie but still has some problems. Rather than being a commentary on the cliches of horror movies, it felt more like an actual cliche itself. It also seems somehow uglier to watch than the original movies. I have no idea what kind of filter they used for the movie.
Go ahead, check out the movie filter they had to literally edit this movie into. It makes no sense at all. Some believe it had to do with trying to keep up a darker tone. Rather than shooting it in a darker format, they thought they could use technology to magically edit the darkness in. However, that is not how this works!
Even the opening with Stab movie commercials was a bit confusing. What’s with these Stab movies in the Scream movies? It almost seems like someone should make a commentary on Scream films. Better yet, use the same actors and actresses from these movies and make “Scream” the next “Stab.” Oh wait, they did that already?
Scary Movie – 2000
How do you take a satire of horror movies and make it better? Turn it into a parody film.
Scary Movie was released in the same year as Scream 3. Funnily enough, Scream was originally going to be called Scary Movie but the title was changed before filming ended. Seriously, the writers and producers hadn’t decided on a name yet and just put down “Scary Movie” as a placeholder until “Scream” was finally chosen. Yet that “Scary Movie” title still had promise.
After some kids hide a dead man’s body, a masked killer comes to stalk and kill them, while Cindy tries to survive. Like Scream movies, Scary Movie has a pretty good line of actors like Anna Faris, Marlon Wayans, and Jon Abrahams.
It’s dumb, but it’s great entertainment and really sets the standard for parody movies to come. This is linked to Scream in a way. All the tropes and cliches like the bratty cheerleader, the stoners, and the strong final girl are exaggerated. Along with some references to other movies like The Blair Witch Project and I Know What You Did Last Summer.
Plus, they bring in many of the actors from the past Scream movies to reprise their roles in future Scary Movie projects. In fact, there has now been a total of five films in this franchise. Therefore, Scream had to keep up and now plan to get that fifth movie out by 2022.
Changing The Genre Forever
Almost every scene in the Scream movie franchise has some sort of reference to horror movies or moments of self-awareness to all the cliches and usual tropes. Randy (Jamie Kennedy) is constantly making comments about what horror movies do and how no one is safe.
Scream addresses tropes like killers showing up after sex or during a party, with the characters aware of it. In addition, it also reassures that even knowing about the ‘rules’ wasn’t going to save most of these characters.
What Scream did was not only reignite the horror genre but also inspire meta-horror for the years to come. This also started the whodunit trope where anyone could be a killer. Films like Cabin In the Woods and Urban Legends came shortly after Scream, taking some cues from the film.
What Can We Expect From Scream 2022?
The new Scream movie is slated to release in January 2022. This means the movie takes place eleven years after the last movie. Although, this is hardly the longest wait between blockbuster franchise continuations we’ve seen.
The trailer already started off strong by showing not just the return of Neve Campbell and Courtney Cox, but also Jenna Ortega as the “first kill” of Ghostface.
While not directed by the late Wes Craven, this will include the original writer, Kevin Williamson, who worked on every Scream movie. However, the real question that needs answering is does the meta-horror and whodunit genre still work?
There needs to be a link between the original survivors and the new ones. Some are wondering if it’s the survivor’s kids, or if one of the killers from the previous movie is still alive. I guess we’ll have to just wait to see it and find out for ourselves.