Scream Quadrilogy Ranked

As of now, there is no credible news about a Scream 5 in the making, so see the four films below that currently make up the Scream franchise ranked:

#4. Scream 3

Likely to be the least controversial pick for the number four spot on the list is Scream 3. The third entry of the franchise didn’t think too much about what it wanted to satirise exactly. Trying to play off the conventions of horror film trilogies is not only simple-minded, but one also has to wonder why they never realised the general lack of such conventions to begin with. Horror film franchises don’t normally stop after the third film and here is the meta part: Scream didn’t stop there either. They continue for as long as the financial forecast suggests profitability. The third film could have/should have worked with precisely that: the franchise reaching the point where it becomes a franchise; overly commercialised and having lost its essence. But instead of making fun of these ideas, Scream 3 fell victim to them – and that’s not deliberate satire; it is merely unintended irony.

#3. Scream 4

Eleven years passed between the third and fourth films and Scream 4 is so effective in bringing Ghostface into a new era that this film very nearly made the number two spot. The smart move here is the realisation that the satirical elements no longer have to be limited to cinema and its conventions; they can instead examine how Sidney and others navigate in the real world of technology and the media. Yes, we still have the horror movie references, but the motivations driving what is easily the best villain of the franchise rang stunningly true in 2011 – and they still do. One can easily think of an avalanche of examples after the turn of the millennium where people attempt to reach for fame without moral or ethical considerations, without any regard for the well-being of others or themselves. In spite of a few lines of miscalculated dialogue and minor imperfections in execution, Scream 4 understood the relevant changes that took place since the third movie concluded by having an underlying theme of modern-era-fame woven into its plot.

#2. Scream

Of course Scream is a phenomenon. While asking the “What if a slasher film was real?” question with deliberate seriousness, it also ridicules the very same thing and its conventions. While I personally witnessed snobbish academics frown upon its audience-friendly entertaining qualities, fans of cinema can hardly deny the joy of watching the meta-ping-pong of ideas that are actually wrapped into a highly satisfying plot and conclusion. The kids of today may be much better trained to spot the film’s misdirections and sleight of hand, but my younger self of 1996 was truly stunned by the twist ending. The bloody climax of Scream is still an indelible memory where one doesn’t have any time to recover from the surprise of the whodunit reveal before a shockingly violent conclusion hits the senses yet again, pretty hard.

#1. Scream 2

There is a fairly practical reason for Scream 2 to get the number one spot on the list. The second film does a much better job satirizing sequels than the first one does satirizing horror genre conventions in general. And let’s be fair; this is mainly because the former is simply an easier task to accomplish. Sequels are very specific, they have very specific structure that is riddled with logical and often inevitable follow-ups to what came before. Therefore the satire here is less dependent on the various horror films its aiming at and instead can sink its teeth into something much more solid, much more tangible. The more focused execution can be felt throughout the film, resulting in a compelling twisted mirror image of sequels that manages to surpass the original classic.


~ by arpadlukacs on October 6, 2018.

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