The Scream Quadrilogy (1996-2011)

scream quadrilogy review

Back in ’96 people had grown tired of horror movies. They’d seen them all and they always knew what would happen. Out of nowhere came Wes Craven’s Scream, a horror movie about teens who had actually seen all horror movies and knew all the horror movie cliches and tropes. Before yesterday I was one of the few people on the planet who was not familiar with the Scream series so I sat down and pretty much did a Scream marathon. One of the most important things about doing a marathon is sitting through both the good movies and the bad ones and well, The marathon certainly had it’s ups and downs, but I really had a great time.

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Scream (1996)

Drew Barrymore in Wes Craven's

This is the one that started it all, from the legendary opening scene to the fantastic final one, Scream is a smart, surprisingly funny and above all, genuinely scary film. I can’t think of another film that strikes such a perfect balance between horror and comedy. Now I’m someone who has a tough time watching horror films because of the whole dreary atmosphere they create, not with this though, I had a blast watching Scream. What makes this movie so great though, is really the self-awareness, it’s a movie that knows it’s a movie and the script from Kevin Williamson is truly king. The dialogue is razor-sharp and witty, consistently poking fun at itself and the horror genre but the central mystery is what keeps it all extremely intriguing. The performances too are excellent, Neve Campbell gives the best and strongest performance of the film as Sidney Prescott but Courtney Cox, David Arquette and Jamie Kennedy are also very good in their respective roles and Skeet Ulrich nearly steals the show as Billy Loomis.

9.8/10

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Scream 2 (1997)

scream 2 review neve campbell

To quote Randy; ”There are certain rules that one must abide by in order to create a successful sequel. Number one: the body count is always bigger. Number two: the death scenes are always much more elaborate – more blood, more gore. And number three: never, ever, under any circumstances, assume the killer is dead” Scream 2 follows all these rules and emerges as a more than worthy sequel to it’s brilliant predecessor, even though it can’t quite match it’s brilliance. Both director Wes Craven and writer Kevin Williamson are up to the task with Scream 2, Craven directs the film with almost the same tenacity as the first once again providing us with a memorable opening scene and the writing from Williamson has gotten even more smarter and self-aware poking fun at sequels this time while also proving that sequels can in fact work. I like the performances too, Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, David Arquette and Jamie Kennedy all do a great job of reprising their roles and liked the addition of Timothy Olyphant to the cast. The entire film too is almost as good as the first one but the disappointing ending is really the only thing that lets it down.

9.4/10

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Scream 3 (2000)

ghostface scream 3 review

Scream was the brainchild of Kevin Williamson and doing a film that wasn’t written by him was always going to be a big mistake but Scream 3 made this mistake and the film is by far the most disappointing film of the entire series. What’s worse though is that they couldn’t find a better writer than Ehren Kruger, the same guy who went on to write the Transformers movies later on. While it definitely has some good moments and it’s great to see, Neve Campbell, David Arquette and Courtney Cox back, this movie simply can’t be saved because the script is just too lackluster and seems to have dropped all the comedy, horror and self-awareness that made the first two great. Everything in this movie from the plot to the final reveal feels like something out of a Scooby-Doo cartoon, in fact the only thing missing is the bad guy saying; ”I would have gotten away with it if it wasn’t for you meddling kids”. Embarrassing.

5.8/10

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Scream 4 (2011)

Scream-4-movie-image

The final and most underrated movie of the series brought back things to way the way they should have been in the first place, which is having Wes Craven behind the camera and Kevin Williamson writing. Now the meta, self-aware humor is what made the first two films so memorable and the lack of it made the third one forgettable, Scream 4 brought it back and this time the joke was about the latest trend of horror remakes. The film is also by far the most gory film of the entire series, the deaths are more bloody than suspenseful and a lot of the plot feels like a remake of the first film – a direction the film deliberately takes – but then it isn’t quite a remake. There are a lot of this movie that feel off and out-of-place too though and the twist is kind of a mixed bag, all though it’s surprising and has some great shock value, it’s not particularly memorable. I also think the new additions of Emma Roberts, Hayden Panettiere, Rory Culkin are pretty okay ones and I wasn’t all that impressed with their characters. All in all though, it’s still a satisfying and entertaining end to the franchise that feels very relevant to 2011.

8.4/10

Overall Score: 8.4/10

-Khalid

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29 responses to “The Scream Quadrilogy (1996-2011)

  1. Great post – I recently watched 2 and 1/2 of these for the first time ever too. I thought the first two weren’t too bad. Still need to finish them up. They were a lot bloodier than I thought they would be…

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I saw the first one when it came out, a real staple among the sleepover crowd at the time!
    Never caught up with the rest as I don’t normally watch horror films, but you’ve made me want to see the Williamson ones.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Like I said 2 is pretty great and you can just skip the third one and go on to 4.
      Don’t like horror films either but I was surprisingly not all that scared watching these

      Like

  3. Great article, Khalid. You make some really good observations here. I also enjoyed reading your opinion since you hadn’t seen these before.

    This is one of the better horror franchises, especially since late 90s. I remember seeing the 1st Scream in the theater. The opening scene twist blew our minds. We started off laughing at all the nerdy references. The movie played on our expectations, then pulled the rug out from under us Tyler Durden style, totally diverting those expectations.

    You’re right, the 1st movie was excellent from start to finish. The sequels never delivered a satisfying ending. Part 2 was best, with the movie within a movie Stab, and Jada Pinkett theatre sequence, paralleled later with Sidney later.

    Thanks for taking me down memory lane and spreading Scream to today’s teenage audience. These movies blow today’s horror out of the water.

    Hey, Khalid, are you going to check the TV show now? I’m enjoying it. It definitely keeps the self aware meta stuff, and is surprisingly violent, especially the Fargo woodchipper-like cliffhanger last episode.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Dan! I can only imagine how great it must have been experiencing it at a theater. The opening scene is one of the best opening scenes I’ve seen in any movie, just grips you.
      Unfortunately not. I don’t watch too many TV Shows and I’m not interested in Scream unless it has Wes Craven, Kevin Williamson and the cast of the movie involved.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Scream is my favorite horror film. So I was like 9 when I saw the first Scream and it was the best expirience when I found that there were acually two criminals. And The second one was right after the first and was also awesome but it had an anticlimactic ending. Never interested în continuing the series

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great rundown here. My thoughts line up with yours pretty closely. The first is one of my favorite movies. 2 and 4 were both a fun time. 3… well that was pretty disappointing. You could really feel Williamson’s absence.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great stuff! I absolutely love Scream, and by association, the whole quadrilogy. I saw the first one at the cinema when I was 16 and it cemented my love of horror films, having grown up watching them. I need to re-watch these.

    Liked by 1 person

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