Scream’s gory arrival to cinemas in December of 1996 revitalized the horror genre and gave it the stab in the chest it so desperately needed. A movie about sadistic serial killers who happen to be way too obsessed with scary movies went on to become a box office smash, spawning an entire franchise. Twenty-five years later, a fifth Scream is on the way and audiences (including me!) could not be any more excited for the next bloodbath.
In anticipation of 5cream (hold the sugar), what better way to revisit the franchise than by cutting open the body of work and ranking every scene. Yes, every single scene in all four movies. From Sidney’s first time punching Gale to Sidney’s last run-in with Ghostface – we’re covering it all. Why would we ever do this? Why the hell not?
The series has blessed horror fans with so many fantastic moments, but we would be lying if we didn’t admit there have been a few questionable decisions along the way (the voice changer in Scream 3 that could replicate everyone’s voice makes zero sense to this day). Yet, for every fan who dislikes certain aspects of the movies, you’ll surely find another ferociously defending it. I will say, I do favour certain entries more than I do others, but I think all four films are brilliant in their own twisted way. Whether it be their intricately crafted terror scenes by Wes Craven, the mystery of finding out who is behind the mask, or the growth of the franchise’s three leads, we love it all. Some could argue Neve Campbell’s Sidney Prescott has become the ultimate final girl, dare I say even more so than Halloween’s Laurie Strode. Sidney, along with tabloid-journalist-turned-celebrity Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox) and Deputy Sheriff Dewey Riley (David Arquette) managed to survive four separate massacres after all.
Remember, these are one man’s thoughts. If your opinion differs, slide into my DMs (@tonyfilangeri) and call me a doofus if you feel so inclined. Also, in case you haven’t noticed, I LOVE these movies. Scream changed my life when I saw it. It turned me into the horror movie-obsessed writer that I am today and I will forever be grateful. To prove my case, I have a signed Craven poster on my bedroom wall and I even named my cat Sidney Prescat. And before we kick the list off, let me be frank, a “bad” Scream scene is still a scene I shamelessly have all the words memorized for. Even if I desperately wish I could forget one of the worst lines in cinema history…
“Fuck Bruce Willis.”
Now let’s get to it, with the very worst scene in the series…
111) Scream 4: The Finale At The Hospital (1:35:14-1:43:31)
Yes, the very last scene of the series (so far) is at the bottom. Why? Well, it wasn’t the original ending to the movie first of all. Scream 4 was supposed to end much differently with Jill Roberts (Emma Roberts) actually getting away with it. Could you imagine Jill surviving and becoming the new Sidney only to become the target of another Ghostface in Scream 5? Killer vs. Killer? Wouldn’t that have been a blast?
So the story goes, the Weinsteins, the producers behind the series, believed they knew how to craft a horror film far better than master of suspense Wes Craven and brainchild Kevin Williamson. Thus, Bob demanded a typical Hollywood ending and a rewrite from a new writer.
So instead, we get a bonus ending at the hospital and it’s all sorts of ridiculous. Since when does Sidney talk about movies as if she’s Randy Meeks, spewing lines like “Consider this an alternate ending” and “You forgot the first rule of remakes…” As lovely as that line is… “Don’t fuck with the original”, Sidney would be the last person to speak like this. Oh, and let’s not forget one of the final lines of the movie. Deputy Judy’s “Wear the vest, save your chest”.
Even if Jill did succeed in killing Sidney and Dewey here, the hospital cameras would have caught everything. Also, where are the staff among the chaos? Gunshots galore and no call for help? The Scream movies are supposed to be intelligent and at this point, the franchise became a parody of itself and we’re hoping and praying they go back to basics in 2022.
I will say, Emma Roberts is delightful and takes great pleasure in playing a psychopath. It’s quite obvious why she went on to star as mega-bitch in two of Ryan Murphy’s shows. She’s too good.
110) Scream 4: Bruce Willis and Wind Chimes (1:02:02-1:10:31)
There’s nothing more cringe than something that tries to be funny and fails.
Deputy Hoss and Deputy Perkins (played by Adam Brody and Anthony Anderson who are criminally underused) are outside the Robert’s Residence discussing movie-cop-rules, like how police officers usually die in movies. “Unless [they’re played by] Bruce Willis”. Ironically, they’re both murdered by Ghostface moments later.
Perkins gets stabbed through the forehead too. It’s gnarly, there’s a lot of blood, and it’s ALMOST cool, except in his final breath, he utters the words… “Fuck Bruce Willis.” Any suspense this movie had is gone just like that. I know the Scream movies are funny, but at least the first two (and even the third) took their kill scenes very seriously. In comparison, could you imagine if Tatum cracked a joke while she was being lifted by the garage door?
Anyway. While this is going on, Sidney feels the need to step outside and move wind chimes around when she receives a phone call. It’s amazing to me that after all this time, she still answers the phone. As always, the voice of the killer (voiced by Roger L. Jackson – mad props) is haunting as always and it’s the only real positive to come out of this scene.
Promptly, her aunt Kate (played by Mary McDonnell whose talents are wasted in this movie) comes home, who at this point has had maybe three lines in the movie. Both her and Sidney are attacked and Kate is stabbed through a mail slot. It’s hard to care since we barely knew her.
Adorable Deputy Judy (played by Marley Shelton) comes to the rescue, but Sidney flees the scene to go to Kirby’s for the finale. Why Sidney couldn’t tell Judy where she was going is beyond me. Couldn’t they have both gone to Kirby’s to save the day? Couldn’t she tell Judy, so Judy could tell Dewey? I get it, Sidney’s got trust issues, but come on…
109) Scream 4: Robbie’s Gay? (1:17:28-1:18:35)
More cringe. Robbie Mercer (played by Erik Knudsen) wanders outside for no reason especially when you consider there’s a serial killer on the loose. Unsurprisingly, he is killed by Ghostface but not before begging for his life by proclaiming that he’s gay. It doesn’t work.
108) Scream 4: Sidney’s Introduction (0:10:55-0:11:58)
At this point, it’s been ten years since the audience has seen the character of Sidney Prescott. We’re expecting her introduction to be grand. Instead, she arrives at the book shop with her publicist Rebecca Walters (Alison Brie) and laughs at some joke about killing a cat.
107) Scream 4: Dewey and Gale’s Introduction (0:11:58-0:12:19)
Again, it’s been ten years since we’ve seen these characters and we get nothing to sink our teeth into. We get Dewey and Gale Riley being woken up to Dewey’s phone alarm – the song to Beverly Hill’s Cop. This short scene establishes that ten years after the events of Scream 3, Dewey and Gale are still together but did this have to be it?
There’s actually a deleted scene expanding on this showcasing Dewey and Gale’s marital problems, and it even explains why Neil Prescott, Sidney’s father, isn’t in this movie. It is deleted scenes like this (there’s plenty in Scream 4), little character moments, that should have remained in the final cut.
106) Scream 4: Gale’s Writer’s Block (0:16:22-0:17:06)
Yes, another Scream 4 scene. And here all you Scream fanatics be hating on Scream 3.
We get a nice tidbit with Sidney being interviewed by Nancy O’Dell about her new book ‘Out Of Darkness’, and Gale is super jealous. Sidney is now a successful writer, but poor Gale has writer’s block. How do we know? Because she literally writes it out for us…
“I HAVE NO FUCKING IDEA WHAT TO WRITE.”
105) Scream 3: Kincaid and Sidney at the Police Station (1:11:56-1:15:01)
Here we are! Scream 3!
Mark Kincaid (played by McSteamy – Patrick Dempsey) and Sidney talk about movie trilogies as one would expect. Sidney eventually opens up about not knowing who her mother was, but Kincaid changes her perspective by simply saying… “You know who she was to you.” Cute.
Then comes the cheese. Sidney for some reason asks Mark what his favourite scary movie is. To which Mark replies, by leaning in to almost kiss her… “My life.”
Side note: Do you think Sidney and Mark dated after Scream 3? I like to think they did.
104) Scream 4: Dewey and Judy Introduction (0:14:56-0:16:22)
This scene tries too hard to drive the point home that Deputy Judy has a crush on Dewey Riley.
Sheriff. You’re not cheating on your wife if you eat my lemon square.
No, but I would be cheating on my diet.
What is this dialogue??
On a plus side: Dewey does deliver “One generation’s tragedy is the next one’s joke” marvelously. David Arquette really does play this character to perfection. Also, check out the deleted scene of Dewey and Judy finding the bodies of Jenny Randall and Marnie Cooper. It’s a travesty it didn’t make it into the movie.
103) Scream 3: Gale, Jennifer, and Dewey Out For A Ride (1:15:01-1:15:54)
A short scene where Dewey receives a call from the killer disguised as Sidney (*sigh*), asking them to meet her (him?) at John Milton’s mansion. There’s not much going on here, but it does its job in giving Dewey and Gale a reason to go to the Birthday party to almost get slaughtered.
102) Scream 4: Afterparty At Kirby’s (1:10:57-1:13:20)
There’s a psycho murderer on the loose, so the teens of Woodsboro go to Kirby’s house with no adult supervision just so they can continue drinking while watching horror movies – even though they are all quite clearly the targets. Oh, and Kirby also lives in the middle of nowhere.
Kirby Reed and Charlie Walker (Hayden Panettiere and Rory Culkin) play horror trivia while Jill insists Trevor Sheldon (Nico Tortorella) never texted her, so she disappears to find her phone – aka start stabbing people. It’s way too easy and convenient.
101) Scream 4: Dewey and Gale At The Hospital (1:10:31-1:10:57)
Gale is rushed to the hospital and Dewey is by her side. We should care that Gale might die, but it’s played for laughs. Instead of a touching moment, we have Gale ask Dewey to “catch the mother fucker.” It is nice to see Dewey’s love for Gale shine through though.
100) Scream 4: The Woodsboro Teens & Their Phones (0:21:23-0:21:49)
A very quick scene of the young cast all finding out about Jenny Randall and Marnie Cooper’s murders through some new technology for the series: smartphones.
99) Scream 4: Gale Entices Robbie and Charlie (0:40:01-0:41:39)
Gale Weathers uses her sex appeal and charm to convince Robbie and Charlie to invite her to their Cinema Club. They could honestly care less about Mrs. Weathers, as Charlie declares it’s Sidney they want at their club. “She’s the star.” “Daniel Radcliff to [Gale’s] JK Rowling.” “Except without the box office and book sales.”
This scene makes much more sense now in context once you know Charlie tried to stab Sidney like an hour before.
98) Scream 3: Who Gets Killed In Stab 3? (0:30:32-0:33:05)
Let me start things off by saying Jennifer Jolie (played by Parker Posey) is the best thing in the third movie, if not the entire franchise. Okay, maybe not the entire franchise, but she’s a Goddess and steals every single scene she is in. After finding out a second cast member of Stab 3 has been killed, Jennifer has her first cigarette in years and goes off on the real Gale Weathers.
You! Like I’m ever gonna win an award playing you!
This is all fun. So is Gale finding out Dewey’s been living with Jennifer.
Where the scene goes downhill is when bodyguard Steven Stone (Patrick Warburton) has his moment to talk. He delivers some dialogue aimed at bringing Dewey down that I think is meant to be funny but in actuality, it’s 30 seconds that could have easily been cut from the movie.
97) Scream 2: Cafeteria Scene (0:46:28-0:49:50)
The second act of Scream 2 drags a little and this scene is one of the reasons why.
Jerry O’Connell’s Derek sings his heart out for Sidney to try and prove he’s not a killer. It’s sort of cute, it’s sort of touching, but he could have just gave her the necklace a few scenes earlier.
96) Scream 4: Dewey Receives A Call From Judy (1:13:21-1:13:55)
After Sidney flees the scene of the crime, Judy calls Dewey to inform him that Kate Roberts, Deputy Hoss, and Deputy Perkins were all stabbed to death. There’s not much to report here but David Arquette and Marley Shelton get to act serious for a second and it’s refreshing.
95) Scream 4: Sidney Fires Rebecca (0:41:39-0:42:58)
An example of characters not talking like real people in Scream 4, Rebecca tries to painstakingly convince Sidney to go on The View and Nancy Grace and says some pretty shitty things. Sidney refuses to put up with her crap and fires her, ultimately sending her to her death.
94) Scream 2: Sidney and Derek On Campus After Their Attack (0:43:53-0:45:15)
Derek really is the perfect boyfriend for Sidney and it’s a shame he doesn’t make it past the credits. This is the first time in the film where Sidney isn’t quite sure whether or not she fully trusts Derek. It’s important and necessary for Sidney’s arc, but not the most memorable.
93) Scream 4: Trevor Sneaks In Through A Window and Judy Sneaks In Through The Darkness (0:28:40-0:31:17)
Yes, another Scream 4 scene. For all you Scream 4 fanatics reading this, don’t hate me.
Judy emerges from the shadows and is unnecessarily creepy when she reintroduces herself to Sidney. It’s way too obvious of a red herring. Before that though, Sidney walks in on Jill and her ex boyfriend Trevor and is reminded of the times when Billy Loomis used to sneak in through her window. It’s a nice moment, and this is Nico’s best part in the movie.
What are you doing in the house with Sidney Prescott? That’s like being on Top Chef with Jeffrey Dahmer.
92) Scream 3: Dewey and Gale Catch Up (0:28:23-0:30:32)
A calm moment between Dewey and Gale, they crack some cute jokes and talk about how their relationship fell apart after the events of Scream 2. It’s crystal clear however the chemistry between these two is straight up fire and they should probably just kiss and make up already. Eventually, Dewey reveals his true purpose for working on the set of Stab 3, as he thinks somebody working on the film is trying to find Sidney and we are hooked.
91) Scream 2: Derek Says Goodbye to Sidney and is Kidnapped By His Fraternity (1:23:04-1:25:30)
Sidney’s guards are tasked with taking her and new best friend Hallie (Elise Neal) somewhere safe. To where we’re not sure. Sidney says goodbye to Derek and gives him one last kiss. Literally, one last kiss.
The girls drive off and we think we see Ghostface in the darkness, but psych! It’s just Derek’s fellow fraternity members in robes. They kidnap him for giving Sidney a necklace and we sadly see the very last of Lois and Murphy (Portia De Rossi and Rebecca Gayheart).
90) Scream 4: Gale and Rebecca (0:25:42-0:26:56)
Allison Brie is a highlight in Scream 4. Her glee when she finds out two girls have been butchered is twisted yet endearing. Her geeking out over Gale Weathers and then proceeding to insult her while blissfully unaware is amusing. If this scene accomplishes anything, it makes us want more from these two but sadly Rebecca and Gale never meet again.
89) Scream 4: Stab-A-Thon (0:59:57-1:02:02)
Okay, this scene had every right to be amazing, but it was underwhelming?? Don’t get me wrong. There are moments here that work and for a second we think Gale might actually buy it, but this could have been so much more. The journey getting there isn’t all that inspired.
The heartless teenagers of Woodsboro throw a Stab-A-Thon (a back-to-back movie marathon of all seven Stabs) to commemorate the events of the original movie. Assuming the killer will strike, Gale sneaks in and plants cameras at the event which is a lovely throwback to the original. Naturally, things don’t go to plan and Ghostface stabs and nearly kills her.
Cox sleepwalks through her lines at the end of the scene and I can’t say I blame her. Someone who was shanked so badly they have to be sent to the hospital in critical condition would be screaming in agony, not calmly explaining how the killer is “making the movie.”
Can I also mention how unrealistic the teenagers are portrayed? Their friend Olivia just died and here Robbie and Kirby are getting drunk and having the time of their lives?
This does get points though for set design and a throwback to Heather Graham in Stab.
88) Scream 4: The Girls Arrive At School & The Boys Annoy (0:17:06-0:18:58)
“What’s your favourite scary movie?” Robbie asks the girls as they arrive to school.
There’s a remembrance statue of Principal Himbrey in the hallways of Woodboro High and I love it. Jill tries convincing Kirby to hook up with Charlie when we finally meet this Trevor everyone has been talking about – Jill’s ex boyfriend. Trevor so desperately wants Jill back while we, the audience watching this for the first time, assume he’s probably the one behind the mask.
87) Scream 4: Rebecca’s Body Tumbles Into a Live Police Report (0:47:16-0:48:32)
“The whole situation is under control” says Dewey to a bunch of reporters, just as Rebecca Walter’s dead body violently crashes on top of a news van. Now that is funny.
The “Team Gale” line is pretty lame though.
86) Scream: Gale and Kenny In The News Van (1:08:45-1:09:15)
Scream’s lowest-ranked scene! There’s nothing wrong here, but it’s short. It sets up the horrific “30-second delay” later on and Gale talks about her dream of winning the Pulitzer Prize.
85) Scream 3: Chaos Outside The Set Of Stab 3 (1:08:03-1:09:01)
Sidney’s just been attacked by Ghostface and she’s hysterical, confusing the set of Stab 3 for Woodsboro. The highlight of this scene is Detective Wallace (Josh Pais) questioning if Angelina (Emily Mortimer) stole a mask before setting his sights on Tyson (Deon Richmond).
Don’t look at me, I didn’t take shit.
84) Scream 3: Detectives At Sarah Darling’s Crime Scene (0:33:06-0:34:14)
Detectives Kincaid and Wallace search for clues at the studio where Sarah Darling was murdered. The killer leaves a second photo of a young Maureen Prescott.
10 more murders and we can publish a calendar.
Can we all agree how underrated Detective Wallace is in this movie? He’s not in it enough.
We learn that the killer is patterning his murders off the script of Stab 3, but it’s merely a plot device to throw the police off guard and it’s never touched upon again.
83) Scream: Sidney In Class, Staring At Casey’s Empty Seat (0:18:42-0:18:59)
Sidney doesn’t sit next to Casey Becker in English anymore. It’s quite dire, showing how somebody can be there one moment and gone the next.
82) Scream: Billy Suspiciously Shows Up After Tatum Dies (1:07:43-1:08:45)
Unbeknownst to her and everybody else at the party minus two people, Sidney’s bestest friend has been killed in the garage. Sidney is on the lookout for her, but boyfriend Billy (Skeet Ulrich) suspiciously shows up with a fake jump scare to boot. The identity of the killer is so obvious, yet not obvious at all and this is why this movie is so amazing.
81) Scream 4: Aftermath of Olivia’s Murder (0:38:50-0:40:01)
Sidney’s back in the spotlight but not for the reasons she had hoped. Somebody is making another movie and she is a part of it. Police and spectators gawk as Sidney leaves the scene of the crime, and I would just like to point out some random person yelling…
“JUST LIKE YOUR MOTHER!”
Lmao, what? Sidney is just like her mother, how?
Dewey confronts Hoss and Perkins for you know, not being there to save Olivia when they were supposed to be there to save Olivia. They make up a reason that doesn’t really make sense, and Dewey should have just fired them right then and there as clearly they’re incompetent.
80) Scream 2: Sidney’s Cassandra Performance (0:54:51-1:00:46)
Again, Scream 2’s second act drags. Did we really need this scene?
Do not get me wrong. I truly appreciate how big and epic the sequel to the greatest horror movie tries to be, but sometimes less is more. Firstly, can I mention that Sidney Prescott trying to become an actress seems so out of character to me? For someone who has always hated media attention, why would Sidney choose a career in the spotlight? Does anybody else agree?
During rehearsal for the play Cassandra (the lead character of the play conveniently drawing similarities to Sidney’s life), Ghostface attacks her in plain sight and for some reason nobody sees. Was he actually there or was it just in her head? It’s confusing.
I will mention though that Scream 2 came out less than one year after the success of Scream and still ends up being nearly the perfect sequel, despite this low-ranked scene.
Where the scene truly shines is shortly before and after the attack. Before, Sidney’s drama teacher forces her to believe in herself. “I’m a fighter.” And after the attack, Sidney demands Derek give her space as her trust issues from her past come into play and it’s tragic.
Photos courtesy of kissthemgoodbye.net
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