Scream is one of the most popular slasher horror movie franchises ever created. It all started in 1996 with the first film featuring the psychopathic killer wearing the Ghostface mask. Four movies are out so far, with the fifth slated to premiere in 2022.
It’s hard to keep up with the entire story with so many sequels already made over nearly three decades. Don’t worry; I got you covered. Here’s a complete guide to all Scream movies in order. Note that watching every sequel as a stand-alone movie works as well. However, to understand the entire story fully, you should watch all the movies as one big story.
Editor’s Note: This watch order was updated to include the most recent state of the franchise and includes the latest installment in the franchise, even though it’s yet to be released.
How many Scream movies are there?
There are six Scream movies in total. The franchise started with the release of Scream back in 1996. The last movie came out in 2022, titled simply “Sceam.” On March 10th sixth installment in the series is scheduled to be released, titled “Scream VI.”
Scream movies watch order (at a glance)
There are six Scream movies in total. The latest installment in the Scream franchise was released in March 2023, and it’s a direct sequel to the 2022 Scream.
- Scream (1996)
- Scream 2 (1997)
- Scream 3 (2000)
- Scream 4 (2011)
- Scream (2022)
- Scream VI (2023)
Are Scream movies connected? Do you need to watch them in a specific order?
All Scream movies are connected into one storyline spanning over 25 years, including the new 2023 movie. Neve Campbell did not return as Sidney Prescott. However, the movie will follow sisters Samantha and Tara Carpenter and twins Chad and Mindy Meeks, the survivors from the fifth scream movie.
What is the best way to watch Scream movies?
The best way to watch the Scream franchise is chronologically in order of release. The timeline is linear, with no prequels, origin stories, and similar plots. Every movie follows up on the events from the previous film, making the franchise best-viewed in release order.
Scream movies in order by release date
Now that you know how the movies came out in the right order, let’s dive into a more detailed explanation of the timeline and the storyline. It’s actually quite straightforward, as there are no prequels – the story of each subsequent film picks up immediately after the last movie or a bit further into the future.
1. Scream (1996)
The first Scream movie was a colossal hit when it came out on December 20, 1996. In fact, it was the highest-grossing slasher horror movie in history until 2018, when the new Halloween flick took over the throne with nearly $256 million worldwide. Scream is now second with $103 million in US box office numbers and $173 million worldwide.
Wes Craven directed the film, while Kevin Williamson helped Craven with the screenplay based on a true story of the Gainesville Ripper (note – based on). The film stars include Neve Campbell as the main character, Sidney Prescott, with an amazing supporting cast including Courteney Cox, David Arquette, Skeet Ulrich, and others.
The plot starts when a girl named Casey receives a phone call from someone asking her about horror movies. Not long after, Casey and her boyfriend end up brutally murdered. The main character, Sidney, goes to the same school as Casey. She immediately reminisces about her mother, also murdered in almost the same way years before Casey and her boyfriend.
Not long after, Sidey gets a call herself, after which the psychopath with the Ghostface mask enters her home and tries to kill her. She locks herself in a room, and her boyfriend Billy arrives with the killer nowhere in sight. However, Sidney is convinced Billy is the killer, so she calls the police. Spoiler alert – she was right.
Overall, the film was a bit predictable but very well-written and directed, and Neve Campbell did an amazing job as Sidney. The acting is a bit dramatic for today’s standards, but it’s still an amusing flick with a few nice scares. It’s fun to watch, especially if you’re a slasher horror movie fan like myself. I’d rate it 7/10, which is about the same as the film’s IMDb rating – 7.3/10.
2. Scream 2 (1997)
The sequel came out right after the first film, thanks to the huge success of the initial movie. Scream 2 came out almost exactly a year later, on December 12, 1997. While it came very close in box office numbers with $172 million worldwide and $101 million in the US, the second film in the franchise wasn’t nearly as well critically acclaimed as the original flick.
Craven and Williamson teamed up again, returning the survivors for part two while introducing some new characters. Jada Pinkett Smith and other notable actors join Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, and David Arquette.
The plot starts two years after the Woodsboro massacre, with Sidney already attending Windsor College in Ohio (a fictional college). As the students learn about Sidney’s past, they start calling and pranking her, claiming to be the murderer. It pushes Prescott near the edge, but it isn’t funny anymore when real murders start happening again.
First, two of Sidney’s friends get brutally killed in the cinema. The people question her, and not long after, her friend Cici gets a call from the killer and dies the same night while Prescott is at a party. The psychopath attacks Sidney again, and she survives again, learning that the killer is a copycat wearing the Ghostface costume.
Scream 2 was more outrageous, brutal, and gory, with more blood and more victims. However, it wasn’t as well-rated as the first part because it didn’t bring anything new or original. It felt like the initial story had been recycled, so the ratings dropped from a nice 7.3 for the first movie to 6.2 on IMDb for the second film.
It’s still a fun watch, but the world could’ve gone along without it.
3. Scream 3 (2000)
In my humble opinion, the third movie in the franchise is by far the worse so far. It came out on February 4, 2000, and generated a profit of $161 million worldwide. I guess people expected it to be at least as amusing as the second film, if not as good as the first. Still, it fell flat on its face with a 5.6 IMDb rating – and I honestly believe it’s a lot.
Craven continued directing, but this time, Ehren Kruger made the script. Honestly, it feels more like a parody than an actual horror film. The Campbell/Cox/Arquette trio is back again, with several other prominent characters returning and more new faces appearing and getting slain.
After the events of Scream 2, one of the characters, Cotton Wary, becomes a talk-show superstar hosting a TV show called 100% Cotton. In the meantime, Sidney lives in California with a new identity.
When she and her friends go to see Stab 3 in the cinema – a sequel film revolving around the Woodsboro murders, bodies start falling, and mayhem ensues – another psychopath takes the Ghostface mantle and starts a new killing spree, with Sidney being his main target.
First, Cotton receives a call and gets brutally murdered along with his girlfriend, Kristen. Sidney hears about it and knows she’s in danger. Of course, she was right, she gets attacked, and well, you know the rest.
There are some nice sequences, but yet again – for the third time – we get the exact same thing. Another murdering copycat terrorizes the main antagonists until the end, when they destroy him. It was a total money-grabber with nothing original to provide, which is probably why it flopped so hard ratings-wise.
4. Scream 4 (2011)
Nobody hoped or expected a fourth Scream movie to come out – but surprisingly, Scream 4 came out on April 15, 2011, eleven years after the trilogy had been concluded. Thankfully, it was a breath of new life into the franchise after the third-movie fiasco.
As expected, Wes Craven returned to direct, but Kevin Williamson also returned to write the script. The audience liked the film, giving it a nice 6.2 IMDb rating. It’s a good slasher that deserved the recognition, but nothing spectacular that will blow you away.
Still, the third bad film and the huge gap between Scream 3 and Scream 4 resulted in a much more modest box office success, gathering $97 million worldwide, which isn’t bad but isn’t great either, as the movies’ budget was $40 million.
The movie takes us ten years into the future after Scream 3 events concluded. Sidney barely recollected her mind and her life as she began writing. As one would expect, she encounters Ghostface once again after returning to her hometown after a decade as she finishes her book tour.
Jenny and Marnie are two girls watching the trailer for Stab 7, and Jenny starts joking around, calling Marnie and imitating Ghostface over the phone. As one would expect, they end up being the first victims of the new Ghostface psycho.
The film was refreshing and worth your time, not to spoil the ending, which is not something I’d say for Scream 3. You’ll have fun watching it for sure.
5. Scream (2022)
Scream 2022 was the first movie without Wes Craven as the director (Craven passed away in 2015) or Kevin Williamson as the writer. Instead, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett are the directors, while James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick worked on the screenplay.
Set 25 years after the events of the original Woodsboro murders. The film revolves around a new generation of teens who find themselves in the crosshairs of a mysterious figure dressed in the infamous Ghostface costume. This latest iteration of the masked killer has returned to terrorize a group of young people who are all connected to the previous killings in some way.
Scream (2022) brought a fresh take on the franchise, incorporating elements from previous films while introducing new characters and a new twist on the classic formula.
6. Scream VI (2023)
Scream VI is the direct sequel of the movie released in 2022. The survivors of the previous Ghostface killings, Samantha, Tara, Chad, and Mindy, have been through a traumatic experience and are trying to move on with their lives. However, the reappearance of the Ghostface killer forces them to confront their past and their fears all over again. The film explores the psychological toll that these events have taken on the characters and their struggle to come to terms with their experiences.
As the killings continue, the four protagonists must band together and use their knowledge of the previous Ghostface killings to uncover the new killer’s identity and end the killings once and for all. The film is a continuation of the classic Scream formula.
Honorable mention: Scream: The TV Series (2015-2019)
While it’s not a movie, per se, the Scream TV series belongs to the franchise, which is why I’m mentioning it on this list. It has a 7.1 IMDb rating after three seasons. The MTV-produced show is an anthology series revolving around a group of teenagers hunted down by another Ghostface. Is he one of them? Is he a random psycho? One has to see the series to find out.
While none of the original movie cast appears in the show, it’s quite amusing, and the young cast delivers a completely different vibe from the original. The show is created by Jay Beattie, Jill E. Blotevogel, and Dan Dworkin, while Willa Fitzgerald, Bex Taylor-Kraus, John Karna, and others star in the main roles.
The series is imagined as a comedy and delivers some nice dark humor sequences, but if you’re looking for something resembling the original films, this won’t be the show for you.
Where to watch Scream movies?
You can watch all installments in the Scream franchise on Amazon Prime Video streaming service. The latest installment in the franchise Scream VI was released on March 10 and is currently in theaters, but when it comes to streaming services, it will most likely be available at Paramount+.
Will there be more Scream movies?
The future of the franchise depends on the success of the recently released movie. We have no official confirmation whether the franchise will continue or not or in what form.