Revisiting the Scream Franchise

Daniel Antonson

Warning: This review contains major plot spoilers

Horror movies are very close to the top of the list when it comes to the total box office revenue they’ve brought in. Bringing in around 11.16 billion U.S. dollars, the “Scream” franchise alone has been around since the mid 1990’s, bringing with it a series of four films, costumes based around the infamous killer from the movies, and even a spinoff TV show that pushes the boundaries of the basic horror movie plot outline. 

The first “Scream” movie, released in 1996, was funny, clever, and yet still scary with the main character (Sidney) being chased by the killer, and finding her best friend (Tatum) gruesomely crushed by a garage door. The ending holds the biggest plot twist of the movie, with her boyfriend (Billy) and his best friend (Stu) being the killers in the end. At first the motive was unclear, but just as in most horror movies, his motive was revenge–revenge for Billy’s parents separating because of Sidney’s mom. In the end, Sidney ends up living, hinting at a sequel to a great movie.

In the second “Scream” movie, released one year later in 1997, Sidney’s now a college student. In this movie however the news reporter from the first movie released her own movie called “Stab,” based on the events that happened the previous year in Woodsboro.  Once again she is being terrorized by a killer; however, this one’s a copycat killer using the disguise of Ghostface. After a few killings and all the suspenseful fluff that’s in most horror movies, the ending turned out to have an even bigger plot twist than the first movie with the killers being Billy’s mom and another college student named Mickey. Mickey explains that Billy’s mom (Mrs. Loomis)  paid for his college fees in return for him to do the killings. Mrs. Loomis’ motive being, once again, revenge–revenge for her son’s death. 

As with almost every movie in the horror genre and franchise, they share similar characteristics that can still set them apart from other movies. Some common elements that were apparent throughout the first two Scream movie installments were that the killer always seemed to be around, always seemingly being able to see their victim in any situation. Giving the viewer, if they’re observant enough, the clue that the killer is more than likely someone who’s close to them. The second main aspect that was present in both movies, is that the main character usually ends up living, giving the chance for another movie, such as in Scream 2 when a new killer came into play but terrorized the same main character. The third element, the one that aids in giving the movie a faster plot, is that the first kill to happen in the movie seems to occur within the first 15 to 20 minutes from the beginning of the movie.  

Those being just a few of the most noticeable patterns. The more you watch the movies, especially when they’re watched back to back, the more the plot becomes predictable and it’s easier to figure out what’s going to happen next. 

The third “Scream” movie takes place two years after the previous one, with Sidney being drawn to hollywood where more killings are happening on set where they’re filming the movie within a movie: “Stab 3”. Once again the third addition to the series having that sort of “whodunit” feeling mixed with the violence of a slasher movie. Towards the end of the movie is when the main confrontation between Sidney and the killer happens. While attending a birthday party for the “Stab 3” director’s (Roman) birthday, the killer strikes again. Amongst all the panic, Sidney runs into a screening room to hide, but instead comes face to face with the killer. After a wild goose chase and a lot more horror movie drama, the killer is revealed to be Roman, who tells Sidney that he just happens to be her half brother and that he earlier had faked his own death. He goes on to explain how he’s going to frame her for the murders that took place, and ends up shooting her. While he thinks she’s dead she crawls away and regains her strength, giving the upper hand. She comes back and stabs Roman in the chest, revealing that she was wearing a bulletproof vest, plunging his own knife right into his chest. 

With the fourth installment of the “Scream” movie franchise holding even more secrets, plot twists, killings, and drama, it’s plain to see that each movie holds their own kind of originality and authenticity. Giving a sense of nostalgia everytime they get rewatched. With the three sequels getting progressively more gruesome and more thrilling, it all comes back to the first movie. The original and best out of all four of them, being the first movie. Having revolutionary plot ideas for the horror industry, the first “Scream” movie had only the best when it came to plot twists and character development.