DVD box set containing the first three films.
|Directed by||Wes Craven|
|Written by||Kevin Williamson
|Music by||Marco Beltrami|
|Distributed by||Dimension Films
The Weinstein Company
The Scream film series is a series of horror films directed by Wes Craven and written by Kevin Williamson and Ehren Kruger. The main plot involves a psychopathic serial killer wearing a Halloween costume attempting to kill Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) and various other characters involved in her life. Each film begins with the gory murder of a couple before showing the whereabouts of Sidney. It takes off from there leading to the revelation of the killer's identity and the final battle between Sidney and the killer. They revitalized the slasher film genre in the mid 1990s, in a similar way to Halloween (1978) in the 1970s, by using a standard concept with a tongue-in-cheek approach that successfully combined straightforward scares with dialogue that satirized slasher film conventions. The first film became a major commercial success upon its release, and was one of the highest grossing films of 1996. It was also highly acclaimed by many critics worldwide, who appreciated the film's tongue-in-cheek approach.
Thoughout the series (specifically the first and third film), parts of a back story were uncovered that occurred before the first film's timescale. It is revealed that Maureen Roberts (Lynn McRee) spent time in Los Angeles trying to become an actress. She appeared in three horror films using the pseudonym of Reena Reynolds. At a Hollywood party, she was gang raped by movie insiders and became pregnant with Roman Bridger (Scott Foley). After giving birth, Maureen gave her son up for adoption and left Los Angeles. She then went back home to Woodsboro, where she met and married Neil Prescott (Lawrence Hecht). They went on to have a daughter named Sidney (Campbell). Neither Neil nor Sidney were told of the existence of Maureen's son. Meanwhile, Roman grew up wondering what had happened to his mother.
When Sidney was about 16 years old, Roman found Maureen (Reena) and went to her hoping to spend some time with her only to find out Reena Reynolds was "dead" and that she had a new life, with no interest in digging up old secrets. She also tells Roman that he was Reena's son, not hers, and she wanted nothing to do with him. The rejection enraged Roman who followed her incessantly, (sometimes recording her activities) learning that she wasn't the perfect wife and mother she pretended to be. She was engaged in several affairs with local men, including Cotton Weary (Liev Schreiber) and Hank Loomis (C.W. Morgan), father of Sidney's boyfriend Billy Loomis. Roman later revealed the affair to Billy (Skeet Ulrich) which enraged him and, using his creativity as a director, Roman persuaded him to kill Maureen and frame Cotton. With the help of Billy's best friend, Stu Macher (Matthew Lillard), Billy does as instructed, and together they murder Maureen. Sidney, having witnessed someone wearing Cotton Weary's jacket, testifies that she saw Weary leave the house and Cotton is subsequently convicted of the crime and sentenced to death.
As the first film begins, Billy and Stu continue their murderous rampage, stalking other people who they feel have wronged them such as Casey Becker (Drew Barrymore) who previously dumped Stu for another guy. They begin killing Sidney's friends as part of a game whereby their actions mimic the cliche "rules" of horror movies, and although they intend to isolate Sidney and kill her as well, they are discovered by reporter Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox) who manages to help Sidney thwart and kill her attackers in a showdown at the Macher house. In the second film, Billy's mother (Laurie Metcalf) is the killer, seeking revenge on Sidney and Gale, and she coerces one of Sidney's film student friends, Mickey Altieri (Timothy Olyphant), a psychopathic serial killer seeking celebrity status, into helping her. The events are mimicking the plot of a newly released film Stab depicting the events of the first Scream film. In the end, both Mrs. Loomis and Mickey are killed by Sidney. In the third film, while filming of the latest Stab movie commences in Hollywood, Roman, who also happens to be the director of the film, is dissatisfied that Sidney is still alive, and begins slaughtering members of the film crew in order to draw Sidney out of hiding, and seeks retribution for the life that he believes should have been his. Sidney mortally wounds him, and Dewey Riley (David Arquette) finally ends his life by shooting him in the head. With the last of the original masked killers dead, Sidney apparently found the strength to move on with her life.
- Italics indicate appearances in flashback or archive footage from previous films.
- A dark grey cell indicates the character was not in the film.
|Scream||Scream 2||Scream 3|
|Deputy Dwight "Dewey" Riley||David Arquette|
|Sidney Prescott||Neve Campbell|
|Gale Weathers||Courteney Cox Arquette|
|Randy Meeks||Jamie Kennedy|
|Cotton Weary||Liev Schreiber|
|Ghostface||Roger L. Jackson (voice)|
|Neil Prescott||Lawrence Hencht||(character mentioned in Scream 2)||Lawrence Hencht|
|Hank Loomis||C. W. Morgan||C. W. Morgan|
Reena Reynolds (pseudonym)
|Lynn McRee||Lynn McRee||Lynn McRee|
|Billy Loomis||Skeet Ulrich||(character mentioned in Scream 2)||Skeet Ulrich|
|Stuart "Stu" Macher||Matthew Lillard||(character mentioned in Scream 2)||Matthew Lillard|
|Tatum Riley||Rose McGowan||(character mentioned in 2 and 3)|
|Casey Becker||Drew Barrymore||(character mentioned in Scream 2)|
|Kenneth "Kenny"||W. Earl Brown||(character mentioned in Scream 2)|
|Steven "Steve" Orth||Kevin Patrick Walls||(character mentioned in Scream 2)|
|Principal Himbry||Henry Winkler||(character mentioned in Scream 2)|
|Debbie Salt (alias)
|(character mentioned in Scream)||Laurie Metcalf|
|Derek||Jerry O'Connell||(character referenced in Scream 3)|
A fourth movie was announced by the Weinstein Company in July 2008, with Wes Craven saying that he wouldn't mind directing the film, but also went on to say, "It would take it being really as good a script as the first one was, and the pay day reflect what I've done for that company."
Writer Kevin Williamson is set to return for the fourth film, which he envisions to be the first of a new trilogy and could feature the return of David and Courteney Cox Arquette.
Jamie Kennedy told iFMagazine that he was in talks of reprising his role as Randy Meeks. Despite the character being killed off in Scream 2, Kennedy said, "I actually had a conversation with somebody very big in the organization, and there's a way. I don't know what's going to happen, but they have plans for a lot of things. You can see new faces you wouldn't expect and you can see old faces that you wouldn't believe. There's a way to bring a lot of things around."
In February 2010, Craven told the Los Angeles Times that shooting for the fourth film would begin in May 2010. However, five days after the article, Craven posted on his Twitter that he still hasn't officially signed on to direct.
|Film||Release date||Box office revenue||Box office ranking||Budget||Reference|
|United States||Foreign||Worldwide||All time domestic||All time worldwide|
|Scream||December 20, 1996||$103,046,663||$70,000,000||$173,046,663||#400||$15,000,000|||
|Scream 2||December 12, 1997||$101,122,258||$71,000,000||$172,363,301||#416||$24,000,000|||
|Scream 3||February 4, 2000||$89,143,175||$72,700,000||$161,843,175||#499||$40,000,000|||
|Film||Rotten Tomatoes||Metacritic||Yahoo! Movies|
|Overall||Cream of the Crop|
|Scream||83% (52 reviews)||69% (13 reviews)||65% (25 reviews)||B (11 reviews)|
|Scream 2||79% (67 reviews)||94% (17 reviews)||63% (22 reviews)||B- (12 reviews)|
|Scream 3||38% (95 reviews)||39% (23 reviews)||56% (32 reviews)|
A signature device of the series, started in Scream and continued in Scream 2 and Scream 3, was to deliver the typical "rules" for the slasher subgenre of horror movies, always recited by the movie-buff character Randy.
Randy also elaborates further during another scene, claiming that one should not assume the most likely person is always the killer and that "Everyone is a suspect." This, however, is not one of the "official" rules.
In addition to the films rules, a similar set of "rules" were used for the film's trailer:
The lack of a third rule in the film's final cut was a deliberate in-joke by the crew referencing the fact that it is impossible to ensure that a horror franchise will be successful.
Despite his death in the second film, Randy makes a special appearance in a video tape the character made during the events of Scream 2. In it he states that if the third movie is just another sequel, then the standard rules for a sequel apply. However, "If you find yourself dealing with an unexpected back story, and a preponderance of exposition, then the sequel rules do not apply. Because you are not dealing with a sequel, you are dealing with the concluding chapter of a trilogy." The rules for the final concluding chapter of a trilogy are different:
In closing Randy goes on to say good luck, godspeed, and that he will see some of the people soon because according to the rules, some of them weren't going to make it. Because he didn't, not if they were watching that tape.
Although, in the first few drafts, there was a fourth rule: "Never be alone" but was taken out because Gale immediately goes off alone afterwards.