There isn't a better time to tuck into a good horror film – or franchise – than autumn; something about the evenings drawing in and the crisp, chilly air makes being terrified all the more special.


And that's where the Scream movies come in. With six features and a series under its belt, there's plenty to keep you going on Halloween and beyond.

And it's only going to get bigger, with a seventh Scream film also in the works from Christopher Landon (Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones).

The upcoming outing will see the cast of the requels return, including Wednesday's Jenna Ortega.

The film rebooted the franchise, moving its location from Woodsboro to New York and omitting original star Neve Campbell. Courteney Cox and Hayden Panettiere both feature, and are likely to return for Scream VII too.

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Thankfully, there's no confusing continuity to get your head around with the Scream franchise - compared to, say, the MCU - as each movie follows on from the next, all with the same universe of characters.

If you have never watched the franchise before and you're wondering where to start, this is the best order to watch Scream.


Courteney Cox, Jamie Kennedy and Neve Campbell in Scream, bloodied and looking shocked
Courteney Cox, Jamie Kennedy and Neve Campbell in Scream. Miramax

Released: 1996

The first Scream movie made a splash when it first aired, and it took the more meta approach to a masked serial killer that creator Wes Craven had used previously with his seventh entry in The Nightmare on Elm Street series - New Nightmare.

With a plot that kept people guessing right until the end and a memorable mix of characters all primed to be targeted by the killer, Scream was an instant success, and it is little wonder that sequels followed in quick succession - even if they did not quite match the heights that the first film had.

Where to watch: Scream is streaming on Paramount+, which is also available through Amazon Prime Video

Scream 2

Omar Epps and Jada Pinkett in Scream 2 sitting in a cinema surrounding by people wearing Ghostface masks
Omar Epps and Jada Pinkett Smith in Scream 2. Miramax

Released: 1997

While not quite as strong as the first film, Scream 2 largely succeeds because it once again nails the meta tone that the franchise is known for. While the first played up to the tropes of a standard slasher flick, the second leaned heavily on it being a sequel - and all the expected twists and turns that it entails.

There was a great cast assembled for this one, too, including Jerry O'Connell, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Laurie Metcalf and Timothy Olyphant, and they played alongside the returning characters well and helped give us a story that, while not doing too much to change things up from the original, still made it feel fresh. We're still not sold on the killer's identity with this one, though...

Where to watch: Scream 2 is streaming on Paramount+ and Amazon Freevee

Scream 3

Courteney Cox, Parker Posey and David Arquette in Scream 3 hiding in a closet
Courteney Cox, Parker Posey and David Arquette in Scream 3. Miramax

Released: 2000

Arguably the worst movie out of the six so far, Scream 3 had some things working for it, but the concept was starting to feel a tad tired three entries in - and while there were some surprises, like the shocking death of a Scream original early on, it was hard to invest in a franchise that, at this point, felt repetitive.

To jump to the defence of Scream 3, though, it was a film that was heavily influenced, and hampered, by the studio in response to several real-world violent acts that many blamed slasher movies for. The violence was toned down and the comedy was dialled up, and while that worked in places, Scream was always a horror franchise first and a comedic one second, and Scream 3 is the perfect example of why it should always stay that way.

Where to watch: Scream 3 is streaming on Paramount+ and Amazon Freevee

Scream 4

scream 4
Courteney Cox in Scream 4.

Released: 2011

It took a long time for another instalment in the franchise, with an 11-year gap between the third and fourth films - coincidentally the same amount of time between the fourth and fifth entries. And it was a welcome return, as not only did Scream 4 end up being better received than the previous one, the meta jokes regarding reboots landed perfectly.

Not only that but the new cast that appeared alongside the returning faces were fun to watch with Emma Roberts, Hayden Panettiere, Anthony Anderson and Adam Brody all making a great impression. Killer twist when the serial killer was revealed too.

Where to watch: Scream 4 is streaming on Paramount+, which is also available on Amazon Prime Video

Scream (2022)

Neve Campbell in Scream (2022) holding a gun, wearing a leather jacket
Neve Campbell in Scream (2022). Paramount Pictures

Release date: 2022

Confusingly named the same as the first film, the 2022 Scream is mostly a sequel to Scream 4 - but also a bit of a reboot, as it centres its story on new characters while also having the likes of Sidney, Gale and Dewey an integral part of the plot.

Set 25 years after the original film, Ghostface returns to Woodsboro and begins targeting a new group of teenagers who have a connection to the original characters. Tara Carpenter is the daughter of original killer Billy Loomis, while Vince Schneider is his accomplice Stu Macher’s nephew. Heavier on the meta than the scares, Scream proved there was still life yet in the series, with Neve Campbell delivering her best performance across the films.

Where to watch: Scream (2022) is available to rent or buy on Amazon Prime Video

Scream VI

Melissa Barrera, Jenna Ortega, Jasmin Savoy Brown and Mason Gooding in Scream VI with their hands together
Melissa Barrera, Jenna Ortega, Jasmin Savoy Brown and Mason Gooding in Scream VI. Paramount Pictures

Release: 2023

The first Scream film without Campbell and the first to be set outside of Woodsboro, Ghostface instead takes his murderous ways to New York, continuing his focus on the Carpenter sisters. Hayden Panettiere also returns from Scream 4 as Kirby to help the Carpenters unravel the mystery.

Not as well received as the previous film, Scream VI found some inspiration in switching its setting to New York and having a particularly gnarly finale, though the lack of presence from original cast members was felt, with only Courteney Cox having an extended cameo.

Where to watch: Scream VI is streaming on Paramount+, which is also available on Amazon Prime Video

Bonus: The Scream TV series

A person wearing a mask holding a knife
Scream TV series.

More of a bonus watch, this. There was also a TV series of Scream that ran for three seasons between 2015 and 2019, and while it is not directly connected to any continuity that the movies gave us, the general feel remains the same - and it is interesting to see how they handle telling a tale over a longer period of time than the movies allowed.

Check out more of our Film coverage, or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to find out what's on.


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