Scream is a franchise that has managed to scare audiences for over three decades. The original film flipped the slasher concept on it’s head and remains an important note in the world of horror. Part of that is due to the shocking opening scene with Casey Becker (Drew Barrymore). That iconic opening had audiences instantly glued to the screen and kept them on the edge of their toes until the shocking revelation of Casey’s death.
Scream‘s opening is usually a commentary on past films or even the franchise itself. The opening scene gets audiences ready for the wild ride that’s ahead, and the franchise is no stranger to creating memorable material that excites fans. The big question is: Which one of the Scream films has the best opening? This list will countdown all six films from worst to best in terms of opening.
6. Scream (2022)
Easily the weakest of the entire series thus far. To be fair, Scream doesn’t particularly have a bad opening. This one somewhat feels lazy unlike the others. It’s essentially a rehash of the original film with a technology twist. Jenna Ortega is truly great here. The constant unlocking/locking of the door was a nice scare factor and it’s always a joy to hear Ghostface taunt his victims. But the beginning didn’t have much going beyond the unlocking/locking door sequence. Again, not bad, but nothing that comes close to living up to the original Scream.
5. Scream 2
Scream 2’s opening is fine for what it is, but there’s little tension once Maureen (Jada Pinkett Smith) escapes the bathroom from Ghostface. The fact that the killer is able to stab her out in the open nicely explains the themes and culture of the sequel, but it lacks the raw impact that the first film had originally. A decent open, but forgettable overall.
4. Scream 3
Say what you will about Scream 3, but the opening is one of the best parts of the film. It’s a shame that Scream never took full advantage of Cotton Weary (Liev Schreiber); his character is very intriguing and ripe with potential. However, it was clear that he was simply there to be obvious suspect No. 1 in the very first film.
The opening scene with Cotton is great. Though he comes across as a douche for entertaining another woman, him being slapped with reality is when the true masterclass of tension begins. From Cotton rushing home to his girlfriend Christine (Kelly Rutherford), to him stalking his home trying to find Ghostface, that entire sequence is drenched in anxiety.
It was always obvious that Cotton’s girlfriend was going to die. The true question was whether Cotton was next on the list. The writers pulled off a shocking opening by killing off one of the franchise’s legacy characters right in the opening. It nicely sets the stage for what’s to come and the unpredictability of the remaining film.
3. Scream 6
The new location really did wonders for the latest Scream film. It allowed for Radio Silence – Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett – to use the environment to come up with creative and sweet kills. Plus, it subverted our expectations. The idea of a Ghostface cult is intriguing. When Laura (Samara Weaving) first pops up, we as an audience immediately understand where it’s going.
However, Jason (Tony Revolori) revealing himself was an attention grabbing twist. The film does go back to predictability when you realize instantly that he wasn’t talking to Greg. But the small twist of showcasing Ghostface first and foremost created a level of mystery that seemed to expand the lore of the infamous villain. Had there been more mystery surrounding Jason before his death then this opening would’ve been higher.
2. Scream 4
Scream 4 came back with a nice satirical edge that was inventive, smart, and genuinely funny. The play off of constant sequels was clever, and each sequence provided some nice little thrills before the rug is pulled from under us. The sharp commentary is obviously on the state of horror and their reliance on continuous sequels. It was a nice re-introduction to the series and brought the charm and wit that was largely missing in the third film.
Is this really a surprise? None of the sequels have been able to match the terrifying original’s opening scene. Wes Craven wanted to take a page out of Alfred Hitchcock‘s book by tricking audiences into believing that Drew Barrymore would be the next final girl. The stunt worked, as you genuinely believe that Casey would survive the ordeal in the beginning. However, this scene was a tremendous exercise in yo-yoing with audiences emotions.
From the great banter between Ghostface and Casey, the unsettling mutilation of Steve, to the final moments leading up to Casey’s death. Scream’s opening scene was simply perfect. Drew Barrymore deserves tons of credit for her incredible acting and Craven’s direction had audiences on the edge of their seats. There’s no telling on whether Scream would ever top the original as it still holds up today, but it started a franchise that has successfully been a staple of horror for the past 30 years.
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