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Read our analysis of a film franchise that likes to analyse films. We think we’ve got a handle on it…

When Scream was released in 1996 audiences loved it for its shameless referencing of existing horror movies. This added a complexity to the films which was unlike any other horror; writer and director Kevin Williamson and Wes Craven also managed to use this device to insert comedy into the mix bringing Scream into a popcorn-horror category. Unsurprisingly this combination was a huge success both commercially and critically but with the Scream franchise stretching over 15 years, how could it keep this balance?

The stats tell us that Scream 3 was the most creative with violence including 9 different domestic objects used for violence. This is compared to a previous average of 2. Scream 3 also saw an increase in different weapons used as the previous average was 8 but this film included double that at 16.

One of the most recognisable Scream traits: stalking over the phone was increased in this film by 66% from the two previous films; of course that doesn’t make it better but shows that the third film in the series may have needed an extra push to stand out from its predecessors.

However the most recent instalment offers the most interesting changes. Scream created a new section in the horror genre but the following two films did little more than copy the formula. Scream 4 uses the time gap of 11 years from Scream 3 to its advantage incorporating mobile phones, laptops, phone apps, video cameras and video blogs into the film all to create a more exciting reinvigoration of the tired Scream formula. That means there is a significant increase of phone rings (42% share) and despite the increase in stalking over the phone in Scream 3, this film raises the bar a further 60% from the last film.

Previous to Scream 4, the Scream franchise had an average of 9 deaths per film but the newest instalment has a large increase in the death toll to 15. Stabbings also change dramatically from a previous average of 21 to 31 in Scream 4 alone. Its obvious Scream 4 meant business and although an increase in these numbers doesn’t guarantee a successful film we thought it was the most confident outing since the original.

What we learnt from...


Never answer the phone. Case closed.
If you see Ghost Face then wait for him to trip up and hit him with a chair
Always bring a bigger knife to the party
A reporter does not have a soul
Shy deputy Sheriffs are beautiful people
Pay attention to film rules
If you've been stabbed then tell someone!
Seeking fame isn’t everyone’s dream
The maniac killer will only be your boyfriend 50% of the time
University is no safer than home
Unemployed ex-deputy sheriffs get stabbed
More people always die in Hollywood
Always trust policemen as they will helpfully prolong your life by a few minutes
If you answer the phone use the Ghost Face app to confuse Ghost Face
Killers do not like publishing deals
Only buy electronics from Apple