Sidney and Gale in Scream 5

The Best Female Characters in the ‘Scream’ Movies

The Scream franchise still has so much life left in it and it’s fun to watch a new generation kick ass. I’ve said it countless times that Scream is one of my favorite horror franchises. We are consistently introduced to memorable characters we either love or hate. And there’s certainly no shortage of phenomenal women in this franchise. Sorry to the men in the Scream films, but I’m focusing on the ladies right now.

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Whether they were final girls, victims, or villains donning the Ghostface mask, these are the best female characters across all six films.

Casey Becker

Casey Becker being grabbed in Scream
(Dimension Films)

We can thank Drew Barrymore for insisting she dies in the opening instead of being the final girl of the movie. Without her request, we wouldn’t have Sidney. Nor would we have one of the best opening scenes in horror history. Casey Becker (Drew Barrymore)’s death is always horrible to watch, and knowing she was so close to escape is so uncomfortable to think about. Even though she’s not in the movie long, she made a lasting impression and immediately you understand her as a character. She’s sweet and speaks her mind when she wants to. Not only that, but her reactions to what’s happening are very human. There’s a realism to her character that makes her death impactful, earning her the first spot on this list! 

Sidney Prescott 

sidney talking to sam in Scream 5
(Paramount Pictures)

A survivor and an icon. Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) is simply one of the greatest final girls in horror history. The way she’s survived so many killing sprees and has managed to build a new life for herself is a journey worth beholding. As dramatic as it sounds, she’s an inspiration to many horror fans. Her development is so visible from Scream (1996) to Scream 5 (2022). Sidney goes from being a teenage girl struggling to deal with trauma and the death happening around her, to a grown woman who hangs up the phone when Ghostface calls her. Campbell’s contribution to the franchise isn’t to be questioned. And while Sidney may not be part of Scream 6 (2023), she’ll continue to be cherished. 

Gale Weathers

gale weathers in Scream 5
(Paramount Pictures)

Bad bitch alert! It’s safe to say that Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox) is just as important to the franchise as Sidney is. In any other franchise, she wouldn’t play such a huge role. At most, she’d be the character that’d be underdeveloped. Thankfully, that’s never been the case, and quite frankly, her relationship with Dewey contributed to her character progression. But other than her personal relationships, she’s always been an underrated final girl in a way. She’s survived her own chase scenes, continued to be brave (albeit stubborn) in the face of danger, and experienced extreme loss in Scream 5. Did that slow her completely down though? No way. She’s Gale Weathers, after all. She’ll keep on surviving and looking good while she does.

Tatum Riley

tatum in scream (1996)
(Dimension Films)

Even though Rose McGowan has earned much of the criticism she gets, her performance as Tatum in the first Scream is still loved. Although she does meet her end—due to getting stuck in a doggy door—her character plays the perfect role in Scream (1996). Tatum is Sidney’s best friend—who doesn’t lie to her and keeps it real—exactly what she needed. Not to mention, her looks are top-notch throughout the film. The nipple shirt alone is iconic. Tatum simply knows what she wants at all costs and doesn’t give a shit what people say about her. Including her brother, Dewey (David Arquette), who she had a believable sibling relationship with. 


hallie in Scream 2
(Dimension Films)

She should have survived, that’s what I always come back to with her character. Hallie (Elise Neal) was smart, had ZERO desire to find out about Ghostface, and tried her best to avoid death. All she wanted was to fit in at the college and become a sorority sister. And also be there for Sidney as much as she could. Unfairly, Hallie didn’t get to trample the unfortunate trope about the Black best friend in a horror film. She deserved better. Much better.

Jennifer Jolie

jennifer jolie in Scream 3
(Dimension Films)

For most fans, Scream 3 (2000) is usually the least favorite in the franchise. But out of all the things Scream 3 did wrong, there are some memorable things from the movie. That includes Jennifer Jolie (Parker Posey), who was supposed to play Gale Weathers in Stab 3, the meta-horror franchise within the Scream series. Until the movie was canceled and she was murdered, of course. Jennifer Jolie’s outfits, her mannerisms, and the way she becomes a likable character who works so well with Gale, is so much fun. Which makes her death so shitty, as she would’ve been an interesting addition to further entries in the franchise. Unfortunately, she’ll have to remain a memorable deceased character. RIP.      

Jill Roberts

jill in Scream 4
(Dimension Films)

“I don’t need friends. I need fans” is such an iconic line, and one that’s aged so well given the time we’re currently in. Jill Roberts (Emma Roberts) remains one of the best Ghostface killers. Her motives are way ahead of her time, she was dedicated, and she actually had a solid plan, all things considered. And her playing the role of a final girl, only to turn around and be one of the killers is genius, even if it was obvious for some folks when they first watched Scream 4 (2011). She fooled the characters hard until her reveal/the hospital showdown. To me, her motivations as one of the killers, her brutality, and her wits are the biggest reasons she lands on this list. That, and how Emma Roberts played her so perfectly. 

Kirby Reed

Kirby being her amazing self in Scream VI
(Paramount Pictures)

She’s a fan favorite that people refused to believe was dead and it turns out she wasn’t! Kirby (Hayden Panettiere) is one of the best parts of Scream 4 (2011), which didn’t receive much love upon release. Her character isn’t stereotypically feminine, she loves horror movies and is a nerd in that regard. And her charm is so intoxicating that it’s hard not to wish she was your friend too. Out of all the newbies, aside from Jill, she was the best addition. Plus, her scene listing off horror remakes is still super iconic. Coming from someone less capable, it wouldn’t have had the same intensity. Her full return in Scream VI (2023) is very fantastic and you won’t be disappointed if you’re a Kirby fan.

Tara Carpenter

Tara Carpenter holding onto Sam in Scream VI
(Paramount Pictures)

Jenna Ortega is one of the best modern-day scream queens! So it’s a delight that Tara Carpenter (Jenna Ortega)’s introduction into the franchise has landed high on people’s lists for best Scream openings. With Tara’s brutal brushes with Ghostface throughout the entire film, including surviving an opening scene attack (something that subverts typical Scream film formula), she cements herself as a fantastic character. And Scream VI (2023) allowed her to have even more bad ass moments as a character. It’s tremendous representation as well.

Mindy Meeks-Martin

mindy meeks-martin in Scream 5
(Paramount Pictures)

The Scream franchise has always been quite queer and there’s no shortage of characters that people have read that way. But Mindy (Jasmin Savoy Brown) is the first to be explicit about her queerness. Not only that, but she’s a Black queer horror fan! As well as the niece of the late Randy Meeks (Jamie Kennedy). Her presence throughout the film is very comedic and she serves as an important addition to the newbie cast. This type of representation is still a big deal, and to have her be so open about being queer (no shame or coming out moment, is great). She just simply is who she is. And that energy carries on throughout Scream VI (2023)

Sam Carpenter

sam carpenter in Scream 5
(Paramount Pictures)

Sam Carpenter (Melissa Barrera) has fully proven herself to be a strong force in this franchise. She doesn’t need to be labeled “the new Sidney” either because she’s her own character. After the hate she received because of Scream 5 (2022), she deserves to be praised now. I personally take back anything I may have thought about her before. In Scream VI (2023), her character is one of the major highlights and she will no doubt continue to surprise us as fans. The horror world needs Latinx final girls and we’re certainly getting that from Sam and Tara.

Amber Freeman

amber freeman in Scream 5
(Paramount Pictures)

“Welcome to act three,” is such a killer (pun intended?) line to deliver when you’re revealing that you’re Ghostface. Amber (Mikey Madison)’s energy throughout the film is very eerie. She blends into the scenes and isn’t as blatantly suspicious as Richie (because let’s face it, we knew that was coming). She’s on this list because her shift from concerned to responsible is incredible. Amber doesn’t hold back as soon as she reveals herself to be one of the killers. She’s a delight to watch and is certainly one of my fave Ghostface killers. 


Anika being terrified of dying in Scream VI
(Paramount Pictures)

Sweet newbie Anika (Devyn Nekoda) was such a lovely addition to Scream VI (2023). So her demise was actually heartbreaking to watch (despite it being obvious it was going to happen). She tried her best to help Mindy and be a brave girlfriend. But this franchise has killed off plenty of love interests for our main characters. It’s just extra unfortunate that Mindy can’t even have a cute girlfriend of color during the tragedy that’s become her life.

Honorable mentions: 

  • Lois and Murphy (Scream 2)
  • Cici Cooper (Scream 2)
  • Quinn (Scream VI)

(featured image: Paramount Pictures)

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Vanessa Maki
Vanessa Maki (she/her) is a queer Blerd and contributing writer for The Mary Sue. She first started writing for digital magazines in 2018 and her articles have appeared in Pink Advocate (defunct), The Gay Gaze (defunct), Dread Central and more. She primarily writes about movies, TV, and anime. Efforts to make her stop loving complex/villainous characters or horror as a genre will be futile.