‘Scream 4′ vs. ‘Insidious’ – The Battle for Horror’s Soul

Published 4 years ago by

scream insidious  Scream 4 vs. Insidious   The Battle for Horrors Soul

The new horror films Insidious and Scream 4 couldn’t be more different. The former is an original story basking in PG-13 restraint. The latter offers torrents of blood, the return of an audience-approved serial killer, and the name recognition that’s so crucial to movie marketing in 2011.

How the two fare at the box office could determine the kinds of horror films we see in 2012 – and beyond.

Hollywood is scared to death of original horror stories these days. It’s all about the reboot, the remake and the sequel. It’s why we’ve seen tepid films like the new versions of The Amityville Horror and A Nightmare on Elm Street. They’re safe bets, and by the time audiences have figured out they’re not the least bit scary, they’ve already turned a profit. Case in point – Elm Street made $32 in its opening weekend en route to a $63 million box office haul.

And while the industry will often roll the dice with a no-budget horror entry like Paranormal Activity, it much prefers the tried, the true and the hopelessly predictable. It’s not an accident that we’ve already seen a second Activity, and a third one is on the way.

Horror is supposed to be edgy and dangerous, not focus grouped to within an inch of its life. But too often horror fans must trudge through the no-budget indie bin to find good scares these days.

paranormal activity 2 review  Scream 4 vs. Insidious   The Battle for Horrors Soul

'Paranormal Activity' has been an indie horror smash hit.

Along comes Insidious, which has both indie cred – a tiny budget and the Paranormal Activity team as producers – plus an original spin on the beloved haunted house genre. It’s far from perfect. The film apes some of the beats from Poltergeist and the final 20 minutes cannot match the tension built in the film’s opening moments. But it’s precisely the kind of unique vision the genre needs.

So far, Insidious is plugging away at the box office. It made roughly $13 million in its opening weekend but retained most of its audience in week two. But if it loses steam in the wake of the Scream 4 juggernaut, the message to film studios will be crystal clear: Go original and maybe make back your investment, if you’re lucky. Go the reboot way and make a mint.

Insidious director James Wan likely figured this out before making his latest film. By keeping the budget low, he was able to have more creative control over the finished product and give himself more wiggle room regarding its profit margin.

My Soul to Take Review Wes Craven  Scream 4 vs. Insidious   The Battle for Horrors Soul

None of this means Scream 4 won’t be a rollicking good time and a great way to erase the memory of director Wes Craven’s last flop, My Soul to Take.

But if Scream 4 can’t measure up to the franchise’s best scares and makes a mint all the same, what lesson has Hollywood learned?

Insidious is in theaters now.

Scream 4 will be in theaters this weekend.

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  1. Nice article but I would like to say this

    I find it sad that ScreenRant, kind of, ignored Scream 4.

    You guys hardly kept up with it production news in the same way you keep up with other movies. I know the common belief is anything with a 4 after it “just has to suck!” but, then again you guys gave POC more attention. so then i guess it’s about personal interests. Clearly Scream 4 was not a headliner to screenrant.

    Albeit, i am a hard core scream fan… But as it’s premier approaches it has yet to get a single bad review. It being treated like a deity of horror sequels.

    Glenn Dunks over at StalePopcorn has posted his very glowing review that though he admits that Scream 4 isn’t a perfect film, he also makes grand statements such as this one: “[Scream 4] could perhaps rank as the greatest franchise revival in cinema history”. <— Coming from an unbiased opinion.

    If there is a Scream 5 I hope you guys give it more of your time.

    I do enjoy screenraant, but it seems that hero flicks reign supreme here.

    • Careful, bud. Previous experience has taught us that Vic takes people to school when they question the integrity of this site’s reporting :)

        • Ok. I understand.
          Thanks for the response. I def. respect your site. If I didn’t I wouldn’t give a rats ass about what you guys posted… I wouldn’t even be here reading the articles.

          You guys put together well written articles and I like hearing the opinions here. I too love Sci Fi and Hero movies, so it’s not like I don’t enjoy the reads.

          So that’s all. I’d like to see what you guys rate Scream 4 come it’s review.

          • Knock, Knock,

            No prob. There wasn’t a pre-screening near me so I’ll have to get one of our editors to review it.


    • That’s not exactly fair. This site reports on movie news. The less news there is about something the less there is to report. 2011 is all about “hero flicks” so obviously there will be far more news regarding those things.

  2. I love it when Mr. Toto shows up on Screenrant. Now, where’s John Nolte?

    • John,

      Heh. Good eye. 😛


  3. I can’t wait for Scream 4. Unfortunately I didn’t get to and probably won’t get to see Insidious in theaters…but I will see Scream 4….I wish I could see both, but I doubt it will happen.

    Either way, can’t wait for Scream 4, we’re actually having a bunch of friends over for a marathon, watching the first 3 and then going to the theater to see 4!

  4. Insidious blew away just about every other horror movie I have ever seen “EVER”.

    SCREAM, although fun and entertaining, is not what I would consider “horror”; NO, not at all. If anything I would call it a comedy/mystery/thriller/slasher hybrid of sorts… made specifically as a jab at conventional slasher predictability and unoriginality, and 4 looks to capitalize on the self parody of even THAT… It’s like making a parody of NAKED GUN or HOT SHOTS …it doesn’t serve any purpose… and it won’t be anything NEW or surprising…. Que the Jamie Kennedy speech…

    “HORROR” for me was always about the ghosts, and haunting, and monsters under the bed, or in the closet… “Things that go bump in the night” and the like… Think “POLTERGEIST” and The AMITYVILLE Horror.

    HORROR should be HORRIFYING… Scream was NOT “horrifying” at all.

  5. You cannot compare Insidious to Scream. They might be in the same genre, but they both offer a complete different experience of horror.

    Scream is one of those movies that will make you jump out of the seat every so often, while Insidious leaves you scared even after the movie is over.

    Defiantly agree with Edward on this one, Scream is more of a drama if anything.

  6. Scream is hard to classify. Yes by definition it’s horror but does anyone really consider them scarey? I loved the 1st two in the series and I will be going to see 4 this weekend with my fingers crossed but I doubt there will be any moments in the film that scare me. Maybe jump a couple times like someone posted before me but that’s about it. And as far as horror goes it’s a crap shoot. I liken it to SNL. Strange comparison but every 3-4 years they seem to catch lightning in a bottle and it works for a couple seasons until it gets played out and then we have to wait for the cycle to begin again. Same thing happens with horror. A while back Saw & Hostel brought in the torture porn and that caught on for a bit. Then people kind of tired of it and horror was up for grabs again until Paranormal Activity came out. It’s the same thing over and over. I expect the boogyman phase to be kicking in again soon…

  7. Well put about the last 20 minutes of the film. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a movie that gave me the “willies” but I got them a lot during the first 70 minutes of insidious. The last 20 mins let me down. While movies like Scream certainly have a place in the genre, I wish we had more movies like insidious… there’s something to be said for the subtlety of Hitchcock… a quick shadow a bit out of focus… a strange sound that foreshadows something unholy.

    Thought we had a guy that could deliver that when I saw sixth sense but it was not to be.

  8. SCREAM will win the boxoffice this weekend.
    Early buzz estimates are the film will make 40 to 50 million
    opening weekend. As far as Insidious is concerned who knows.

  9. Looking forward to Scream 4. Probably the only sequel I’m looking forward to.

  10. I guess it would be a battle if they both came out on friday…but Insidious has been out for a week….Scream 4 takes this one, but hopefully next week Insidious takes it back…that would be sweet…I will be seeing insidious next week…

  11. well, i like that about horror movies, seeing the villain again and agian on the big screen, u just fall in love with the character, so i cant wait to see ghostface agian finally!

  12. Scream 4 will cut the guts! Awesome movie – i just know it!


  14. How on earth can you say that INSIDIOUS has an original story? I’m not knocking the movie (I thought it was terrific), but it’s pretty much a remake of POLTERGEIST. Director James Wan has acknowledged the huge similarities between the two movies repeatedly.

    I would love it if movies like INSIDIOUS were the wave of the horror future (I can’t stand the dumb SCREAM franchise), but, if that doesn’t happen, I’ll be happy to re-watch my favorites (The Shining, The Exorcist, Rosemary’s Baby, Insidious …) on dvd.

  15. will did they mack about it Insidious vs Scream 4

  16. will did they mack a movie about it Insidious vs Scream 4

  17. Me and my.boyfriend watched insidious last night for the.first time and i must say i was crapping myself i thought it was very good but god damn is it scary x

  18. I like all your guys opinions so i thought i should put out my own.

    Even though Insidious and Scream 4 are both horror movies, they have the exactly different effect on people. While seeing Insidious in theatre it gave me the willies. I was paranoid and still am. It’s probably the best “horror” movie I’ve seen since the Exorcist. Then when I saw Scream 4, the only thing that really scared me was when Ghostface would popped up. The reason I think people stil watch it is because of the murder. Basically Scream is more of a “thriller” movie is anything. I really think there should be more movies like Insidious. Don’t ge me wrong Scream 4 is great but not scary.