(Photo by Rogue Pictures, Dimension Film, New Line, DreamWorks / courtesy Everett Collection)

All 20 Wes Craven Movies Ranked by Tomatometer

Wes Craven’s debut, 1972’s scarring rape-revenge thriller The Last House on the Left, was among the first cross-cultural grindhouse flicks out there: It cost $87,00 to make and made back 36 times as much. At the time, America was mired deep in a losing Vietnam War slog just as its citizens lost faith in their social institutions, a mood reflected in Last House‘s success, announcing audiences’ new appetite for gritty, grubby, boundary-pushing cinema. Craven, already hardened beyond most normal sensibilities after a previous career directing pornographic films under different nom de guerres, knew how to push the violence, sex, and rage right up to the edge.

With aspirations to emerge from the horror grotto, Craven nonetheless returned to the genre in 1977 with the agitated, belligerent The Hills Have Eyes, which transported the menace of Last House into the desert mountains.

The ’80s were the golden age of slasher movies, with thanks in no small part to Craven. He dipped his toe into the subgenre with 1981’s Deadly Blessing, before making the enormous slashy splash with A Nightmare on Elm Street. Dozens of slashers were being released a year by 1984, but it was Craven’s bright idea to freshen things up by bringing the supernatural into the mix, thus creating one of horror’s great icons: Freddy Krueger, as portrayed by Robert Englund.

Horror films had a tough go at it in the ’90s, both creatively and at the box office, with Craven one of few genre directors to survive with a career intact. Always one to infuse satire and literacy into the shocks wherever he could, Craven turned to meta-textual tricks for New Nightmare and Scream. The latter fit like a knife in snug flesh with the decade’s laid-back cynicism, ushering in a new age of teen slashers.

Highlights of Craven’s post-Scream career include, of course, the well-received first sequel, directing Meryl Streep to an Academy Award nomination in Music of the Heart, and the Certified Fresh thriller Red Eye. Scream 4, in 2011, would become his final movie – and it just recently ticked over onto Fresh territory. Here, we look back on a storied film journey from one of the undisputed masters of horror, with all Wes Craven movies ranked by Tomatometer!

#20
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In part I, the reason Wes Craven's "hills had eyes" was because the cannibals that lived there were lying in... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

#19

My Soul to Take (2010)
10%

#19
Adjusted Score: 11.056%
Critics Consensus: Dull, joyless, and formulaic, My Soul to Take suggests writer/director Wes Craven ended his five-year filmmaking hiatus too soon.
Synopsis: Wes Craven returns to shock audiences with 25/8, a thriller surrounding a deceased serial killer's rise from the grave and... [More]
Directed By: Petra Korner, Wes Craven

#18
#18
Adjusted Score: 11.254%
Critics Consensus: Neither scary nor very funny, this misguided effort never lives up to its premise.
Synopsis: Comedian Eddie Murphy tried something different with this 1995 film that he produced and co-wrote, enlisting veteran horror director Wes... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

#17

Deadly Friend (1986)
10%

#17
Adjusted Score: 10.092%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Certainly never lauded as one of the best of horrormeister Craven's offerings, there are still enough moments of shock and... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

#16

Cursed (2005)
17%

#16
Adjusted Score: 19.635%
Critics Consensus: A predictable plot and cheesy special effects make Cursed a less-than-scary experience.
Synopsis: The team behind the Scream trilogy, director Wes Craven and screenwriter Kevin Williamson, present another entry in the teen-horror genre... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

#15

Deadly Blessing (1982)
14%

#15
Adjusted Score: 10.726%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Strange events begin occurring when a rural widow (Maren Jensen) is visited by two friends from the city (Sharon Stone,... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

#14

Shocker (1989)
24%

#14
Adjusted Score: 24.908%
Critics Consensus: With an intriguing enough premise and horror legend Wes Craven on writer-director duty, the real Shocker here is just how lame the end results turned out to be.
Synopsis: In this horror film, the killer Horace Pinker (Mitch Pileggi) is finally captured and executed, only to be transformed into... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

#13

Scream 3 (2000)
39%

#13
Adjusted Score: 43.077%
Critics Consensus: Despite some surprising twists, Scream 3 sees the franchise falling back on the same old horror formulas and cliches it once hacked and slashed with postmodern abandon.
Synopsis: In the third and final episode of the Scream trilogy, Sidney realizes that she can no longer escape her past.... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

#12

Scream 4 (2011)
60%

#12
Adjusted Score: 65.337%
Critics Consensus: The franchise is showing its age, but Scream 4 is undeniably an improvement over its predecessor, with just enough meta humor and clever kills.
Synopsis: In Scream 4, Sidney Prescott, now the author of a self-help book, returns home to Woodsboro on the last stop... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

#11
Adjusted Score: 65.385%
Critics Consensus: Its visceral brutality is more repulsive than engrossing, but The Last House on the Left nevertheless introduces director Wes Craven as a distinctive voice in horror.
Synopsis: Based on Bergman's The Virgin Spring, Wes Craven's cult classic is an account of a group of sadistic killers who... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

#10
Adjusted Score: 64.14%
Critics Consensus: Held aloft by gonzo black comedy and socially conscious subtext, The People Under The Stairs marks a unique -- though wildly uneven -- change of pace for director Wes Craven.
Synopsis: Wes Craven wrote and directed this surrealistic horror-comedy, which was inspired by a true story of parents keeping their children... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

#9
#9
Adjusted Score: 66.579%
Critics Consensus: Meryl Streep's depiction of an ordinary person doing extraordinary things transcends, inspires, and entertains.
Synopsis: When Roberta's husband left her for a family friend, she left the security of her small town and moved to... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

#8
Adjusted Score: 66.207%
Critics Consensus: Although it's occasionally overwhelmed by excessive special effects, The Serpent and the Rainbow draws on a chilling atmosphere to deliver a intelligent, politically informed story.
Synopsis: Somewhat based on the true-life experiences of ethnobotanist Wade Davis, this provocative horror outing is set in Haiti and offers... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

#7
#7
Adjusted Score: 68.755%
Critics Consensus: When it's not bludgeoning the viewer with its more off-putting, cruder elements, The Hills Have Eyes wields some clever storytelling and a sly sense of dark humor.
Synopsis: Horror auteur Wes Craven followed his threadbare but horrifically compelling cult classic Last House on the Left with this wonderfully... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

#6

Swamp Thing (1982)
67%

#6
Adjusted Score: 69.94%
Critics Consensus: Unabashedly campy -- often to its detriment -- Swamp Thing is not without its charms, among them Adrienne Barbeau as the damsel in distress.
Synopsis: Historia de suspenso escrita y dirigida por Wes Craven sobre el resultado monstruoso de un experimento fracasado. Louis Jourdan, Adrienne... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

#5
Adjusted Score: 82.085%
Critics Consensus: Wes Craven's New Nightmare adds an unexpectedly satisfying - not to mention intelligent - meta layer to a horror franchise that had long since lost its way.
Synopsis: Freddy Krueger is back from the grave in another thriller from famed horror director Wes Craven. This film differs from... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

#4

Scream (1996)
79%

#4
Adjusted Score: 82.812%
Critics Consensus: Horror icon Wes Craven's subversive deconstruction of the genre is sly, witty, and surprisingly effective as a slasher film itself, even if it's a little too cheeky for some.
Synopsis: The sleepy little town of Woodsboro just woke up screaming. There's a killer in their midst who's seen a few... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

#3

Red Eye (2005)
79%

#3
Adjusted Score: 85.308%
Critics Consensus: With solid performances and tight direction from Wes Craven, Red Eye is a brisk, economic thriller.
Synopsis: A woman is kidnapped by a stranger on a routine flight. Threatened by the potential murder of her father, she... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

#2

Scream 2 (1997)
82%

#2
Adjusted Score: 86.508%
Critics Consensus: As with the first film, Scream 2 is a gleeful takedown of scary movie conventions that manages to poke fun at terrible horror sequels without falling victim to the same fate.
Synopsis: The crafty Wes Craven follows up lastÕs yearÕs surprise hit with another supremely self-referential but satisfyingly droll thriller.... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

#1
Adjusted Score: 97.961%
Critics Consensus: Wes Craven's intelligent premise, combined with the horrifying visual appearance of Freddy Krueger, still causes nightmares to this day.
Synopsis: A group of teenagers are terrorized by "Freddy Krueger", an evil being from another world who gets to his victims... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

Tag Cloud

Opinion spider-man period drama The Witch ESPN Extras casting Comedy Central RT History WGN 2020 game of thrones Spike cinemax dragons Grammys Baby Yoda Reality Competition politics BBC Arrowverse Fantasy green book dceu CBS All Access Writers Guild of America breaking bad Toys IFC Films Rocky DC Universe Pixar USA Network Columbia Pictures mockumentary PaleyFest crossover Chernobyl MCU Nominations composers game show CMT Turner Classic Movies Disney Channel NYCC Endgame Freeform Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt cooking Black Mirror Netflix Christmas movies versus Esquire finale harry potter TV renewals festivals halloween FXX Hallmark First Look cancelled crime comics VICE canceled MSNBC book 2018 Universal elevated horror Shondaland reboot X-Men TLC First Reviews APB ITV Tomatazos Video Games DC Comics MTV Cartoon Network crime thriller dramedy CNN zombies science fiction NBC OneApp Tarantino cats sports Avengers screen actors guild serial killer Oscars A24 BET award winner sitcom doctor who Mary Poppins Returns Sundance Year in Review technology YouTube Action spy thriller History Mystery blaxploitation Rock 24 frames Calendar screenings Trophy Talk Horror Discovery Channel medical drama TIFF Binge Guide Summer foreign 71st Emmy Awards boxoffice Shudder Sneak Peek Chilling Adventures of Sabrina robots Kids & Family Starz latino Adult Swim jamie lee curtis Animation Martial Arts joker Apple teaser aliens TCA Winter 2020 independent adventure Amazon Vudu Apple TV Plus Star Trek anthology Bravo historical drama vampires free movies Marvel Studios disaster slashers TCA Crunchyroll Thanksgiving Academy Awards Sundance TV The Purge Quiz christmas movies Lionsgate singing competition Western TBS Awards Tour Superheroe Apple TV+ Brie Larson strong female leads cars Christmas sag awards Film Festival Cosplay Superheroes nature BBC America Biopics zombie Anna Paquin talk show facebook Photos PBS Country Winners 21st Century Fox Ellie Kemper political drama Best and Worst Lifetime Christmas movies romantic comedy supernatural biography OWN Music Polls and Games Classic Film HBO Paramount The CW cartoon IFC Emmy Nominations Television Academy space Hallmark Christmas movies ABC Family rotten movies we love Teen Comedy comiccon binge Sci-Fi Interview Election Epix Mindy Kaling travel renewed TV shows Spring TV SundanceTV Britbox Turner LGBTQ GIFs golden globes President war Trailer justice league Pirates Disney richard e. Grant crime drama TruTV Winter TV DGA blockbuster based on movie Box Office Dark Horse Comics YA animated tv talk thriller Nat Geo Lifetime Marathons Mudbound cancelled TV shows Rocketman DC streaming service Syfy The Walking Dead Elton John spinoff Holidays Acorn TV Certified Fresh Netflix Mary Tyler Moore spanish language A&E Family unscripted Women's History Month 20th Century Fox Crackle cops cults Paramount Network Tumblr ghosts children's TV 007 Drama TCA 2017 sequel RT21 ratings 2019 adaptation Logo TCM Captain marvel Disney+ Disney Plus discovery dc kids Sundance Now New York Comic Con TNT 2015 Valentine's Day AMC National Geographic Awards natural history Fox News YouTube Premium Rom-Com anime zero dark thirty Ghostbusters TV quibi FX psychological thriller comic Film LGBT Disney Plus Set visit streaming Countdown Red Carpet witnail batman canceled TV shows See It Skip It 2017 Musical Emmys indie mutant south america Super Bowl transformers toy story Marvel Television USA Ovation series Walt Disney Pictures theme song Stephen King Pride Month Trivia Nickelodeon directors cancelled TV series Showtime name the review movies television police drama Character Guide psycho docudrama Pop TV Land Podcast Tubi spain Fall TV Mary poppins Cannes Song of Ice and Fire Masterpiece romance stand-up comedy diversity The Arrangement Amazon Prime Video E! Hulu cancelled television Star Wars Peacock what to watch Heroines social media FOX El Rey San Diego Comic-Con E3 CBS VH1 American Society of Cinematographers Disney streaming service Premiere Dates Spectrum Originals Creative Arts Emmys Amazon Prime ABC Musicals SDCC Comic Book Infographic YouTube Red werewolf Holiday CW Seed miniseries DirecTV Watching Series true crime WarnerMedia 2016 Sony Pictures GoT SXSW Lucasfilm Warner Bros. Reality HBO Max revenge hist hispanic GLAAD Schedule Comics on TV Food Network Pet Sematary 45 Marvel video