Time: 111 Minutes
Age Rating: Violence and offensive language
David Arquette as Dewey Riley
Neve Campbell as Sidney Prescott
Courteney Cox as Gale Weathers
Matthew Lillard as Stu Macher
Rose McGowan as Tatum Riley
Skeet Ulrich as Billy Loomis
Jamie Kennedy as Randy Meeks
W. Earl Brown as Kenny Jones
Joseph Whipp as Sheriff Burke
Liev Schreiber as Cotton Weary
Drew Barrymore as Casey Becker
Director: Wes Craven
A year after Sidney’s mom is murdered, more murders start to occur. She begins to suspect if these murders are related and tries to find the killer as everyone seems to be a suspect.
I meant to revisit the Scream movies before the 5th film released in 2022, but I just never got around to it. Thankfully, Scream VI would be releasing the following year, giving the opportunity (and excuse) to come back to the iconic horror franchise. I’m glad to say that the original still holds up.
Scream was a game changer for the slasher genre and the horror genre on the whole, and a big part of that came from Kevin Williamson’s clever script. It’s a darkly funny satire and self-aware deconstruction of the slasher sub genre, which has held up well over the years. It is very meta but avoids bordering on irritating, it subverts the tropes, yet embraces them. It certainly helps that it is made by smart people who have an actual appreciation for horror. Scream balances all the elements quite well, there is some effective comedy and meta satire, but it still works as a great slasher movie in its own right. The plot is fairly straightforward, but it’s not generic by any means. Right from the famous opening sequence it has your attention, and while the twists may be somewhat predictable on repeat viewings, on the first viewing they are really effective.
While much of the characterisation is pretty standard as far as slashers go, the acting is great from everyone, with Neve Campbell, David Arquette, Courtney Cox, Skeet Ulrich, Rose McGowan, Jamie Kennedy and Matthew Lillard all delivering on their parts. Drew Barrymore is also memorable in her short screentime.
Wes Craven is already well versed in the horror genre with films like Nightmare on Elm Street and The Hills Have Eyes, so he was perfect for a movie like this, and this is one of his best works. As much as the movie serves as a satire on horror movies, it also succeeds as a horror movie itself. There are some great slasher sequences, a standout being the iconic opening scene with Drew Barrymore. The killer action is brutal, and it delivers on the violent deaths that you’d expect from a slasher movie, and especially one from Craven. An aspect that I particularly enjoy in all the Scream movies is that the killer Ghostface isn’t the typical inhuman Michael Myers or Jason Voorhees level of horror killer. They are very human, and as such are a bit of a klutz, constantly tripping over, falling into things, and even getting smacked by the person they are chasing. At the same time, they remain somewhat intimidating and the danger still feels real. There’s also a good use of music, and Marco Beltrami’s score is particularly fitting.
It’s easy to see how and why Scream was so influential to the horror genre, leading to so many copycats with a wide range of success. However, none of them could achieve what the original film did back in 1996. On its own, Scream serves as both a dark meta comedy on horror movies, and a simple yet effective slasher film. It is well worth watching if you’re a fan of horror movies, especially slashers.