Scream (1996)

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Release Date: December 20, 1996. Director: Wes Craven. Stars: Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette. Runtime: 1hr, 51 min. Tagline: Someone’s Taken Their Love Of Scary Movies One Step Too Far!

Did you knowOriginally titled “Scary Movie” which was later used for a parody of the Scream and other pop culture horror films like it: Scary Movie (According to IMDb). [No wonder those two titles are sometimes confused by people!]

Scream is a fresh spin on the horror genre, and it oozes with sheer brilliance. It follows Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), an average teen whose mother was killed last year, living in the town of Woodsboro. To add stress to the dreadful upcoming anniversary, a killer called Ghostface surfaces and begins to kill local teens one by one. As the body count begins to rise, Sidney and her friends find themselves contemplating the “Rules” of horror films as they find themselves living in a real-life one.

That premise is really one of the most original and best to ever hit the horror genre. The real treat about Scream is that it’s both a great satire and a great horror movie. It embraces the horror genre while simultaneously mocking it, in such a refreshing way. It also turns psychotic killings into something hilarious, and satirical  Assuming one can find the humour in stabbings, and it is satirical because it’s all really ironic, such as the time where Tatum says “You’re starting to sound like a Wes Carpenter flick or something,” or when Jamie Kennedy is watching Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween, shouting “Come on, Jamie… Behind you!” at a time where he should look behind him. In this way, it feels like a self-aware film, even when the characters themselves are not aware they are in a movie. The characters discuss the “Rules” of horror films, while they themselves are trying to survive what is actually a horror movie.

The movie warns that, in most cases, if you have sex, drink or do drugs, among other things, you’re pretty much screwed. The movie dissects the genre and gets silly, scary and all-around intense. The concept is incredibly scary, because if one gets a prank call and the prank caller becomes increasingly violent, and the victim doesn’t have a good knowledge of horror movies, they’re basically screwed. Even when the scenes are incredibly long (the 42-minute party scene near the end, the crew made t-shirts that read “I SURVIVED SCENE 118”, and the Drew Barrymore scene at the very beginning lasts 12 minutes), it’s never boring. There are so many aspects of this film that could make this one of someone’s favourite horror flicks.

The primary characters are easy to care about (but when most are killed off, it really isn’t the end of the world) and it’s always suspenseful because the killer could be literally anyone. It could be you, the one reading this right now. Probably not. Ghostface is also hilarious because he’s so clever and witty and just downright psychopathic. He’s having so much fun, that, it’s really hard not to laugh along with this film.

Everyone is also incredibly well typecast and embrace their stereotypes. Sidney’s the virgin, Billy Loomis (Skeet Ulrich) is the number one suspect in the film, Tatum (Rose McGowan) is really just the slut, Stu (Matthew Lillard) is Tatum’s boyfriend, and Randy Meeks (Jamie Kennedy) is the horror movie (and general movie) buff, who’s kinda secretly head-over-heels for Sidney. And what cinephile cannot love a movie with a funny movie buff in it? We can’t forget Dewey (David Arquette), the Deputy of the town, and Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox), the selfish news reporter trying to keep the apparently innocent man, Cotton Weary, who was incarcerated for the murder of Sidney’s mother, off death row. We also grow to love her for her backbone and fine badassery. Is that a word?

This movie is practically just the perfect treat to watch on a Friday night with a few friends and a bucket of poppin’ corn. It’s hilarious, edgy, intense, mysterious, scary, it always keeps its viewer guessing, and it’s overall brilliant. It also has an amazing premise that it executes extremely well, and that’s easy to admire. Scream is one of those movies that one can watch over and over because of its iconic characters, its pure entertainment value, and its tremendous amount of originality. And there’s lots of blood and horror references. It also always should inspire a Scream-athon (I think I’ll watch them all in the summer, when I have them all on Blu-Ray) because the sequels are fairly entertaining. This is truly a bit of a wet dream for horror fans. Only one thing is left to be said: What’s your favourite scary movie?



33 thoughts on “Scream (1996)

  1. One of my favourite postmodern films! Shame they took it as far as a fourth….it kind of spoiled the original trilogy but the first three are still genius! I love the bit with Wes Craven in the background as a janitor in the school, dressed as Freddy Krueger..the little touches are brilliant!
    Great review 😀

    1. I’d definitely put this film in my top 20 all-time favourites, if not 15 or 10… You know, I enjoyed the fourth! I like how it was kind of both a distant sequel and a remake of the first… If that makes sense? Since Williamson repeated so much from the earlier films, but I still thought it was pretty fresh. I’ve seen the fourth way too many times to say I’m disappointed at all with it, the ending was gold. Now would I like a fifth? Probably not because it’s a good note to end on, but I definitely wouldn’t deny watching it if it were made. I need to rewatch the first two sequels, I’m pretty sure I enjoyed them a fair deal!

      What order would you put the films, from best to worst?

      That was Craven in the flesh?! I shoulda known! I knew it was a Freddy Krueger reference but I didn’t realize it was him… I love all the little touches, too. The “Look out Jamie, behind you!” and Tatum’s “Wes Carpenter” line are some of my favourites 😀

      Thanks a lot, I’m glad you liked the review since it’s a favourite of yours, as well 🙂

      1. Tatum also says, “I spit on your garage” which is an obvious reference to the classic I Spit on Your Grave horror flick. Also, when Drew Barrymore’s father tells his wife to drive down to the McKenzie’s that was also the name of the neighbors in Halloween.

      2. Oooh, thanks for those little trivia tidbits! I remember reading about the Halloween reference but I seem to have missed the I spit on your garage line. Is that the scene where she tries to crawl out of the little door in the garage door?

      3. The fourth was ok, I did go and see it in the cinema…it’s enjoyable I suppose, I just wasn’t convinced! I’d say it’s the same as most franchises, the first was the best! 🙂
        Yup that was Craven! I love his sarcastic humour in Scream, and definitely redeemed himself after My Soul to Take…that was awful!

      4. I think a small part of why I loved Scream 4 so much because I was never able to see any of the others at the theater, so it was a much better atmosphere than watching any of them on the little screen 🙂 Haha agreed, he and Kevin Williamson (I think his name is) made a great director-writer team for that series 🙂

        Everyone was getting killed off really quickly and like flies in that one…

    2. And you must admit Craven redeemed himself with Scream 4 after that My Soul to Take movie! It’s not like I would deem My Soul unwatchable, but it seems very bad for a movie with Craven’s name on it…

    1. Thanks a lot, Mike 🙂 Hahaha for sure!! I definitely have to check out more of the man’s work. What I have seen of his filmography, I’ve liked a fair deal (My Soul to Take was watchable, but a poor addition to his movie vault… (I’m trying to think of that fancy word to describe a filmography, it might start with a ‘p’… I’m really not sure lol…)Thanks for the reblog as well, Mike 🙂 That’s really appreciated!

      1. LOL, maybe not a ‘p’… Start saying some words that means something similar to filmography? It might be fancy and I think I’d recognize it when I see it…

      2. LOL, got it! I was thinking of ouevre! So like the complete ouvre of someone, the definition says it only applies to composers, painters or an authour’s works, but I’m just going to stretch it and say it might apply to filmmaker’s works, too, because that’s a fun word to use 🙂 I told you I thought it was fancy ;D I guess it didn’t start with a ‘p’, but at least I was only one letter off.

  2. Great write-up! Def one of my fave horror flicks. Although, I gotta disagree with the sequels. I think they tried too hard to out do this masterpiece and they just came out flat. I treat Scream as if it is a loner.

    1. Thank you! Scream is one of my favourite horror flicks, as well! It’s really one of my favourite horror franchises that I’ve seen in its entirety. They certainly don’t have the same replay value at all, but I enjoy them a fair deal (I had a tough time getting through the second on first try, but I liked it a lot when I tried again). I’d have to watch them again to score them appropriately, though…

      Of the sequels, if you had to pick a favourite, which would you choose?

    1. Thanks Tim 🙂 yeah I just love the idea of it, since they actually acknowledge the horror movie world and character’s stupidity 😀

      The only horror-comedy satire type thing that I love almost as much as this (some days, even more) is The Cabin in the Woods 😀

      1. Movie theater scene… Hmm… Was that in the second one? :$ I really don’t recall a movie theatre scene in the first… Maybe I just have a horrid memory lol.

      2. Hahah I might in the future, it’s just because I haven’t seen them all for so long and I though that one vending machine scene was in the first one… But I think that one’s in the second. That’s really the only reason! The first was like a brand new experience for me because the only part I remembered was when the guy was on the toilet and then the little shack got crashed into by the big bad T-Rex.

      3. Yes and coming out next year, I have literally heard nothing and know nothing about it what so ever other than the guy who directed Safety Not Guaranteed is directing it.

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