scream | wes craven | kevin williamson | neve campbell | courteney cox | david arquette | slasher | meta | mystery | united states | drew barrymore | skeet ulrich | rose mcgowan | matthew lillard | jamie kennedy | roger jackson | kevin patrick walls | david booth
Director: Wes Craven
Writer: Kevin Williamson
Starring: Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette
I remember when I first saw this film. I was still needing a babysitter and my mother rented this on VHS. I watched it and this film had me hooked. I had always liked horror, but I hadn’t really went into the slasher genre yet. This really started me down the path that I am on now. The official synopsis for this film is a year after the murder of her mother; a teenage girl is terrorized by a new killer, who targets the girl and her friends by using horror films as part of a deadly game.
Normally here I would go into a recap of the film, but I assume most everyone has seen that. Even more I think this has one of the best opening sequences and I really don’t want to spoil that if someone reading this hasn’t seen it. With that out of the way, I have to say that this film was definitely one that broke the mold. It took what happened in past horror films and poked fun at it. It also explained the rules and things that were done in them without the classics even realizing it. This one is great in that it has so many references to those same classic horror films.
To expand on this notion above, it not only references them, but it actually makes you aware that despite what the characters say, they end up doing what they said they wouldn’t. An example is Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) says that the big breasted, blonde girl should run out the front door and not up the stairs. The killer then comes after her and she does exactly what she said not to, because her front door is locked. This meta approach breathed film back into horror, even though it is something that now is a little bit overplayed.
The first time you watch this, the mystery is great. It had me guessing until the end. What also makes this film great is that it is good enough to be re-watched and it is fun to try to see how the killer did all these things after you know who it is. Not many films have the same type of rewatchability, but that is something that makes this one great.
Randy (Jamie Kennedy) is a personal favorite in this film as he is me in my friend’s group. I’m not as nerdy as he is, but I’m the one who loves horror. I love that his knowledge of horror actually has him point out who the killer is and he gives a motive for everyone. The reveal at the end also has something to do with horror movies and I really like what they did there. It actually pokes fun at the idea that was presented in courts and they state how that’s not what made them do it, just made them more creativity.
It is paced extremely well. The film runs close to two hours, but it doesn’t feel like it. You are sucked in with the characters and the mystery of the film, even after you know who the killer is. There are enough action, deaths and building of the story that it moves along at a great pace. Director Wes Craven nails it here for sure. Even the comedy in the film doesn’t hurt it, but adds to the film. It all culminates in an excellent ending.
The acting is something I touched on, but I really have to commend the actors. We have a bunch of people who are relatively unknown. Drew Barrymore was a star and she is gives the film the Alfred Hitchcock Psycho move. Campbell is great as the heroine. She is broken by what happened to her mother, but it also makes her strong. Skeet Ulrich as Billy Loomis is great. He seems like a good guy, but he has the creepy undertone from the beginning. Courteney Cox as Gale Weathers the sleazy tabloid reporter who as a history with Sidney is really good as well. Rose McGowan, David Arquette, Matthew Lillard and Kennedy are all great for their distinct characters as well. There is nothing negative I can say about the acting.
Effects for the film are great as well. This was at the height of early CGI that doesn’t seem to hold up. This film goes away from that. We get practical effects that look good. The stabbings and cuts in the film seem like they are real. Even though Tatum’s (McGowan) death wouldn’t work, it still looks good. I have nothing negative to say here.
This film’s score is also really good. It has such a 90’s feel to it, but it doesn’t hurt anything. All of the song choices are perfect. I did find it funny that decided to go early in the film with a cover of ‘Don’t Fear the Reaper’. It is acoustic and for the scene, it works. There are some iconic songs that when I see the scene, I know exactly what the song is.
Now with that said, this film is iconic. The 1990’s are a rough era for horror fans as the quality took a dip, but I don’t necessarily think that is the case. There are some iconic films from the era. This is definitely one of them. This film helped breathe some life back in the genre. There is a great story here that even after you know the reveal, it is fun to go back to watch it to see how it could play out. It is coupled with great acting and the pacing as well. The effects and the soundtrack are also really good. It really help start up the meta look at horror that is still popular today. If you haven’t seen this film, I definitely recommend checking it out, as I think it is great and worth a viewing. It is even worth a rewatch if you haven’t seen it in awhile.
My Rating: 10 out of 10