It’s Saturday, so it’s time for a Slasher film, and I’m starting with one of the greatest ones of all time- Scream (1996.) Wes Craven manifested this iconic film along with its legendary knife-wielding villian, Ghost-face. Since this film made its debut in 1996, it has been followed by 3 sequels, been portrayed and adapted into films like Scary Movie (2000), and it has been a fan-favorite costume for people everywhere, every year on Halloween.
I love this damn film and all of its quirks, ridiculous dialogue, and beautifully cinematic moments. This film is Wes Craven's guide through horror- embedded in an actual horror film. It is his tribute to horror film culture, and it is an admirable spectacle.
This film follows Sidney Prescott, a teenager marked for tragedy. Sidney has experienced personal tragedy with the murder of her mother, and then, when Ghost-face begins to terrorize the small town of Woodsboro, she becomes the main target of his affliction.
Sidney hangs around her smooth talking, troubled boyfriend Billy, her charismatic, sarcastic best friend Tatum, Stu- the oblivious, goofball boyfriend of Tatum- and Randy, the film clerk who knows all things horror movies. Hollywood has a terrible itch for casting older adults to play high school students, and it almost never fails that these actors don’t look remotely like they are 17 years old. This movie is not an exception to this rule, but I also couldn’t imagine a different cast playing in this film.
The film opens on the most memorable horror film scene to date, starring a young Drew Barrymore delivering a classic slasher film performance- full of tears, blood-curdling screams, and more. It's truly a masterpiece that unveils itself starting with a phone call and a simple question, "What's your favorite scary movie?"
Now, if you love the Scream franchise as much as I do, you know that the sequels continues this theme of favorite scary movies and discussing horror movie tropes throughout the span of 4 films, reinventing itself each time.
From the beginning of this film, it reveals itself to be quite the self-aware movie- full of interesting characters whom all help narrate the film through to its end. The characters know about horror movies, therefore they usually know what to and not to do in scary movie-esque scenarios. They even speak so ironically and unrealistically, as if they know they're in their own movie. Wes Craven took this opportunity to anatomize and retell what makes a horror film through his characters. The gore, the screams, and the intense chase scenes of this film all contribute to tell a truly mesmerizing story. It all leads up to the climactic ending, bringing upon the final girl to end all final girls before her.
Sorry Jamie Lee Curtis and Heather Langenkamp, you guys had your way of things, but Sidney Prescott is different. She breaks every final girl rule that is laid out in the film, and she still never misses a beat, remaining clever throughout. It is made clear that this film was not made for the villain to shine. This was Sidney's movie the entire time.
I loved the roles of the prominent women of this film. They each showed unparalleled confidence and sharpness, defeating the horror movie tropes of crying in corners and flashing their breasts for the male viewers. In fact *spoiler* even Tatum's very death in this film is my absolute favorite death of the entire franchise, with the scene fully committing to this films own hilarity and self awareness.
This film is everything you love from slasher films and more. Each character death is a carefully crafted scene that delivers memorable last lines, lots of blood, and even some very unique weapons of murder.
Wes Craven, you genius. You master of horror.
Jacindable Rating: ★★★★½
starring, Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette, Jamie Kennedy, Rose McGowan, Skeet Ulrich, Matthew Lillard, Drew Barrymore, and more
written and directed by, Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson