A masked killer begins murdering teenagers in a small town, and as the body count rises, one girl and her friends contemplate the "rules" of horror films as they find themselves living in a real-life one.
With a dead body lying between them, two men wake up in the secure lair of a serial killer who's been nicknamed "Jigsaw". The men must follow various rules and objectives if they wish to survive and win the deadly game set for them.
As a deadly battle rages over Jigsaw's brutal legacy, a group of Jigsaw survivors gathers to seek the support of self-help guru and fellow survivor Bobby Dagen, a man whose own dark secrets unleash a new wave of terror.
A musician witnesses the murder of a famous psychic, and then teams up with a fiesty reporter to find the killer while evading attempts on their lives by the unseen killer bent on keeping a dark secret buried.
Tom returns to his hometown on the tenth anniversary of the Valentine's night massacre that claimed the lives of 22 people. Instead of a homecoming, however, Tom finds himself suspected of committing the murders, and it seems like his old flame is the only one will believes he's innocent.
One year after the death of Sidney Prescott's (Campbell) mother, two students turn up gutted. When a serial killer appears, Sidney begins to suspect whether her mother's death and the two new deaths are related. No one is safe, as the killer begins to pick everyone off one by one. Everyone's a suspect in this case. Written by
Clever, scary and funny - a must-see for horror fans
Making a brilliant, original horror film is pretty hard these days, since practically everything has already been told, and more than once. Using that premise, director Wes Craven and screenwriter Kevin Williamson came up with Scream, whose cleverness derives from the fact that it knows every single stereotype of the genre and satirizes them.
Take the opening sequence, for example: a young girl (Drew Barrymore) is making popcorn and waiting for her boyfriend when she suddenly receives a phone call. Normally, this would be a huge clichè, only this time the killer decides to play a little game (horror film quiz, naturally) with his victim. In fact, the only reason why he kills her is that she gave the wrong answer to one of his questions (those who haven't seen Friday 13th might want to skip that bit, as it spoils said movie's ending). That scene is both very scary (the murder is quite graphic and disturbing) and at the same time funny (it tests the characters', and the audience's, knowledge of the horror genre), and the rest of the film continues in the same vein: after the first killing, the masked psychopath starts disposing of other teenagers in the town of Woodsboro using the same technique. One of the targets is Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), whose mother was raped and killed the year before. This implies the killer might be the same, but who could it be? Sidney's distant father? Her mother's lover (Liev Schreiber)? Or some random guy, with no motive at all?
Fortunately, it is not the last category: this murderer has a motive and a plausible identity as well. But it isn't the payoff that makes Scream interesting; it's how Craven and Williamson get to it, by outlining the genre's conventions (some of which were actually invented by the director himself) and using them in a clever, if self-referential, way. The point of the movie is, the more you know of this kind of films (pay attention to the rules, stated by geeky film buff Randy), the more chances you have to survive (although you must take into account that the killer has seen the same movies). The in-jokes that would ruin other films are the very cause of Scream's success, with memorable scenes such as the villain mimicking the movie his victims are watching or Craven's unmissable cameo as a janitor wearing Freddy Krueger's outfit (not to mention priceless lines like "Movies don't create psychos, movies make psychos more creative!").
In other words, Scream is a smart, effective horror film, which manages to amuse and scare in equal measures. Definitely worth watching, even if the two sequels (especially Scream 3) don't really match the original's intelligence and, forgive the expression, originality.
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