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There's more than a few reasons to hate `Scream'; the main reason would be
that the film single-handedly resurrected the teen-slasher genre, a movie
category that had long been beaten to death. Because of the success of
`Scream', witless horror crap like `I Know What You Did Last Summer' and
`Urban Legend' got greenlighted, half the teenage casts of various WB
television shows got summer acting jobs, and some awful scripts that
should've been left dead and buried `Teaching Mrs. Tingle' got to see the
light of day. `Scream' is responsible for a lot of garbage. But the truth
of the matter is, `Scream' is also a phenomenal movie.
The plot of `Scream' is very simple: a masked knife-wielding maniac is busy stalking the students of High, killing them off one by one. The killer's inordinately obsessed with one girl, Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), who of course gets involved in the quest to unmask the killer. The catch (in case you don't already know it), though, is brilliant. Everyone in the film is familiar with all the slasher film conventions. They know that you shouldn't walk in the woods alone at night. They know that having wild sex is an unwritten invitation to be hacked to pieces. They know not to say things to each other like `I'm going outside for a cigarette; I'll be right back.' -- such statements are virtual death warrants. One of the best examples (and best characters) of this is Randy (Jamie Kennedy), the film-obsessed nut of the film, who actually goes so far as to muse what `real' actors and actresses should play the other characters in the film, going so far as to joke about who gets to be Tori Spelling. All the dumb conventions of slasher films are pulled out of the shadows, exposed for what they really are . . . and then, some of them get used anyway, because the characters willingly choose to ignore those conventions. Some cliches are thrown away, while others are embraced. `Scream' really turned the horror/slasher film genre on its ear, becoming the first truly suspenseful and exciting slasher film in many, many years simply because it suddenly had a million new avenues to explore. The film's self-awareness allowed to move in brand-new directions . . . and suddenly, scenes that used to be predictable in other slasher films suddenly become incredibly intense in `Scream'.
Director Wes Craven was perfect for this film -- as director of slasher classics like `Nightmare On Elm Street', he easily sets the visual feels and style of film to perfect evoke all the slasher films of yore . . . and then, much like `Scream's' script, chooses to either faithfully follow the tried and true, or to go off in competely unexpected directions. Either way, Craven manages to create a lot of absolutely nail-biting, thrilling scenes. He also doesn't hold back with the gore, which is always a plus in great slasher films. The acting ranges from barely mediocre to good -- Neve Campbell's okay as Sidney; Courtney Cox is pretty good as tart-tongued reporter Gail Weathers; Jamie Kennedy rules as Randy the film geek; and David Arquette is utterly bland and forgettable as Deputy Dewey Riley, the sad-sack policeman. But casts in slasher films don't particularly matter anyway; the good ones are all about suspense, terror, and gore. And in `Scream', Wes Craven provides massive amounts of all three of those criteria.
The irony is, `Scream' spawned dozens of imitators, and by spawning imitators, all the new avenues opened up by `Scream' quickly got old and boring once more. Still, purely on its own merit, it's an excellent film. The best slasher film of all time is still John Carpenter's `Halloween', without question, but `Scream' actually runs a close second. It's well worth watching. Grade: A-
In 1996, when I saw this in the theater, I was expecting to see a
predictable movie. That we would just get bored with. But I was wrong. This
has to be one of the most clever movies of the 90's. Believe me, this was an
awesome thriller. Wes Craven should stick to movies like this,
It had a wonderful cast. Funny lines. Scary moments. Classic horror scenes that will keep you at the edge of your seat. A movie that you'll rewind and want to watch again and again. And after the 50th time you watch it, you'll say, just one more time.
So, if you have good taste, or are looking for something original, watch this film. And get the trilogy DVD set. It's a screamer!
Watching this film for the first time in the basement of a four story house,
with no-one else in was the perfect setting for this film. From the very
first scene I was gripped and I could not wait for the climax to discover
the murderer and his motives. The script was extremely original, as they had
purposely set out to parodie the typical slasher style movie.
It was written in a way that deceived and tricked and had you jumping out of your seats but also laughing at the paradoxical black humour. For anyone looking for a good horror film with a twist, you won't find a better one than Scream.
Overall I give it 9.5/10
"Scream" does not seem like the kind of movie that could make you appreciate American cinema. If you haven't seen it, then you're probably viewing it as just another silly slasher flick that creates more laughs than scares. On the contrary. This movie IS filled with plenty of scares and satirizes the horror genre in a way that literally has turned this film into a masterpiece. I guarantee you that while you may not love it (it nearly was rated NC-17 for its intense violence), you'll be highly amused by this one. A-
Almost a year after someone raped and killed Sidney Prescott's mother in the
small town of Woodsboro, someone is killing teenagers. When Sidney herself
becomes a target, the link is apparent and her missing father is a suspect.
However, as with all good scary movies, everyone is a suspect.
The film that sparked the revival of horror movies (Halloween H2O, I know what you did last summer, Urban Legend etc all followed ..thanks a lot!). This stands out from all those (and it's lackluster sequels) by being really good and clever. The story is nothing more than the standard slasher plot but it avoids the cliches quite well. In fact it uses the cliches as references and makes plenty of jokey references to other movies and the supposed rules of horror movies we even have a quick flash of a caretaker dressed in Freddy's jumper and hat!
That doesn't mean it's not scary it is! From the tragically horrible opening 10 minutes through each gory killing the tension is high and the shocks are real. The plot twists nicely and the ending is much better than most slasher movies (including the absurd endings of 2 and 3). This manages to be fresh, clever and scary getting by any sticking moments with it's tongue in it's cheek.
The cats are good Campbell is a believable virgin, scarred by what happened to her mother before she starts turning into Buffy the vampire slayer in parts 2 and 3. Cox is excellent playing against type and David Arquette is funny as the Deputy Sheriff. Kennedy as Randy is also funny as the movie geek in fact he remains the highlight of the next 2 films. The cast being filled of up and coming faces (including Ulrich) makes it even more thrilling when the `wrong' people get killed, technically all the cast are `unknowns' who usually make up the body count, so really anyone can potentially get offed.
Overall funny black comedy, scary thrills and gory excitement. A rare treat a really good teen horror movie
This movie completely changed my view on horror films.... Before seeing
Scream I would never watch anything might make me scared because I
hated horror movies... when i saw Scream it completely changed... It
also introduced me to Matthew Lillard who I had never heard of
before... Now he is my favorite actor! This movie gave so many young
actors and actresses a chance to make it big.. Courtney Cox was great
in this movie as well as the sequels and after seeing this movie I
became a FRIENDS fanatic... This movie also completely changed the
horror genre and every scary movie thats come out since takes a little
something from Scream... I will always remember the first time I saw
Scream... It really captivates its audiences.
ITS A SCREAM BABY!
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.
SCREAM (1996) ***1/2
Starring: Neve Campbell, David Arquette, Courteney Cox, Matthew Lillard, Rose McGowan, Skeet Ulrich, Liev Schreiber, Drew Barrymore, and Henry Winkler Director: Wes Craven Running time: 111 minutes Rated R (for strong grizzly violence and gore, language, and some sexuality)
By Blake French:
"Scream" is the mother of all teen slasher films. From the opening sequence to the somewhat silly closing cliffhanger, it is one of the scariest productions of the past several years. Now, about the opening sequence, it features a penetrating Drew Barrymore receiving prank phone calls from a man with a deep, mysterious voice, who becomes more and more conversationally aggressive as they talk. "What's your name--because I want to know who I'm looking at." After building up some very effective momentum, the scene has a heart-stopping climatic payoff that isn't only pointless gore, but terrifying suspense. It is moments like these that make "Scream" one of the best movies of 1996.
"Scream" centers on a high school girl named Sidney Prescott, a modestly productive young woman who spends much of her time alone and with her boyfriend, Billy. She is approaching the anniversary of her mother's murder, whose killer has been convicted and sentenced to death. Sydney's school is in the process of mourning the brutal murder of two fellow classmates, and the pupils aren't exactly sympathetic.
One night Sidney is home alone, and receives a phone call similar to the one in the opening scene. Sidney is tormented in that call, and after an exchange of a few unfriendly words, attacked by a dark individual wearing a white ghost mask. She fights him off, however, and lives another day, much in regard to the mysterious appearance of her boyfriend and a young, squeamish cop named Dewy.
The presentation of Sidney's life is not one-dimensional. The overlook on her schooling experiences, classmates, relatives, friends, and teachers are all believable. Strongly supporting the character are the details and sub-characters.
It is nearly impossible to watch "Scream" without making a list of assumed suspects to the numerous killings that take place. Here is my prediction list of murderer suspects, not telling who, if anyone, is the correct guess:
· Dewy, the young police officer who suspiciously shows up at nearly every crime scene, and has somewhat of a psycho personality.
· Sidney's boyfriend, Billy, who is actually sent to prison for a short period of time after being accused as a prime suspect. He also appears at a crime site unexpectedly.
· Sidney's father, whom has motive for murder and is nowhere to be found locally.
· A crazy video store clerk who is obsessed with scary movies and who I forget the details of.
Another element that makes "Scream" so great is the content of the murders. The victims aren't just helpless plot puppets waiting to die like a mannequin, but real people who want to live. Each puts up a good fight in defending themselves, and several nearly escape the killer. The characters who die are often unexpected, members of the main cast--making this production unpredictable.
The performances are electrifying in Wes Craven's highly acclaimed horror film. The actors act with dramatic intensity and the characters are perfectly cast. Each character is explored with suspicion, and due to Craven's direction, the villain's identity remains a mystery until the lazy finale. I am an experienced filmgoer, and I thought that I had the killer picked out at mid point in the film. But I was so wrong--the film had me fooled all along, and that is not an easy thing to do. I had no clue of who the killer actually was. "Scream" contains so many twists are turns that by the end of the movie, I couldn't have correctly predicated the killer's identity if my life depended on it.
Brought to you by Dimension Films.
Scream With the countless number of teen slasher movies doing the
rounds, it is too easy to watch scream and see simply another school
serial killer movie that has just rolled off the factory production
line. However, it was Wes Craven's 'Scream' that started the whole
revival of the horror genre and re-invented the teen horror. Through no
fault of its own, but rather a succession of bland rip-offs, not to
mention a very successful spoof (Scary Movie), Scream's original impact
has been severely dulled. Were Scream released today it would no doubt
be moderately successful but would be instantly forgettable. But back
in 1996 the teen horror market was wide open. The teenagers of the 90s
were bored of traditional horror movies featuring haunted houses,
vampires or deformed monsters. They had seen them all. So Wes Craven,
having reinvigorated the horror genre once before with 'Nightmare on
Elm Street', set out to do it again. This time, along with Kevin
Williamson, who would go on to be creator of Dawson's Creek, created a
new kind of horror one that you could laugh at as well as scream at.
What made Scream so successful is that it was never patronising, and displayed a strong sense of ironic self-awareness. It took every horror cliché in the book and turned them upside down. For the kids that had seen too many movies, there was now a movie for them. The characters did not follow the clichés, but in fact talked about them, and talked about what would happen if they were in a movie. This sense of irony may seem tired now, but when Scream came out it was new and exciting. There was rarely a need to scream 'don't go upstairs' or suchlike in Scream, because the characters themselves were saying that! The idea of the killer being amongst the students adds a fresh dimension to the film, as fear gives way to paranoia at not being able to trust anyone. The subversions of the accepted horror clichés, in particular in the opening ten minutes (I'm not going to give anything away for those who have not seen it) also contribute to making Scream a truly shocking movie. It was this sense of innovation that made Scream such a breath of fresh air for the horror genre, and it is only a shame that Craven's genius has been ripped off so many times that his work has dated far too quickly. Craven and Williamson have also created a new horror star but it was not a particular character but just a costume with an iconic mask. The Scream mask has become just as symbolic, perhaps even more so, than that of Michael Myers or Jason Vorhees.
For any serious horror movie fans, Scream is essential viewing, if only to witness the film that started it all. The 'movie within a movie' idea was terrific, and would be taken even further in the sequel. The frequent references to classic horror movies, and reversals of accepted horror clichés, especially in the opening ten minutes) are also fun to watch out for. There is even a wonderful moment where one boy climbs in the bedroom window of his girlfriend a scene that would be taken and used as one of the foundation for Williamson's successful teen series Dawson's Creek.
The iconic mask, the one-liners, and the unique self-awareness when it comes to horror clichés make Scream a true original accept no imitations.
This film would have to be the scariest movie I have ever seen. Great
acting, highly original plot, and interesting characters. This film
also had a great script. Not that lame, typical horror film. This film
was unpredictably scary. My friends were covering their eyes, but I
wasn't, even though this movie scared the crap out of me! Neve Cambell
was surprisingly impressive and I loved her character, Sydney, so
If you want a good Friday evening scare with friends, Scream is an excellent rental. I would make some popcorn but put it aside whenever the phone rings in the film because you might end up spilling popcorn all over the place.
Scream Report Card:
Acting A+ Script A+ Scares A+ Characters A+
Final Grade: A+
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