Directed by Wes Craven [Other horror films: The Last House on the Left (1972), The Hills Have Eyes (1977), Stranger in Our House (1978), Deadly Blessing (1981), Swamp Thing (1982), Invitation to Hell (1984), The Hills Have Eyes Part II (1984), A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), Chiller (1985), Deadly Friend (1986), The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988), Shocker (1989), The People Under the Stairs (1991), New Nightmare (1994), Vampire in Brooklyn (1995), Scream 2 (1997), Scream 3 (2000), Cursed (2005), My Soul to Take (2010), Scream 4 (2011)]
I won’t say that Scream is a perfect movie, but I will say that it’s close. A deeply enjoyable and meta slasher, Scream did pretty much everything right, and it’s always a blast to see again.
Wes Craven did a fantastic job revitalizing a dying subgenre of horror, being slashers, and brought a very self-aware, dark comedy aspect with it, combining everything to make Scream a pretty unforgettable experience. The cast works, most of the humor works, the plot works, and really, were it not for his previous film, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Wes Craven could easily have crowned this one his best.
Pretty much all the main performances work here. Neve Campbell, who was only in a few films before this, including The Dark and The Craft, did great as the focal character, one who is both attractive and highly sympathetic. Matthew Lillard, who is generally too goofy for me (though he was the shining light in Thir13en Ghosts), does absolutely brilliant here, and I pretty much love everything about him throughout the film. Others who merit a positive mention include Rose McGowan, David Arquette (like Lillard, pretty much all of Arquette’s scenes were golden), Courtney Cox, Henry Winkler, and Skeet Ulrich (a name I don’t know, but does quite decent here).
The comedy here really adds something to make the film stand out a bit more. Seeing the killer consistently get knocked down by the would-be victim never fails to cause some laughter. It makes the killer seem human, which is something that many slashers before didn’t do, or if they did, they didn’t do it that well.
Scream is a classic, and for good reason. There’s little to dislike about it aside from some of the annoying teenagers, and the mystery and finale are well worth watching.
This is one of the films covered on Fight Evil’s podcast. Listen below as Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss this one.