Scream (1996)

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Overall Rating 74%
Overall Rating
Ranked #399
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Connections: Scream

A killer known as Ghostface begins killing off teenagers, and as the body count begins rising, one girl and her friends find themselves contemplating the 'rules' of horror films as they find themselves living in a real-life one. --TMDb
Review by Tristan
Added: September 19, 2007
From what I can gather, this film has generated two groups of people. The people who despise it, and the people who love it. Yours truly, falls in the latter. When I was younger, it was all about Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and Batman movies, and aside from the odd horror movie I saw when I snuck into the living room, I really didn't see too many. Then I turned nine, this movie came out, and my life was changed forever. After that first time I was hooked, and I used to watch this every time I visited my dad for months and months after it came out. In the end, I wore the VHS right out, and he had to pick himself up another copy. Mixing humour, horror, and pop culture, Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson have breathed new life into the horror genre, and have made a very smart, and sophisticated thriller. And to think, Craven had originally turned this movie down.

In an opening scene that has become a cinema classic, Casey (Drew Barrymore) is the victim of a terrifying game of cat & mouse. After being tormented on the phone with classic horror trivia, she witnesses her boyfriend's murder, only to be done in herself. Neve Campbell, Skeet Ulrich, Matthew Lillard, Rose McGowan, and Jamie Kennedy are Sydney, Billy, Stu, Tatum and Randy, respectively. All in their late 20's and playing high school students, these 5 youngsters find themselves in quite a predicament when their little town of Woodsboro is suddenly plagued by a series of violent murders. This is only too familiar for Sydney, whose mother was murdered only a year before that. Luckily "the man responsible" is behind bars, and Sydney is trying to get on with her life. But this recent killing spree has only awakened old demons, including Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox), a local news reporter who cashed in by writing a tell-all book about the case surrounding Sydney's mother's murder. Providing comic relief is Dewey (David Arquette), Tatum's bumbling policeman older brother. He is however, of little help, as he is quite taken with Mrs. Weathers, and has his own agendas.

While most kids brush off these murders, and see it as an excuse to drink and party more often, Sydney has a lot more at stake. She begins getting terrorizing phone calls, and it would seem that she is the killers next target. After being attacked by the killer and trapping herself in her room, she calls 911. While waiting, her boyfriend Billy climbs through her window, like he did the night prior. This time a cell phone falls out of his jacket, and Sydney rushes away from him. Dewey was waiting just outside the front door, along with a few other members of the local police. He is placed in custody until Sydney receives another phone call, proving Billy's innocence. Due to the recent events, the school suspended classes until further notice. So the obvious thing to do would be to have a giant party at Stu's house. This really sets the movie up for an amazing third act, with all the major players in the same house, and the killer stalking them all.

I can't find a flaw in this movie. There's little things here and there, but every movie has them. I felt that everyone played their parts well, and it was nice to see Henry Winkler in a brief cameo. That dear, sweet man. Oddly enough, I found that the music was one of my favourite parts of the whole movie. The score was amazing at building up the tension, until it was suddenly all let out at just the right moments. The gore? Well there isn't a lot of gore to be had, but what you do see is pretty brutal. A lot of it is just a bloody knife and some blood on a shirt, but the disemboweling scene, and the throat slashing are both pretty decent, and will give the gorehounds something to cheer about.

I really can't give this movie enough praise. While I'm biased because it was my favourite horror series as a youngin', I still think that even today it holds up. Even though my tastes have changed, jumping from one horror genre to the other, I can still always come back to this, and enjoy it. I guess when I was younger I never clued into a lot of the references, but it seems like every 5 minutes or so there's either a direct or indirect reference to some sort of horror classic. Might piss some people off, but I liked it. It's kind of nice to see all your favourite movies referenced like this, lets you know there are actually people out there with all the same interests in horror. I just picked up the box set today, and for a relatively good price. This is the first time I've seen this movie in at least 5 years, and I can still say that it made me laugh, jump, and put me in an all around good mood. There's a lot of people who hate this movie, and don't think it's scary enough, or don't like the mix between dark humour and horror. Those people obviously don't get this movie one bit, or what it was trying to do.

bluemeanie #1: bluemeanie - added 09/19/2007, 01:39 PM
This is a great film, don't get me wrong, but I don't know that it really broke any new ground, other than re-vitalizing the teen slasher genre and helping produce films like "I Know What You Did Last Summer" and "Urban Legend". It was definitely well made and definitely affective, and that opening sequence with Drew Barrymore was flawless. Kevin Williamson's script was appropriately satirical and Wes Craven's direction was a throw back to his glory days. I just don't know that this film was groundbreaking, and I don't know that it was scary enough to get a perfect score. So, I give it 8/10.
Tristan #2: Tristan - added 09/19/2007, 09:07 PM
I'll give it to you that it's not very scary, but in a sense, the idea of your boyfriend snapping after watching too many horror movies, and getting someone else in the high school to go in on this with him is pretty scary. I think it's a scarier idea, than it is on screen, probably because it's not too far fetched.
bluemeanie #3: bluemeanie - added 09/20/2007, 10:48 AM
I'll agree with you on that. For me, what worked best, in terms of fright, was the whole not knowing who the killer was, but knowing it was someone who probably weren't suspecting. "Scream" really re-vitalized that whole idea in horror films.
Tristan #4: Tristan - added 09/20/2007, 10:59 AM
The only bad thing to come out of Scream was the slew of Soul Survivor, Urban Legend, I Know What You Did Last Summers. All the pretty, popular teenagers (who were more like 30) trying to boost their careers by being in a "thrilling, sexy slasher" I think Scream got in before that wave of trash, and it definitely shows.
bluemeanie #5: bluemeanie - added 09/20/2007, 11:05 AM
The WB was the best thing that happened to these kids. First, it landed them on hit TV shows. Secondly, it immediately meant they were going to be starring in slasher films. I enjoyed both "I Know What You Did Last Summer" and "Urban Legend", but hated the rest. I loved "Urban Legend" because it had so many great horror icons in it, and I loved "Summer" for...well...'personal' reasons. Not as good as "Scream", but they were good popcorn flicks.
Tristan #6: Tristan - added 09/20/2007, 11:14 AM
Meh, The Summer movies were alright. I have yet to see the DTV one that just came out. And I doubt I ever will.
bluemeanie #7: bluemeanie - added 09/20/2007, 11:50 AM
Same here. The first one I liked. The second one is consistently listed, by me, as one of the worst films ever made. "Scream" was great in that both of the sequels, though not as good as the original, were still interesting and entertaining because we cared so much about the characters.
Tristan #8: Tristan - added 09/20/2007, 07:01 PM
And they kept introducing back story, which kind of seemed like filler, but was nice to see some clever twists to the plot.
Nirrad #9: Nirrad - added 07/07/2009, 11:58 PM
8/10 sounds about right. Some stupid moments, but otherwise great. The opening is definitely the best part of the movie though. I used to hate this movie when I was younger, mainly due to the fact that as mentioned it spawned terrible Pg-13 horror films, that and it wasn't very gory. But looking at it now, it's a few steps away from genius. While I hate what it started, it was also what the dying horror genre needed at the time.
Optimus Prime #10: Optimus Prime - added 10/27/2009, 12:07 AM
I'd have to go with a 8/10 on this one too. Saw it for the first time, today... I'm way behind on this kinda stuff. Real good though. I agree with all the positive stuff said I just didn't like how much it was tied into them being all obsessed with horror movies.
Anthony Spadaccini #11: Anthony Spadaccini - added 10/27/2009, 02:26 PM
I think it's unfair to say that people who hate this movie simply don't "get it." You can get a film without caring much for it.
Crispy #12: Crispy - added 01/04/2010, 02:01 AM
Believe it or not, I saw this for the first time tonight. Scary Movie ruined most of it for me, but I still loved the hell out of it.
Lucid Dreams #13: Lucid Dreams - added 09/11/2010, 02:13 PM
You just saw it this year? What the hell is wrong with you Chris? If i would have known this I would have flown over there and made you watch it with me-naked. 9/10
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