Scream is perhaps one of the single most intelligent films to come out in the last decade. You might want to argue that point with me but my point is not that Scream is an intellectual film, but that it is a film that operates on so many levels it can’t be considered just a teen slasher movie. Sure, Scream is a teen slasher movie, but it’s also a genuine horror film, a satire, a movie about movies, a comedy and more than anything a damn good mystery. In an era that was seeing more and more cliché’s in the horror genre Kevin Williamson and Wes Craven decided to use the horror cliché mire to their advantage and play on those cliché’s instead of falling in with them. By doing so they created a franchise that dissimilar to anything else to date.
I am not going to write about all of the influences on Scream here, or even everything it references because if you really appreciate the major films of the genre you will without a doubt discover more and more hidden inside Scream on every viewing. The film is a veritable hodgepodge of hidden nuggets about other films and filmmakers and the reason the film has aged so well is because it manages to do this and still put an emphasis on the characters instead of putting the emphasis on the references.
For those that haven’t seen Scream it takes place in the small town of Woodsboro where Sidney Presscott’s life has been hell for a year; the previous fall her mother was murdered and she was the star witness in putting the killer away. Now as the anniversary of her mother’s death approaches people are dying again and Sidney must contend with the thought that perhaps these murders are connected to her mother and the fact that it appears the killer is after her. Everyone in Sidney’s life is now a suspect and Sidney’s friends don’t see the danger in the killings, simply the rewards of being let out of school.
This is perhaps the first Wes Craven film that I had ever seen; I have the appreciation I do for the (better films of the) horror genre because of Wes Craven. Before I saw Scream I thought that horror films were basically evil tools of the devil without any redeeming qualities. Once I saw Scream I began to realize that perhaps some horror movies were worth the watch. One of the most influential things about Scream is that it helped to revive the decaying genre. Somehow by poking fun at the cliché’s it helped refresh the entire thing and poured in new ideas, or at least made studios willing to take a chance on films that they might not have before. I do think that Scream is one of the most influential films to come out of the 1990’s.
Director: Wes Craven
Writer: Kevin Williamson
Sidney Prescott: Neve Campbell
Dewey Riley: David Arquette
Gale Weathers: Courtney Cox
Billy Loomis: Skeet Ulrich
Tatum Riley: Rose McGowan
Stuart Macher: Matthew Lillard
Randy Meeks: Jamie Kennedy
Casey Becker: Drew Barrymore
Cotton Weary: Liev Schreiber
Principal Himbry: Henry Winkler
Casey: Who's there?
Ghostface: Never say "who's there?" Don't you watch scary movies? It's a death wish. You might as well come out to investigate a strange noise or something.