Newest Review: ... to life brilliantly. From the now classic opening scene featuring Drew Barrymore, you're guaranteed to be hooked. The basic plot is prett... more
Hello Sidney................ ..
Member Name: pmcds
Advantages: Genuine tension; clever combination of teen flick and slasher movie
Disadvantages: None really
Nearly a whole year after her mother was brutally raped and murdered, Sidney Prescott finds herself the target of a slasher killer she believed was safely behind bars. Following the murder of one of her fellow schoolmates, Sidney and her friends have to deal with the fact that there is a killer still at large, and he's coming after her, leaving a trail of bodies in his wake.
Scream's emergence onto the horror scene in the mid 90s made horror cool for an entire generation. It combined the high school feel good stereotype that so many films had embraced with the suspense and fright of a genuinely scary movie. The film constantly makes reference to the 'rules' of a scary movie, and what you should do to survive it by making sure its character discuss horror films, but then proceeds to go against its own recommendations, giving us cause for sitting on the edge of the seat and wishing that we hadn't elected to watch this in the dark on our own, after all.
There's no doubting the fact that this is first and foremost a horror film, a slasher movie with a killer wearing a black sheet and a ghost face mask who is intent upon killing everyone in his way in order to get to Sidney. But what it also does is inject the same sort of relaxed and subtle comedy that these teen high school films often do. There's the clown in the group, here played by Matthew Lillard who seems to have been given licence to overact and play the fool, and this is added to by the nosy and determined reporter Gale Weathers, played by Courtney Cox, who manages to bring Monica with her along with some of the comedy the character has. Indeed, there were a few moments where everything was very normal - people cracking jokes and doing funny things that you'd kind of expect from a group of high school kids.
But above it all is Wes Craven's ability to suddenly turn things serious and wipe the smile from your face. Whether it's the deliberately predictable nature of some of the murders, or the steady inclusion of some sinister music, or even the knowledge that any second now the killer is going to jump out and claim his next victim; or whether it's the fact that there are so many moments where Craven builds things up and then lets us down, only to hit us with a jumpy moment immediately after this relax; either way it's edge of the seat stuff and I found myself jumping a number of times as events occurred.
The acting is pretty good. I wouldn't say there's anything special going on here, but then that kind of adds to the power of the film in presenting everyone as just normal people. Neve Campbell takes the lead role of Sidney and is well supported by a young cast such as Skeet Ulrich, Drew Barrymore, Lillard, Cox and others. Henry Winkler gives a nice turn as the principal having to deal with a killer affecting the school's equilibrium, and the support cast largely turns out pretty well. Initially, this disappointed me as I wanted a powerhouse of acting display, but hindsight shows me that all the performances are placed just right to bring forth the power of the horror and scariness of the film.
The film helped combine the genre of teen flick with slasher movie, but don't be fooled into thinking this is regular teen entertainment. The killings are brutal, and at times it's very graphic. I would say it easily earns its 18 certificate just on this alone, and the elements we now consider quite commonplace, such as self-reference when characters talk about what not to do in a scary movie, was actually quite original when this came out. There's real suspense, and the occasional comedic element is placed alongside this as opposed to over the top of it. There's a sense of realism about it, and the few twists the film coughs up will certainly keep you guessing until the final scene pans out in typically clever and effective Craven style. The film has an ability to combine two genres of films in excellent fashion, and is definitely the best of the franchise, which became harder to deliver the same impact that this one did. I'm certainly looking forward to seeing the recently released Scream 4, but it'll have a long way to go to live up to this first film in the series. Recommended.
Summary: Top quality 90s slasher movie