13 Slashers Through the Ages: ‘Scream’ (1996) Review
Between October 19th and Halloween, we at Full Circle Cinema will be celebrating 13 days of slashers. Tonight’s program resuscitated the slasher subgenre as we know it today. You see, it was not very cool to admit that you liked slashers back in the mid-to-late 80’s. What with all of the sequels, how could it be? But then Scream along. Let’s see just how “cool” cool can be with Craven’s 1996 classic.
Wes Craven is a pioneer in the horror genre. As it turns out, Scream began Craven’s second franchise after A Nightmare on Elm Street. Craven took several B-list and C-list actors that would turn into superstars in the late 90s and early 2000s after this film. He also took a simple concept of murder and turned it into one of the most intense mysteries ever. As a result, he got into the minds of many on the quest to figure out who the killer was.
The film centers around Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell). We find out early on that her mother had been murdered the year before. More importantly, she is now a potential victim of a new serial killer. The killer, also known as Ghostface, uses horror films to methodically play a game with his or her victims. Sidney and all of her friends are targets. They must stick together and play the killer’s game to survive. Who is committing these murders and why are they doing it?
In addition to Campbell, this film has an all-star cast that consists of Drew Barrymore, Skeet Ulrich, Courtney Cox, and David Arquette, just to name a few. It also includes several great early performances from the likes of Matthew Lillard and Jamie Kennedy. This cast is so charming and charismatic that you feel the energy as the film goes. Craven did what he had done when he put together A Nightmare on Elm Street. He took a known cast and sprung them to some very high peaks.
Kevin Williamson should also get just as much praise for the beautiful script he penned. Every element feeds off the other with this film. The cinematography, acting, script, and Craven’s amazing direction glued this together perfectly. The way the film flows is beyond perfect. Williamson writes the characters with such personality, and the movie mixes the comic relief in so well. The way the whole film ends is one of the most mindblowing things ever. It’s very unexpected but it fits so well that you can’t do anything but smile.
Wes Craven created a franchise that launched into a pop culture phenomenon. The film has been spoofed, and turned into one of MTV’s most successful TV shows. Ghostface is a character that has been popular for over 20 years. The concept has been used over and over again, but the originality of it back then was pure genius.
Personally, I think Scream is one of the most memorable horror films ever. There are horror films for everybody, but I think anybody that loves horror films can enjoy Scream. Wes Craven proved himself to be far more than a genius with this film. I tip my hat to you Craven, God rest your soul.
Where does Scream rank in your horror film rankings? How do you feel about the franchise as a whole? Comment with your thoughts below!!
Scream is available on Blu-ray and Digital HD.
The film stars Neve Campbell, David Arquette, Courtney Cox, Matthew Lillard, Rose McGowan, Skeet Ulrich, Jamie Kennedy, and Drew Barrymore.