Taking place in a small American town (don’t they all), scream follows a group of teens who are stalked by a murderer who has watched one too many horror films. He rings them on the phone before hand, getting tips from Black Christmas (1974) and When A Stranger Calls (1979) to name a few. It soon becomes apparent however that this new string of murders is linked very closely to one that took place a year ago, since the main target this time around is that victim’s daughter (played superbly by Neve Campbell)
Scream is a slasher that is written with an obvious love for the genre and whilst able to please casual viewers is aimed squarely at the fans. From a school janitor dressed in very similar fashion to Mr Krueger and called “fred” to a comment that the first Elm Street film was good “but the rest were crap”, you would be mistaken for thinking Craven is simply praising his own work. Craven however throws in references to as many horror films as he can without over doing it and not just the big beasties either (a personal favourite of mine was the reference to The Town That Dreaded Sundown from 1976). It’s also fun to see an obvious admiration for John Carpenter as well. Some horror fans however disliked the whole “rules” scene in which a character points out the various slasher movie cliché’s. Now I can understand why this would upset some people but you have to admit by 1996 a ridiculous amount of slasher movies had been released that followed the same formulae. Scream points that formulae out but respects it and makes sure that it follows the formulae to.
A highlight for me was a very amusing performance by Mathew lillard. Throughout the majority of the movie Lillards approach comes across rather unusual however during the final reel it all makes perfect sense. During this final reel he also gets to deliver the most amusing lines in the whole film and manages to keep a light hearted feel to the film despite the dark motives for the murders that are being revealed. His crowning moment during this scene is when he asks a character over the phone if they have really called the police, when they reply that they have Lillard remarks in a sobbing Childs voice “my mum and dad are gonna be so mad at me!”
Don’t make the mistake though and think that Scream is more a send up of slasher movies rather than one. It’s not; Scream is strictly horror with some very tense and frightening scenes that make it one of the more famous “modern” horrors. Among these is the infamous opening in which Drew Barrymore is haunted by the murderer. Wes craven wastes no time in frightening the viewer as this scene manages to get your pulse pumping in a matter of seconds.
Gore: Some pretty brutal death scenes so be prepared
Nudity: yeh, quite a few sex scenes and references
All in all I found it a fantastic watch. It’s not for everyone though and that has to be understood 10/10