Scream (1996)

Wish more horror films were like this.

One year after the death of Sidney Prescott’s (Neve Campbell) mother, two students turn up gutted. When a serial killer appears, Sidney begins to suspect whether her mother’s death and the two new deaths are related. No one is safe, as the killer begins to pick everyone off one by one. Everyone’s a suspect in this case.

I hate the usual horror films. Occasionally there will be some that actually are very good at what they do, but after awhile, they all turn out to be the same old crap, following the same old formulas, and not changing anything. Which is why I love a film that can actually be honest and say that their are formulas, and try to change it all.

Wes Craven is a master-mind when it comes to horror films. He knows how to write them smartly, knows how to direct them intelligently, and knows how to basically make the most gorgeous blood baths you have ever seen. With Scream he basically is parodying what he is most known for, horror films. But while he’s parodying it, he’s also making a great, and smart horror film.

The main reason why this film is so great, is because the dialogue is just so smart. There are moments in this film where I caught myself laughing at just how cliche it could be, but the good thing about those laughs, is that I’m supposed to laugh. There are constant in-jokes to other horror films that you’ll catch, as well as some funny talk about the construction of how horror films are. Moments like when the person about to be killed, should turn around, or going through random doors to escape the killer, when the easiest would be to just go outside, and etc. You can almost sense Craven is winking at you half of the time. These kids aren’t making old mistakes as much as they are making, new mistakes, which makes it more fresh, and actually quite unpredictable.

The problem I had with this film was that about 15 years later, not all of the dialogue stays fresh. The constant one-liners may have seemed a lot funnier back in 1996, but now where we have horror/comedies like Shaun of the Dead, or Zombieland, this film just seems a bit too corny for its own good. Also, the film is a bit tense with its story, because it does get pretty gory and bloody which I liked. But it didn’t quite work as much, mainly because I knew what was going to happen, by the end, mainly cause the film was telling me what was going to happen, although the plot twist at the end, does come off as a shock in a way.

The cast here is actually very good. David Arquette and Courtney Cox, actually first met on this set, and now that their husband and wife, you can tell the foreshadowing here, because they actually are very good, especially when their on-screen together. Neve Campbell is your average slasher main chick, who’s just there to yell, and “scream” (pun intended), and is believable. Skeet Ulrich, and Matthew Lillard play your average deuche cakes in slasher films, and do a pretty good job of it, not going to lie. Jamie Kennedy is good as the horror film nerd, who has one of the best scenes, where he’s watching Halloween, and he’s telling Jamie Lee Curtis to turn around, and the irony is that he’s saying it while the killer’s behind him, and it’s almost like he’s saying it to himself, cause get it his name is Jamie??? Oh god, sometimes I just quack myself up.  And that’s actually not a bad thing, that’s probably what this film was trying to do. Also, let’s not forget The Fonz as our school principal, if only he was mine, I’d be cutting class so many times. Let’s also not forget the infamous Drew Barrymore scene in the beginning, great stuff.

Now that Scream 4 is in the making, I hope that they can do something with that film, like they did with this. Cause it seems all films nowadays have turned into what Scream was making fun of in the first place. So let’s hope that it gives the 21st century slasher films, the wake-up call they deserve.

Consensus: Scream is a horror film, with a great script, that’s filled with wit, satire, and smart dialogue, but doesn’t forget about the blood, and the occasional jumps and scares we would expect from a horror film.



  1. I like your review Dan, it sums up the idea and the original dialogue that made Scream a hit and gave us something different to scream at. Like the Paranormal activity movies are doing today, Scream changed the pace and gave us something that we didn’t expect. ‘Without change, something inside us sleeps.’- Dune

  2. being as how scream 4 is supposed to be the first of a new trilogy, even if it stinks we can probably count on two more after it.

    in the movie, campbell and arquette and cox will all be ten years older. wonder how that will affect the vibe of the movie? they’ll have to figure out what the state of horror movies is today as opposed to ten years ago as they try to understand what’s happening. should be interesting (i myself don’t actually know what the difference is between horror movies of today and ten years ago).

    • The difference now, between then, is that there are no more actual horror movies. They all do the same thing, with the same kind of scares. It will be interesting to see though.

  3. I don’t ;know much about the horror genre, but I know a little more than I did before because by coincidence I just listened to the latest podcast of “Double Feature,” and the guys on it were discussing the movie P2, the Splat Pack (Eli Roth, Rob Zombie, etc.), and the exploitative, R-rated, ultra-violent, low-budget movies of this decade.

  4. Wuut? the dialogue in this film is waaaay better than Shawn of the Dead and Zombieland. You young hippy kids and your honest to blog lingo.

    To me, I think the dialogue works a lot better because it’s rooted in the meta world and informs the characters as well as the overall theme of the film. Stuff like Shawn of the Dead and Zombieland, as entertaining as they are, feel more like intentional series of jokes instead of a well constructed, overall plots.

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