Scream (1996)

scream movie poster 1996
9.0 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

Clever, smart horror movie

Accused of ruining horror

Movie Info

Movie Name: Scream

Studio: Woods Entertainment

Genre(s): Horror/Mystery/Suspense

Release Date(s): December 20, 1996

MPAA Rating: R

scream ghost face drew barrymore

Scream if you like scary movies!!!

A killer has come to the town of Woodsboro.  His first victim is Casey Becker (Drew Barrymore) and her boyfriend, both dying just feet from her parents.  The killer now has a new target in Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell).  Sidney is accustom to the public eye one year after the murder of her mother by a man named Cotton Weary (Leiv Schrieber) that she identified in court.  With a new killer stalking Woodsboro, Sidney begins to wonder if she could have been mistaken and if the real killer is coming for her.  With the body count rising, Ghostface seems unstoppable and unidentifiable despite the efforts of tabloid reporter Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox) and Deputy Dewey (David Arquette).  Now everyone is a suspect, and Sydney doesn’t know who to trust.

scream cast neve campbell skeet ulrich rose mcgowan jamie kennedy matthew lillard

Guys…it’s so hard being pretty, young, and so tragically self-aware

Directed by Wes Craven, Scream is a horror slasher mash-up movie and was written by Dawson’s Creek creator Kevin Williamson.  The film and script were lauded by critics, and the movie became a smash hit.  The film developed a cult following and started a franchise which continued the themes of the movie by playing with the genre.

Scream was a big surprise.  Wes Craven has always been rather innovative in horror, but the horror genre had taken big hits over the years with ’80s slasher films going out of vogue in the ’90s.  Scream brought back the slasher, but like-it-or-not ultimate changed the genre for decades.

scream 1996 ghost face knife

Time to slice and dice!

Scream was one of the first horror films that really took on a post-modern approach.  The characters in the movie all had seen horror films, know the mistakes of horror “victims”, and despite this, made all the same mistakes as horror scream queens.  The “kids” (who are all obviously older than their characters) are totally hip with pop culture references and speak in a dialogue that at the time seemed more real but today seems very unnatural and scripted.  It was however different than most of the horror being released.

The cast was young and popular. Drew Barrymore played the Janet Leigh of the bunch by being killed off immediately.  Courtney Cox and Neve Campbell both were hot on TV with Friends and Party of Five, and Jamie Kennedy, Skeet Ulrich, Rose McGowan, David Arquette, and Matthew Lillard were all up and comers.  The movie featured minor roles by Leiv Schrieber (who became a player in later films), scream-queen Linda Blair, Henry Winkler, and Wes Craven himself (as “Fred” the janitor to tie into his Nightmare on Elm St. past).   Most of those who survived the film came back for the sequels.

scream ghost face gale weathers courtney cox gun safety on

Safety on…classic rookie mistake

Scream was big budget and big buzz which was different than a lot of horror at the time which was straight-to-video.  Scream ushered in the semi-comedy self-reflexive series that pretty much dominated the mid-to-late ’90s and early 2000s (replaced by gore-horrors like Saw). After Scream there were tons of copycats (some even penned by Scream’s creator Kevin Williamson).  Movies like I Know What You Did Last Summer, Disturbing Behavior, Urban Legend, so-on and so-on, just seemed to flood the market and almost all were progressively worse.

Scream is a good movie but it is tainted by its legacy.  It is fun and still smart in some aspects, but multiple sequels have dumbed it down.  The first movie stands on its own and can be seen as original.  Some aspects of the sequels are good (even great), but I think the movie would be remembered even more if the sequels hadn’t come out.  Scream was followed by Scream 2 in 1997.

Related Links:

Scream 2 (1997)

Scream 3 (2000)

Scream 4 (2011)

Scream (2022)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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