Erik [Auk]’s review published on Letterboxd:
I was definitely looking forward to watching Scream for the first time with my October horror watchlist this month, but I was very cautious approaching this film for a few reasons. First off, my only other Wes Craven film so far has been A Nightmare on Elm Street which I thought was decent but excruciatingly and annoyingly 80s. And secondly I had seen Scary Movie which is basically a parody of this parody and a few months ago my sister also spoiled to me who the killer was (kinda... as it turns out). These two things made me a bit worried about whether I would like it, but despite both of those things, I really loved Scream!
Scream is basically a horror movie about a group of teenagers who are aware of horror tropes, adding an often funny new dimension of self-awareness to a slasher film. And make no mistake, despite some comedic moments what I really liked about Scream was that it was actually a horror/mystery film about a psychopathic killer played mostly straight with just a few genre-referential moments, unlike other horror parodies such as the more recent Cabin in the Woods which went for a full comedic approach. I certainly prefer the whodunnit tone over the constant elbow jabbing and eyebrow raising parody of Cabin in the Woods.
Scream had a genuinely interesting level of mystery and intrigue, and in a very pleasant surprise the slasher in this movie ended up not being the person my sister told me was the killer (thanks sis?) and I thought it was handled well. Wes Craven's sense of direction also helped aid the mystery, with several scenes shot using disorienting lenses or dutch angles that emphasize the mystery element of the film. I also have to praise Marco Beltrami's score for greatly adding to the atmosphere and tension throughout the film, making every regular old hallway a little frightening. Of all the Beltrami scores I've tagged into Letterboxd so far, this is the only one I've heard that has really stood out to me, and it is quite good.
Given what I was going into the film with, in every regard watching Scream was a pleasant experience. It is an incredibly well made parody and love-letter to horror that stands on its own as a genre film.