Scream ★★★★★

Scream is a horror film set a year after the murder of a teenage girl’s mother, when she is terrorized by a new killer, who targets the girl and her friends by using horror films as part of a deadly game.

Every now and then, a horror film comes along and reinvents the genre and, as many people have said before me, this slasher masterpiece from Wes Craven absolutely did this in 1996. Scream and everything about it is iconic in every way possible. The quotable dialogue, the characters, the killer’s mask and costume, the many references, it’s all become such a huge part of pop culture history ever since and its following seemingly just gets bigger with each new generation. It’s the most important horror film of the 90s and it’s easy to see why.

Craven attempted this formula two years prior with the incredible New Nightmare, however, whereas that film’s main focus was of course the A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, Scream targets the horror genre as a whole, providing what is both a love letter to the genre and a satire of slasher flicks. All of the tropes are there to laugh at in this meta horror comedy but it’s done in a way that is genuinely funny whilst also really cool at the same time. Because that’s what this is, it’s just a really cool film and even though the outfits and haircuts are oh so 90s, it still feels incredibly modern and fresh to this very day.

Sidney Prescott is up there as one of the best final girls in slasher history thanks to the fantastic performance by Neve Campbell. There’s a certain energy and attitude that Campbell brings to the role that helps make this character someone who’s not afraid to look after herself but also isn’t afraid to show some vulnerability every now and then too. She’s so likeable and so easy to root for! Courteney Cox is iconic as Gale Weathers and is responsible for so much of this film’s camp value. Her eye catching outfits, her line delivery, her interactions with the other characters, everything about this character is just so much fun to watch and Cox does such a great job of bringing this ridiculously entertaining character to watch.

David Arquette is brilliant as the well meaning yet bumbling Dewey and completes the main trio that have remained at the centre of the franchise since the first film, it’s easy to see why too. The three of these characters are great together and all likeable in some way or another, making for three characters who are always so enjoyable to watch. The rest of the cast all do a terrific job too with standout performances from the likes of Skeet Ulrich, Matthew Lillard, Jamie Kennedy and Rose McGowan who all play very memorable characters who are at the centre of some of the film’s best scenes.

Of course, no review of Scream would be complete without mentioning the face of the marketing for the film, Drew Barrymore. In what is a very clever and superb homage to Psycho, Barrymore’s character, Casey looks as though she’s going to be our main character but is one of the first victims in the film. Nowadays, it’s common knowledge that this happens but it must have been such a great, unpredictable twist when watching this back in 1996. Barrymore also does an incredible job with the small screen time she does have and plays a character who is so easy to become attached to despite having little to no character development; all we know is she’s home alone, likes horror movies and has a boyfriend.

The costume for Ghostface has become just as well known as the iconic villains that the film pays homage to. It’s a great mask and costume that isn’t too over the top, it’s very minimalist but still effective. The same can be said for the kills, although there is some gory imagery to be found here, the kills are never too in your face but they’re still all so good and make for some very intense scenes. The cinematography also helps with this. It’s such a stylish looking film but as great as it looks, the inventive camera work and editing go together to help ramp up the suspense during so many scenes throughout. The soundtrack is phenomenal with a brilliant score that always knows how to match the film’s tone perfectly and some great needle drops including perfect use of Red Right Hand by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds.

Overall, Scream is a horror masterpiece and a film that never gets any less cool, funny or intense no matter how many times I rewatch it. From its countless horror references and homages to its fantastic cast/characters and the iconic design of the Ghostface mask, everything about this film is just phenomenal, making it easy to see how it became such a staple for the horror genre. One of my favourite films of all time, this film never gets boring.

🔪🔪🔪🔪🔪 / 🔪🔪🔪🔪🔪

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