jackransom97’s review published on Letterboxd:
"What's your favourite scary movie?"
Been a while since I last gave 'Scream' a watch. A year after her mother was brutally murdered Sidney (Neve Campbell) is terrorized by a new killer who targets her and her friends using horror movie rules as part of the deadly game. 'Scream' really did revolutionize and inject new life into the slasher sub-genre when it released in 1996 (which also led to a whole new wave of copycats which ironically killed off the slasher genre again). It's use of horror movie references, quotes and tropes really still feels original and fresh and paved the way for the fourth wall breaking meta dialogue we see in a lot of films today. It's really impressive just how well the film executes its 'everyone is a suspect' plot. Whether it be killing off its big name star (Drew Barrymore) right at the beginning (Janet Leigh in 'Psycho' anyone), to a masked killer with seemingly the ability to appear anyway and move faster than what should be possible (Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers...) all with a layer of horror movie trivia and satire ("The first 'A Nightmare On Elm Street' movie was good... but the rest sucked.") For horror and movie geeks alike, the dialogue is relatable and engaging.
Even though there is a layer of comedy and self-awareness 'Scream' still delivers when it comes to its slasher movie tropes. Craven's direction is really good here, harking back to his older movies style of building tension with some creative camera angles and tracking shots. The kills are vicious and brutal and don't shy away from the blood and guts that fans of the genre love, with some grisly and realistic practical effects. What really excels 'Scream' and makes it still a cut above most of the movies within the slasher genre is its characters, Neve Campbell is a great final girl and her arc from innocent to badass is great to see, Courtney Cox is always entertaining as reporter Gale Weathers, Skeet Ulrich always has an off-putting suspicious aura that you can never exactly pinpoint whether he is the culprit or not, Matthew Lillard gives a scenery chewing insane performance. Even the supporting cast are very memorable, Officer Dewey (David Arquette) is one of the most likeable and funny horror side characters, Rose McGowan as Sidney's cocky best friend, Jamie Kennedy as the horror movie obsessed Randy and Henry Winkler as Principal Himbry who's dedication to his students protection borders on psychotic itself.
Some of the dialogue and soundtrack is a bit cringe at times due to the film being very much of its era and it does still fall into the basic story and trappings of the film's within the genre (even though a lot of this is intentional). 'Scream' is still a blast to watch over 20 years later and stands out as one of the best in the genre and Craven's filmography.