This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
🩸kman🩸’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
8th, maybe 10th viewing:
I’ve always loved this movie. I first wanted to watch it when I was 11, don’t ask me why. So I asked my parents if I could watch it on my 12th birthday, they were cool with it and I watched it and I loved it. It’s the movie that got me into horror. Immediately after that, I bought the trilogy box set in Tesco and I watched the sequel that Saturday and the following two each Saturday after. I’ve seen it so many times since. The last time I seen it was in cinema and it was an absolute dream come true, everyone wore masks. I seen the second and third in cinema after that too but they never showed the fourth one which was annoying. It’s actually funny because I remember I was maybe 13 and my cinema was showing a Scream triple bill and obviously I was dying to go. At the time Scream was my favourite film ever (only now second to Halloween) and I was so excited to go. But, all the films are 18s in the UK and the cinema wouldn’t let me in. I remember getting my Dad to email the cinema and ask if they’d let in a 16 year old (I looked old for my age) with his parents but they said no. I was really upset (and is one of the reasons I have such a deep hatred for the BBFC) but I just marathoned all 4 movies at home that night instead. I also bought it on VHS and have watched it on that once. I also have it on iTunes as well as two different DVD releases and the standard blu-ray. On top of that I have the licensed Scream 4 costume, some cheap masks, a Scream 2 snow globe I picked up at comic con, the original Scream 2 UK cinema quad poster, the holographic Scream 3 soundtrack on CD, two of the reaction Ghostface figures (one opened, one unopened), Scream 4 German steelbook and the funko pop.
The film itself is a literal masterpiece. The script is probably the best thing about it. It’s so clever and meta. There’s so many twists and turns and you’re constantly left on your toes wondering what the fuck is actually happening. It’s also got such a masterful blend of humour and horror. You’ll be chuckling one moment and on the edge of your seat the next. Now the film has so effect on me in terms of scares or suspense but it still hold my attention even after all these viewings, it’s just perfect. The deaths are also fantastically creative and wonderful. Tatum’s has always been my personal favourite (and Emma Roberts’) just due to its creativity and brutality but they’re all great. The opening scene with Drew Barrymore is literally the best most iconic thing in cinema ever. Every time Drew picks up that phone I just get such a massive grin on my face and the greatest desire to keep watching. The opening itself makes a thrilling short film and the way it subverts viewers expectations by killing off the biggest star first is honestly just genius. I was actually only recently alerted to the fact that I’ve never seen the uncut version of the film. I always thought America was the only place it was cut but apparently every DVD with the exception of Scandinavia and some German ones are the same cut. So naturally I freaked out and looked for a copy online, well they were all expensive as fuck but I’m still on the lookout.
The characters are also fantastic and some of the best in horror history. Sidney Prescott is a phenomenal final girl. Not only does she fight back and kill the killer but she also breaks typical genre rules by not being a Virgin. She really is the best final girl since Laurie Strode and Neve Campbell does an absolutely terrific job. Although, I think Courtney Cox is on par, if not better. The character of Gale is literally just so perfect. She funny, sassy, strong and badass. Her quips and her selfish but lovably bitchy personality makes her one of the most memorable characters in horror. I’m also a big fan of Tatum, pretty much for the same reasons as Gale. I just love bitchy but likeable female characters. I also really like Jamie Kennedy as Randy. I can really see myself in his character (something my dad loves to joke about) and Kennedy’s performance during ‘the rules’ scene is so iconic. Matthew Lillard also does a great job as Stu. His way over the top performance is not just weirdly hilarious but a pretty good indicator to pointing to him being the killer. Skeet Ulrich is also pretty good as Billy but sometimes his delivery is a bit off. Although, this may be intentional due to Billy lying most of the time.
Ghostface is also the perfect villain. He’s mysterious but definitely human, and that mask. The costume in general is probably one of the most iconic, if not the most iconic, horror movie mask of all time. Every Halloween it’s in every single Halloween shop and absolutely everyone could tell you that he’s ‘Scream’. I actually dressed up as Ghostface one Halloween and I can tell you that the mask is the most sweaty fucking thing ever. And the idea of having the villain being a persona meant that sequels wouldn’t have to resurrect the villain with stupid excuses. The reveal of Billy and Stu was also really clever. Nowadays having 2 killers isn’t really that big of a twist but back in the 80s every slasher film really only had one killer and the way Scream subverted those expectations with Billy and Stu was genius. When I had first seen the film I was already aware that Matthew Lillard was the killer because my dad would tell me that Shaggy was the killer but I’m pretty sure I didn’t know about Billy. I honestly think the murder mystery element of the films is one of the best parts of the franchise because trying to solve the puzzle is so much fun. Although, I also noticed this time around that even if Sidney and Gale died, Billy and Stu would have been caught anyway. Stu’s DNA was all over the phone and the voice changer and Gale’s camera would have caught everything anyway,
The film also moves along at a really good pace. Despite having a long runtime, especially for a horror film, everything feels so tight and compacted that it’s always interesting. All of the references to horror films are so fun to see from a fans perspective too. Obviously when I had first seen this, the only horror film I had seen was I Know What You Did Last Summer so I didn’t get any of the references, but as I grew as a horror fan they meant way more to me. They literally mention all of my favourite horror films and make subtle digs to them and it really is just so fun to see as a genre fan. I also noticed on this rewatch that the T-shirt Tatum wears to school on the second day (the football crop top) has the same design as Johnny Depp’s in A Nightmare On Elm Street. All of the many references to Jamie Lee Curtis (my favourite actress ever) were also incredible. The fact that she basically kills Stu and the Mother’s Boy poster and the conversation about all of her movies and her ‘lungs’. I just appreciate them so much.
Overall, Scream is a horror masterpiece that never fails to entertain no matter how much you watch it, thanks to its clever writing and fantastic characters.
Solid 5 out of 5 stars