Scream ★★★★½

Film #3 of Hoop-Tober 2.0

This is a film that shouldn't work on paper. The tricky balance between humor and horror is hard to pull off, without the tone feeling compromised and uneven, but somehow SCREAM manages. The duality of the film is perfectly encapsulated in our protagonist, Sidney Prescott. She dismisses horror tropes with sly remarks, but when she is put in a dangerous situation she too runs up the fucking stairs and deeper into the house instead of trying to escape her pursuer. As much as it satirizes and pokes fun at the genre, it also acts as an unabashed love letter. This all works because not only is Williamson's script genius, but Craven's precise direction and the impeccable cast allow it to be transported from his pages to the screen. The plot is simple, playing out like some fucked up version of SCOOBY DOO. The "whodunnit" aspect is seamlessly integrated into the film, acting as another compelling layer to this hilarious, chilling motion picture. The picturesque 90's suburbia of Woodsboro is well realized, as are the authentic characters. The cast is damn near perfect, with Campbell, Ulrich, Cox, and Lillard really owning their roles. The way our characters are totally self-aware of the conventions of the slasher genre adds to the hilarity of this film. Ultimately though, it all comes down to that momentous climax that gives us thirty minutes of horrifying tension and uncompromising dark humor. While the script and the acting contribute to the final act, it really is Craven's superb direction that makes it as powerful as it is. SCREAM is an intelligent film, and one that definitely feels of its time without coming across as dated. It's still relevant, even today. It's subversion and simultaneous adherence to its own genre is remarkable. I cannot believe I waited so long to see this.

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