Will Weldon’s review published on Letterboxd:
This is one of those movies that was just the apex of its genre both in terms of critical and fiscal success, and the unfortunate thing about those kinds of movies is that they tend to have a pretty dire effect on their genre for years to come. Why is that? Well, they "inspire" a lot of churned out copycats by studios hoping for some easy money*. In a reasonable system, that kind of excellence would inspire other studio execs to say "Wow, look at what can be possible when respecting an artist's vision and keeping studio interference to a minimum"** but instead it just lead to one million copycats, the best of which was... I don't know, I Know What You Did Last Summer? So yeah, this is a great movie, it's just hard to separate my feelings about it from the feelings I had sitting in movie theaters as a teenager, wondering if the movie I was watching was really bad (it was, I just lacked the self-confidence to even trust those instincts), and also why my talking on the phone for hours with girls from school that I was into hadn't yet netted me any sort of "girlfriend". Yeah, that second set of in-theater feelings I yet remember have nothing to do with Scream, but maybe they wouldn't continue to haunt me if I had been having them during a movie that was better than David Boreanaz's Valentine.
*Those attempts would end up pretty frequently working out for them, so I guess the real shame belongs to us, the consumer.
**Apparently Bob Weinstein was up the producers' ass about every little detail even into the early days of shooting (he didn't like the mask! THE MASK!!!), but once he and his rapist brother watched what was essentially a sizzle reel of what been shot up until that point they realized what they had and fucked off. This is from "Down and Dirty Pictures", a book I can no longer stomach reading because Peter Biskind surely uncovered at least some of what we now know about Harvey Weinstein during his research for it. Cool industry, cool culture!