This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Zach Gallegos’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Spooktober 2020 Flick #17
Like Scoob, I Think I'm Dying Here Man
While it is flick number seventeen of Spooktober, today was day three of the "iconic slashers" marathon. First, Wes Craven gives us the terrifying Nightmare on Elm Street. One New Nightmare later, Wes Craven gifts us Scream, the gold standard of slasher films. This film is the correct way to create a horror film that subverts the audience's expectations. We know this is going to be a special horror flick from the beginning, as our star masked killer asks his next victim, "Do you like scary movies?" We get some great lines early on, the atmosphere is spooky as hell, and we get two brutal kills right off the bat. All of the dialogue over the phone is excellent, with so many references to horror movies that make the inner horror fan me scream in glee.
This movie is probably one of the essential horror movies of all time. The film embraces previous horrors of the past while still being self-aware. How could I not love a movie that plays Halloween 78' in the background while dropping references to both Psycho and Silence of the Lambs? We also get the not so subtle reference to Nightmare on Elm Street with Freddy, the janitor. Love it. I seriously love how much horror appreciation this movie oozes. There is so much slasher fun to be had with this movie, and we get so many good kills. The garage door kill was the most creative, but also, why would anyone in their right mind try and escape through a dog door in a garage door? Seriously.
What makes this movie truly unique is how it breaks the mold and mocks the rules we have come to expect from a horror movie. Randy breaks down some of the rules for us, and it is funny how he says sex equals death, and the star character must be a virgin while Sidney (Neve Campbell) is having sex. We have also come to expect the cast to be safe in the middle of the day, especially at school. Not in this movie, as Ghostface almost gets to Sidney in the girls' restroom. Finally, we come to expect just one killer in a slasher movie like this, and I knew for sure that Shaggy (Matthew Lillard) was the killer. But Billy also being one of the killers after seemingly dying, now that was clever. Matthew Lillard and Skeet Ulrich give us some great psychotic performances that would make Norman Bates smile.
This movie is bloody, scary, funny, and nearly perfect in every way. I was in pure shock as our two killers kept stabbing each other to create their alibi, while also nodding my head at how genius scenes like these were. The only thing keeping the film from the perfect score is it doesn't have the score that The Shining and Halloween have, but damn, this movie is still great.