Scream is what happens when you combine the world-weary, cloyingly experienced direction of Wes Craven, and the creative talents of a (then) young and hungry screenwriter, Kevin Williamson. Scream received a lot of ink upon its debut for boldly parodying the genre, turning dialog and plot developments (usually unbearably trite) into something witty and unpredictable.
However, Scream achieves greatness whereas many other B-movie horror spoofs fail in their attempted hipness, solely because it manages to remain a disturbing, hurtful movie taking place within the bounds of reality. Despite its comic relief, every scare in Scream still feels real. The film doesn’t so much mock itself as it merely suggests that even serial killers can have a sense of humor. The film’s black hooded crank caller graduates to movie-icon status, thanks to some wonderful cinematography and editing techniques by Craven, who still knows how to force a jump out of his audience. David Arquette, on the other hand, achieves icon status for his inept character of Dewey Riley and will become the butt of many jokes because of some effective stunt casting. (i.e. Scary Movie)
Even if you are sneering by the final plot twist, it’s hard to deny that Scream does the unthinkable by making a really funny movie this dark and disturbed.
Horror and Gore
Fairly graphic, at least by Wes Craven standards. Wes Craven seems to particularly enjoy destroying beauty, so don’t expect anyone to survive on looks alone. There is a nice balance of bloody goo meets cat-and-mouse thrills, and the killer’s ominous voice is perhaps the most violent blow of all. The fact that various characters are self-aware throughout the film, and still scared stiff by their horrific demise, emphasizes the point: just because you’re smart, doesn’t mean you’re smart enough to survive what’s coming.
How to Watch It
Watch this murderous playground with friends and make sure the lights are on and the phone line is free. For kicks, figure out which of you would probably die first because of Randy’s rules.
Having developed into a franchise, try to watch the movies in sequence. It will not only allow you to experience the adventure as it develops, but also enjoy the development of the horror movie genre over a decade. Be warned to throw yourself into a Scream marathon, you might find yourself carefully lurking around corners on your way to the fridge or the toilet. Forget about getting a peaceful sleep.