Reinventing-and-reinvigorating the slasher genre with a ’90’s meta-subversion of horror lore and perhaps THE scariest scene ever filmed to open, icon director Wes Craven’s sadistic bone-chiller Scream changed & saved a genre of filmmaking. 9.1/10.
Plot Synopsis: The quiet little town of Woodsboro just woke up screaming. When bodies start dropping around town, it is discovered that a killer lurks among them in plain sight, stalking his victims, playing sadistic games with them involving horror movie trivia, and breaking into their homes to get them. Will they figure out who it is before it’s too late?
*Possible spoilers ahead*
Full Review Coming Soon
I would argue that there is no movie as bold (and triumphant in its gamble) as Scream was in how it took apart and redefined its genre. When I watched this movie growing up, it absolutely freaked me out when I saw that opening scene, and to this day years later, it still has the same chilling effect. Wes Craven, one of the greatest horror directors ever with works like Nightmare on Elm Street and Hills Have Eyes under his belt, delivers an absolute masterclass in filmmaking and making a horror movie with Scream. Reinventing-and-reinvigorating the slasher genre with a ’90’s meta-subversion of horror lore and perhaps THE scariest slasher scene ever filmed to open, icon director Wes Craven’s sadistic bone-chiller Scream changed saved a genre of filmmaking.
Of course, let’s start with the opening scene. One of the most famous scenes in cinematic history and arguably the most after Psycho’s Shower Scene in the horror genre, the opening Drew Barrymore phone scene in Scream is absolutely BONE-CHILLING. I would argue it’s the second greatest horror scene of All-Time after Psycho’s Shower Scene: it’s that good. With a slow-burning and progressive escalation of terror and suspense, meticulously crafted writing and direction by Craven, breathtaking acting by Drew Barrymore and Roger Jackson, and the most memorable movie slasher introduction ever to Ghostface, the scene is flawless and extremely bold and original/imaginative in how it achieves its greatest scare: through a telephone.
Here, the scares start in what seems like an innocent phone call: something everyone does nearly every day, and can’t help but wonder who is on the other side of the line sometimes. This takes advantage of that mystery and anonymity and plays on these fears to great effect being a demented slasher standing right outside your home playing with you for his kicks. The scene works on multiple levels: scaring us from the perspective of Casey and her parents; a normal movie-night in watching a genre we like to dip into the dark side enjoyably through the removed perspective of it never happening to us becomes too real and the most unquenchable nightmare for any parent is losing their child in the most sadistic trophy way possible: being hunt from a tree like an ornament prize. The horror is truly brutal especially at the end where Casey tries calling out to her parents but can’t scream and is found on the tree, but the psychological games it plays on viewers like it did its victim is even scarier, teasing us with nice touches like her pulling off the mask and realizing who the killer is before the movie even finishes its first scene and right before her life ends. Truly unbelievable.
Pros: Absolutely BREATHTAKING opening scene – perhaps the best scene in horror history after Psycho’s Shower Scene – bone-chilling, invading of the previously sacred space of one’s home, slow escalation of suspense and terror, and meticulously crafted conversation, writing, and acting by Drew Barrymore and the introduction to Ghostface to deliver something that doesn’t need any CGI or other gimmicks – just cinematic achievement by Wes Craven and those involved to deliver one of the most iconic and scares horror scenes ever and most famous movie lines: “What’s your favorite scary movie?”, phenomenal performance by Skeet Ulrich as the twisted and truly frightening Billy Loomis and Neve Campbell as central character Sidney Prescott, good performances all around, absolutely genius genre analysis and breakdown – revolutionary and game-changing in how it defined the rules and criteria for horror movies and subversively poked fun at horror movie clichés, playing off them to achieve even bigger scares, great who-dun-it mystery in hypothesizing who the killer is and final reveal as there is no possible way you could have known who it was, indisputably great slasher scenes in all,
fantastic misdirect in letting you think you know who the slasher is only to continually plague you with conflicting information and twist you around until you have no idea, amazing opening act, great soundtrack and scoring in epic creepy music, absolutely genius and hilarious splicing of real-life and horror movies in the party scene ending like watching Halloween and telling Jamie Lee Curtis to “turn around” when Ghostface is behind him watching and outlining the three rules of horror movies, phenomenal ending and final act keeping you truly guessing until the end and with an absolutely shocking final killer reveal – no way you could have possibly seen that coming and even scarier considering the fact that it could be your best friends that twisted without a motive and hilarious survivor girl-killer reversal, revived the flailing horror genre
Cons: Gets a little too campy and relationship-focused in parts after the breathtaking opening scene, horror scenes crazy but too few and far between, ending post-reveal genius but too stretched out & over-explained
Official CLC Score: 9.1/10