If you rewind time, and put your mind to remembering the mid-nineties you'll realize that the horror landscape was much the same like today. It was dull, it had been played out, and the 80's nostalgia thing was forcing many to hate the genre. Then a little move shook the foundations of horror and it was led by none other than Wes Craven. Looking back, the series isn't exactly a genre bender, but when it first came out, especially this original Scream film, it warranted everyone to take notice, and rightfully so. For some the genre of "slasher" was revitalized, while I just say that it was a nice jolt to the genre, not necessarily a revamping or anything along those lines.
The plot of the film is a classic one, a killer is on the loose and he's targeting teenagers. Inside the film, they are smart teens, horror movie fans and there is a lot of tongue-in-cheek humor utilized to move the plot along. Standout performances from Jamie Kennedy, Henry Winkler, Courtney Cox Matthew Lillard and others made this film rise. Some people will immediately talk about the opening sequence being one of greatness, but I'd like to forward to the ending, or the last sequences. We have a classic dilemma with the main character torn between her boyfriend and the guy who likes her, but hasn't ever had a chance. Oh and of course the reveal of who the killer is.
The gore is here, alongside with sounds. The sounds of the knife slashing might not seem too realistic, looking back, but this was a time when CG blood was not utilized. There are plenty of moments that are sick, but none of the deaths are so outlandish that they don't seem impactful. Sure, one might argue that there are some comedic deaths, but I don't believe they are quite as comedic as some of Craven's other works...say...like in Shocker.
There are no casual sex scenes (at least not like the major ones from the 80's), although there is some teasing. The movie moves fast, and you're never bored, especially with each moving piece getting closer to the climax. As the cliche's start mounting, the smart-ass characters realize that they are living a movie, and start to figure out how to survive...but by then, most are targeted and taken out.
Is Scream a Scary Film ?: Yes.
Yes, it's outlandish. Yes, it seems contrived now. However, in 1996 this film rocked the horror genre, and as a movie it holds up quite well. After watching a lot of Unsolved mysteries last night, I can really say that this film is not too far off. In fact, there are quite a bit of "copy cat" murderers and serial killers out there, and the story here is not too unlikely. Heck, the Columbine murders were blamed on Marilyn Manson's Music! So pop culture and cinema alongside real life slayings is not a far fetched thing.
The scary parts of this film are not found on whether or not it could really happen. It's more so the fact that the character seem to play it straight, at least for a good part. You being to question each one, although some claim they saw the ending coming, I'd beg to differ, you didn't see it coming and if you did, you're lying. The most scary points of this film involves being savvy yet not savvy enough to get away with murder or to survive.
Horror fans, including me, always talk about how ridiculous some of the plots in these horror films are. Yes, we should be running out the door and not up the stairs, we shouldn't have sex or drink when a killer's on the loose, but when you tear away our pride and our self-esteem you realize that in a panic, we'd probably react the same, and that notion is the scariest part of all.
Scream holds up really well. I saw the whole trilogy again and will review the other parts later, but I can say this much; Scream is a classic and is one of the better genre films of the mid-90's horror scene. It's not perfect, and there are points that you can trash, but overall? This is a great point of interest for horror movie fans, and guess what? It holds up really well, all things considered.