Sommerleigh Pollonais – Horror Head Writer
For Day 11 of 31 Days of Horror we have Scream (1996). A year after the murder of her mother, a teenage girl is terrorised by a new killer, who targets the girl and her friends by using horror films as part of a deadly game.
Looking back on it now, I think this type of horror movie was inevitable. If you’ve been following along as I review one horror movie per decade, firstly thanks! And secondly, you’ll have realised the astounding fact that horror films had been around 180 years prior to the release of Wes Craven’s horror movie about horror movies, Scream.
This film took the rule book and threw it out the window. That is to say, the characters are fully aware horror movies exist. They’ve seen a ton of ‘em (my kind of people), they know the rules (never say “I’ll be back” because you won’t) and they think they could survive one just because of this fact. That’s the brilliance at play here because in the real world, horrific things happen everyday. Some of us even tell ourselves “that would never happen to me.” Well that’s what these cast of characters thought, and in most cases, they were dead wrong (see what I did there?).
Another stroke of genius for this film was the ability to pull the rug out from under the viewing audience. The movie opens with a familiar and famous face. Drew Barrymore as poor Casey Becker. She’s on the phone having what’s now become an iconic conversation about her knowledge (and lack thereof) of horror movies. The brilliance here is we are no different from these cast of characters. We horror fans have seen it all right? We know how this is gonna play out. But we didn’t, and most people had no clue how this macabre tale would conclude.
I myself sat in a packed cinema with my friends and I clearly remember my sister and I going back and forth (in hushed tones of course, we’re not asshats) with our choices as to who the killer was. Turns out we were both right and if you’ve seen this movie, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Another change of pace added here was the choice of final girl Neve Campbell as Sidney Prescott. Yes she’s “innocent” as that plays into the trope but she’s not your wilting flower nor does she come across as someone who needs to be rescued. There’s an underlying strength to her that is obvious from the moment she comes on screen. As a matter of fact, this is something seen in almost all the female victims here. They fight back and they fight back hard! As someone who grew up on slasher flicks, I can tell you that’s not the norm and it was a welcome change of pace, along with all the other fresh and fun new tropes added to this genre by Mr Craven and screenplay writer, Kevin Williamson (Dawson’s Creek, The Vampire Diaries).
Rewatching this movie, I still enjoyed it a lot but, as much as it makes fun of horror tropes, it still falls victim to them, albeit this is done in a very tongue-in-cheek fashion. We have the nosy unlikable reporter, Gayle Weathers, played to perfection by Courtney Cox. The loveable bumbling deputy who couldn’t investigate his way out of a plastic bag, Dewey, played by David Arquette (the two would later marry and divorce in real life) and of course we also have loads of over-sexed, drugged up teens because this is STILL a horror movie and we need bodies to hit the floor.
All said and done though, there is no way you can have a listing of the best horror movies ever made and not have Scream on it. However you may feel about the sequels, the original injected much needed energy back into the genre, in a time when it started to feel like it had run out of steam. Later down the line we would get another fun ode to horror movies in the form of Cabin in the Woods, and I would argue, that movie may not have been possible, if a certain Ghostfaced killer didn’t make us all Scream, decades before.
Sommer’s Score: 7.5 out of 10
So what did you think of Scream? For part 10 of my 31 Days of Horror and action horror classic Aliens you can click here. And for more horror film reviews you can like and follow Redmangoreviews on Facebook here.
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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