After the brutal murders of two teenagers, Sidney Prescott, a high school student, is threatened by the same masked murderer who killed them. Fighting for her very survival, she even begins to doubt the innocence of those close to her.
It’s that time again folks: Man in Black Reviews is having another movie review marathon, and this time the first three Scream movies are being covered in a countdown to Scream 4 coming out on April 15th. This week, we’ll take a look at the first movie in the series – the one that started it all: Scream.
What makes this movie unique from others of its kind is that it sort of exploits horror movie cliches, but in a serious and purposeful way rather than something like Scary Movie or even what Planet Terror was to zombie movies. It takes the cliches of horror movies and uses a great deal of them, yes, but it does so in a way that adds a good twist into the usual mix. This can be seen from things like one of the characters being a horror guru and talking to people about the “rules” of scary movies (never say, “I’ll be right back!”) or Sidney talking about how horror flicks are just big-breasted girls who can’t act doing stupid things (and let’s face it, that’s really true). This way of differentiating itself from other slashers is definitely a method that works – it’s not just “hoaky horror movie #37” anymore!
On a similar note, Scream also uses more horror pop culture references than I’ve seen in any other movie of this genre. Be it in the beginning when Drew Barrymore is quizzed on Halloween and Friday the 13th, or when Sidney’s boyfriend is talking to her about Silence of the Lambs (even if what he mentioned didn’t actually have anything to do with her situation like he made the comparison of… Yeah, I think that line of dialogue was brought in just because they wanted another horror movie reference). The best use of this, though, is definitely near the end of the movie when the Halloween music is playing as someone watches the movie and it plays along with foreboding scenes. That fit very well.
Speaking of the house, did anyone feel bad for the poor people who owned it? We hear about how the parents are out of town and in the mean time there’s a big party, people having sexy-time in the parents’ bed, destruction of property and let’s not forget – the murders. You damn teenagers! Causing all sorts of trouble…
Scream isn’t a particularly scary movie (or, well, I guess it’s one of those movies that’s marketed as one but only accomplishes being a “teen horror”, so in other words… Not scary to the majority of people) but despite that, it’s still managed to make a pretty memorable villain: Ghost Face. This character is probably the only thing that’s slightly creepy about the whole movie; you have to admit that he’s just a little bit unsettling at times. Not only that, but he has a memorable enough look that it just sort of sticks with you. That must be the opinion of many people, too, considering how much merchandise has been based off the costume. Heck, I think I even have one of the costumes of my own! I should wear that thing one time… Hmmm…
This movie also has some pretty great twists at the end. Unfortunately, even though I haven’t seen the movie since I was like… six, I remembered all the ending twists (curse you memory! CURSE YOU!) but if I hadn’t have remembered that I would’ve been surprised! Which I guess counts for… something. Just remember, as the horror guru in the movie says: Everyone is a suspect. Scream is great at making you wonder who the killer really is; they manage to make everyone – even the main character herself at times – a suspect, simply adding to the surprise once the truth is actually revealed.
The characters are pretty solid, and fleshed out quite a bit for a simple slasher movie like this. So much so, in fact, that I actually felt some sadness when certain characters died! Now that’s an accomplishment for a horror movie. Everyone is really made by their real life actors, however; without people like David Arquette as Dewey and Christina Cox as the annoying, pushy reporter, the characters just wouldn’t have been as good. The main girl even looks as young as she’s supposed to be! And for anyone who knows my opinion on that matter – how annoying it is when a thirty year old is cast in a teenager’s part in films – you’ll know that’s a big plus for me. No wrinkles! It’s a miracle! Also, Drew Barrymore is in the movie. If that doesn’t earn the film immediate Awesome Points, I don’t know what does.
Of course, Scream isn’t perfect. There are occasional stupid moments in the plot (DAMN IT ALL GIRL! Don’t you know that going through the tiny little hole in the garage door is NOT a good idea?!) or moments that are supposed to be ominous but… aren’t. Like when Ghost Face is outside and we see him hiding in the bushes, all crouched down, then he runs off. you can’t tell me I’m the only one who almost laughed out loud at that part at how silly it looked.
Scream is one of those classic horror movies that isn’t actually scary, but just fun as heck. It has solid acting, a memorable villain, and a story that has a pretty original execution. If you want something genuinely scary, this most likely isn’t the movie for you, but if you just want something that’s thoroughly entertaining, Scream is absolutely the way to go.
Well, folks, that concludes my first review in the countdown to Scream 4 – check back in two weeks for the continuation of my Scream-a-thon as I cover the sequel, Scream 2.
- Horrifying Musings of the Fourth Kind: Snyder-thon: Dawn of the Dead (2004) (mibreviews.com)
- Horrifying Musings of the Fourth Kind: Voices (Du Saram-yida) (maninblackreviews.wordpress.com)
- Snyder-Thon: Watchmen (2009) (mibreviews.com)
- Horrifying Musings of the Fourth Kind: Planet Terror (maninblackreviews.wordpress.com)