1 July 2011 | freemantle_uk
What is your favourite scary movie?
By the 1990s the Slasher genre was becoming stale, filled with clichés, countless sequels and very predictable and uninventive. Likely two men was able to play on this, Kevin Williamson and Wes Craven was able to play on this and made a really excellent take on Slashers.
In the small town of Woodsboro two teenagers (Drew Barrymore and Kevin Patrick Walls) are shockingly murdered, a year after a woman was raped and murdered in the town centre. Very quickly the town is thrown into turmoil, with the media reporting on it, but the teens do not seem to be worried. The killer, known as Ghost-face soon targets another Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), the daughter of a victim, who luckily escapes. But Ghost-face is going to rest and goes on a mission to take down Sidney and anyone who stands in his way.
Scream works because it is set in a world where horror movies do exist and teenagers know clichés. It is a self-aware horror film and has a lot of references to classic horror films like Halloween. Scream is forced to be inventive and Craven who is a master of the horror genre, so knew what he was doing with this film.
Even if Scream was not made with a post-modern, self-aware horror with a comic edge, it still would have been an excellent horror film and one of the best slashers around. Craven and Williamson made sure their characters were fully developed, likable or at least normal. Sidney is a character with a lot of a baggage because of her mother's death and afraid to get close to people. She is a likable because is a friendly, smart, decent girl who is also tough. Sidney's friend Tatum (Rose McGowan) was tough no-nonsense girl who could have easily been the clichéd slut role, but that was avoided because she was a good friend and competent. Courteney Cox plays a unpleasant journalist who cares more ratings and book sales more then safety of people and emotional harm. She is not a journalist who is looking to report the truth or for the public interest. But she does come good at the end. The characters of Randy (Jamie Kennedy) and Stuart (Matthew Lillard) offer a lot of comic relief particular because of their knowledge of horror films. And David Arquettte is solid as a competent police officer who has a typical brother-sister relationship with Tatum.
Cavern made sure Scream was exciting with a lot of action, violence and creative deaths. I particular like his technique of using the camera to follow the victims and move it around the house, adding excitement and intrigue. He knows how to build suspects and he does keep you guessing. I don't get scared watching horror films but you do care for Sidney and the idea of being home alone at night can make you more tense.
I do have a criticism. They does not seem to be much of a reaction at the school hearing about two of their peers being brutally murdered. Most people seem to be very causal about it and saw it as something fun, not worried about a serial killer being on the loose or just saw it as an excuse for a party. Come on, if they was a murder in a small town there would be more sadden, grief and worry. Personally I would have focused on this collective reaction, but I am a more serious person and possibly would have a thriller/a social piece.
Overall, Scream is certainly a worthy horror film, no manner what generation of horror fan you are.