Scream is one of my favourite horror films of all time. It’s directed by the late and brilliant Wes Craven and stars Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, Matthew Lillard and Drew Barrymore and that’s just naming a few. Everything about Scream is great it’s fully aware of what it is and knows exactly how to do it well. The cast is electric and works so well together on screen you can see the chemistry between every character and are genuinely happy to see certain characters Develop. Every cast member seems to get there time to shine obviously some more than others but I never felt like any main characters were left undeveloped. Neve Campbell is great as Sidney Prescott the victim and technically “main character” of the film, she is the final girl and Wes Craven made sure to put every trait of that in and make it obvious, showing he knows the horror genre inside out. Matthew Lillard and Billy Loomis as Skeet and Stu have great on screen moments and have some of the best scenes of the entire film. Courtney Cox at the time this was made was on a roll rising in popularity due to the ever growing “Friends” (Which we now know made her career) and this film shows that Courtney was best in her time she’s the only character you genuinely like and root for in the film, her storyline isn’t the main focused storyline but it’s a nice subplot it works really well and is another aspect to why this film is so great. Every Story gets its own conclusion from little 5 minute opening segments to the aforementioned Courtney cox Love story
Now as a Horror Scream isn’t exactly scary in the normal sense, yes there are a couple of jump scares and well placed Horror moments but as a fan of Horror as a genre I felt like I was more smiling and laughing than shaking with fear. This film in a way is more of a parody of Horror than a Horror film itself, yes it has some disturbing scenes and some intense moments but when one of the first kills of the film is based on whether a girl gets Horror film trivia right you know it’s not taking itself too seriously.
While mentioning it the opening scene itself is flawless. Wes Craven took a big risk casting Drew Barrymore in a film where she dies in the first 5 minutes and using famous horror trivia as a way of causing horror is very imaginative. While she may only be in it for a short period of time Drew shines like the rest if the cast without hardly any screen time, I cared for her character, got backstory for her character and was shocked by her death (something that most modern horror films fail to do in their entire runtime never mind 5 minutes). There are some intense parts and some quite disturbing parts mixed in with the black comedy elements and that really mixes with your emotions but emphasises even more how good Wes Craven is as a director, he knows exactly what he’s doing and this film was a huge risk but the opening scene does a great job of showing everything you get in the film; horror, black comedy, shock twists, horror clichés and a stellar cast.
The cinematography is great and the soundtrack fits so well, the iconic music for this film is still used to this day and you can tell why. The music is intense it’s music that will get you on the edge of your seat and causes worry without any footage, it’s great tension building music that helps emphasise the horror aspects of the film even if they aren’t that scary. The script is hilarious and well written Kevin Williamson did an amazing job of making this film keep you guessing on who “Ghost face” is. You can tell, like Craven, that Kevin is a fan of horror films but knows what there issues are and points them out in excellent ways. Craven brought the script to life brilliantly and in my opinion it’s his best work to date with the only close follow-up being Scream 2.
If nothing else this made horror film makers realise that you can’t just do the same thing over and over again you need to reinvent what you have. The film isn’t perfect some plot inconsistencies don’t make sense and don’t seem to have been done intentionally but the majority of the film is so well made its hard to find faults. Yes everything in Scream is cliché and been done before but that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be Craven even goes so far to take the Mick of his own popular franchises. While the sequel’s may not have been as good (Scream 2 is quite good but isn’t anywhere near as good as the first) the original classic stands high as one of the greatest horror films ever made because it did something no one else dared to do.
By Dawson Roberts
Release Date- 20th December 1996
Directed By- Wes Craven
Written By- Kevin Williamson