Days of Terror: “Scream”


After watching one of the oldest horror movies last night, I decided to watch a more recent one tonight, and one of my favorites at that. “Scream” is one of the few films on my list that I’ve seen, and have seen numerous times at that. While it wasn’t the first or the last slasher film, it’s a standout film in the highly repetitive genre because it completely changed it.

Where I watched: Netflix

Length: 111 minutes

Prior knowledge of the film: Everything. I’ve seen the movie, and all of its sequels countless times. I even got sucked into the not-so-great TV adaptation that ran on “MTV” over the summer. The “Scream” series is the one horror series that has me completely hooked.

Doing the opposite

The brilliance of “Scream,” and the brilliance of Wes Craven is that the noted horror director could have easily made another slasher series that’s just as repetitive as any other horror film series. Instead he flipped the genre on its head and did completely opposite of what was expected in the film. Drew Barrymore was the most high-profile actress cast in the film at the time. Normally that means she would have been the sole survivor — instead she was killed first. While most films have one unmasked killer in the final scenes, “Scream” threw another curveball by having two. In doing that, it also mocked traditional formats of slasher films, where one killer is somehow able to be in all places at once, and can withstand anything that goes against it.

Was it actually scary?

Absolutely. “Scream” took the who-dun-it mystery and perfected it by making every single character in the film look suspicious of the multiple murders happening throughout the town. The film plays on growing distrust, something all too prevalent within the real world, making viewers

Beyond the psychological damage the film series has done me and my sense of trust, the deaths are brutal and terrifying all the way from the beginning of the movie. With the addition of a second killer, most deaths are truly inescapable as well.

Overall consensus

Totally brilliant. Wes Craven could have easily made another formulaic slasher film, but instead called out the formula and delivered an instant horror masterpiece in “Scream.” Through its references of popular culture at the time, mocking of horror movie tropes and genuine self-awareness, “Scream” transformed into one of the greatest horror films of all time, in my opinion.

The casting in the film is also brilliant. Everyone in the film was so convincing and perfect in their roles (except Skeet Ulrich because Billy Loomis is just the worst). Courteney Cox gives an incredible performance as Gail Weathers, the self-obsessed journalist who would do anything for a good scoop, but the best performance in the film was surprisingly by Jamie Kennedy. Kennedy not only played Randy Meeks, he became him. Although Randy is viewed as just the side-character, the beauty of “Scream,” through its self-referential mocking, can only be achieved through Randy. Jamie Kennedy has never been better since, and at this point on my list, neither have horror films.