With all the reviews I do, sometimes I don’t get around to reviewing old movies, especially ones I love and have impacted me a lot. One of those movies is Scream. I loved it back in 1996 and I love it today. I am reviewing some twenty three years after the fact and I am not going to hold back on my thoughts, because all is fair for a skewer or praise, even my own favorite things. So what is your favorite scary movie? One of them is Scream!
Woodsboro is a quiet town where not much happens. It has seen better days then the murder of a young mother, but a year after that, things become hectic, and Woodsboro is never the same again.
Shallow as puddles. I mean, exposition attempts to give us back story, but not really in a way that is needed, since it is being shown. For instance. Dewy saying to a smoking chief, “I thought you quit” when he is smoking, yet the body language is enough for us to see he is tense, his past doesn’t make this scene more poignant than it already is. A longer movie that build up the relationships better or better chemistry between the actors would of helped a lot. Otherwise, you really don’t care for most of them.
Not bad at all. Although I do have some issues with one aspect and that is Randy’s Rules for a horror movie and one other aspect about the boyfriend always being a suspect. First about the boyfriends, what movie was it ever the boyfriend? It never was! I’ve seen 1000’s of horror movies and this was never a thing and while I haven’t seen every single horror movie made, I still can’t even find movies where it turned out to be the boyfriend. This seems like made up bullshit that found its way into the series. Second are the rules are never actually real rules. Let’s take rule one, being a virgin. Not a single survivor girl is ever labeled a virgin, we’re just presumptuous because usually the survivor girl is typical girl next door, reads books, but the question must be asked, whose perspective are these written from? I would expect a popular chick to not want to bang the nerdy kid, but not a single man picking up the easy nerdy female ass? I get if a killer is on the loose not to run off to a room to get off, because you’re going to be venerable, but Come on now, to think every character that ever went up against a killer in these movies couldn’t get laid or never did, well, this insults my intelligence. The other two make sense, but they really aren’t rules for a horror movie, more like, how to survive period. Don’t get intoxicated for instance. Well no shit Randy Meeks! How about, always have a gun? The “I’ll be right back” aspect also barley happens in movies. It seems to me that screams meta aspect, while there, is over inferred and whatever movies Williamson was watching were not movies I was watching nor anyone else. One of the weaker parts of the movies that is never discussed.
When I first saw this, I hated Officer Dewey, but David Arquette is really the guy who jumps off the screen with the best acting of them all. He never hams it up on screen or has an uneven performance. I have to appreciate David and his acting through this series more now than I ever did in the past. He is really good! The rest of the cast are uneven and one wonders if this is the first acting gig for most of them or if they were too cool to bother putting in the effort on such a low brow film. The answer is probably a mixture of both. Courtney Cox gets an honorable mention, even though Gail is over the top, she seems to have taken this seriously and brought an A game perforce and she is another character I loathed in the series.
Production is weird on this. Scream, regardless of what some think, is not Wes Craven’s finest hour. It features weird 1960’s batman angles which not only look like shit, but add nothing and I noticed this was nixed later on in the series. A poor choice that, thankfully, didn’t hinder this movie or his career, because it seems so amateur. The set style attempts to be so not 90’s that somehow it is even more 90’s than being dated would have been, if that makes sense? The clothes are not teenage choices of the era, the set dressing barley have anything 90’s about them. I would presume they wanted to go “evergreen” so it looked good no matter the year, but somehow made it look like this was created by two out of touch old men. Then there is the police, which are all dressed like 70’s California Highway patrol. I don’t know where Woodsboro is, but it seems like it should be in New England, given that Dunkin Doughnuts outside of the region where hard to come by back then, so I don’t know how these Eric Estrada fanboys were getting it.
Awesome! They’re just right for the film series. Gory but not over the top and weird.
CONCLUSION: Scream worked well in its time frame because few movies were like this. You had Jason Lives with the meta aspect and that was all. It still mostly holds up, even though the cloning of cell phones was a dated reference even then, the fact Sid manages to make a 911 call on a system that never existed in the 90s, right after she tries the phone. Back then, this would have disconnected her from the net and she would have been frustrated waiting to reconnect via dial up. Kudos to her for being the first woman to ever have DSL before it existed. The production seems to be done by out of touch old men and the acting is typical fare for these films of any era, never mind the shallow cast of character. Scream’s charm lies not in how original it was or wasn’t but in how real it was, especially in the original decade of school shooters. It could happen anywhere and that is where the really scary part comes into play. It’s a movie that, had I seen as an adult, I don’t think would of influenced me as much, but because I was the right age and right time, it ultimately is one of my favorite horror movies and I am glad that I had the chance to see it then, because it really is a great and fun movie, despite all its flaws.
3.5 out of 5.