'Scream' (1996) Review: One of the Best Slashers


Courtesy of Dimension Films


Scream was the 1996 slasher film directed by Wes Craven and starred Neve Campbell, David Arquette, Courtney Cox, Skeet Ulrich, Matthew Lillard, and Rose McGowan. In this film, the town of Woodsboro is being terrorized by a figure in a Ghostface mask killing high school students. With Halloween coming soon, now is a perfect time to review a classic horror film that changed the slasher genre. Scream is one of the best slasher films ever made.


Scream is a self-aware horror film. It touches upon previous horror films and franchises, including Halloween and Friday the 13th. The characters watch these horror films and talk about the bad guys in them and the horror film cliches. Compared to most slasher horror films, Scream feels more realistic, even though it’s fictional. Ghostface is a more realistic villain than other film villains such as Michael Myers and Jason. It’s an amazing 1990s horror film that revitalized the slasher genre at a time it was on the decline.


The beginning of the film is the best beginning for a horror film. Drew Barrymore plays this teenager named Casey Becker, who gets this mysterious phone call, and the build-up to Casey and her boyfriend’s death by Ghostface is perfectly set up. Ghostface starts off calm on the phone, but once Casey hangs up on him a few times and threatens him, his tone drastically changes. Right away, our slasher villain is established as a deadly threat.


The cast is one of the strongest parts of Scream. Neve Campbell as Sidney Prescott is great. As the events of the film are happening, Sidney is dealing with the first anniversary of her mom’s death. The actors playing the high school teens, in general, are great in this film. The best performances from our high school characters were Skeet Ulrich and Matthew Lillard as Billy Loomis and Stu Macher. The way they pull off these characters, who ultimately turn out to be our antagonists, was done brilliantly.

The other best performance of the film was Courtney Cox as news reporter Gale Weathers, who Sidney holds a grudge against over Gale’s coverage of her mom’s death. David Arquette as Deputy Sheriff Dewey Riley was also great. Dewey is trying to protect Sidney and is falling for Gale Weathers. The chemistry between Cox and Arquette was great. Jamie Kennedy as Randy is hilarious and is the horror film expert of the group. He knows every cliché in the genre and how to survive a horror film.


Scream does well with its plot twists and the mystery of who is the killer. After Sidney survives her first encounter with Ghostface, the film makes the audience believe it’s Billy. When Billy seems to be in the clear, the suspect becomes Sidney’s father. Then, it turns out that not only is Billy the culprit, but Stu was also helping him. One of my favorite scenes is during the video store when Randy still suspects Billy and he’s caught in between Billy and Stu. It’s an interesting way of setting up who the eventual killers turn out to be.


All in all, Scream does everything well for a slasher film. The performances are better than most slasher films’ performances. The plot twists work out well. The film does a great job of being self-aware and paying respect to the previous films of the slasher genre. Scream is also one of the few horror franchises to give audiences mostly decent sequels since the first film came out. If you haven’t seen Scream yet, I highly recommend you check it out.


Final Grade-A+


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