Scream is easily one of my favorite horror movies, and maybe even one of my favorite movies in general.Would you believe me if I said I hadn’t seen Scream until a year and a half ago? I suppose it isn’t that wild of a thought when you consider that it was released the year I was born, but then take the fact that I love horror into consideration and you wonder how I made it that long without seeing it. I spent a large chunk of my life avoiding the Scream franchise as much I could. I somehow caught a glimpse of the first movie when I was five, which led me to have very vivid nightmares that I can still describe to you to this day, about Ghostface every night for God knows how long. As I grew older I grew out of my fear of Ghostface (for the most part) and started to take interest in the horror genre, but still didn’t watch any of the Scream movies because I had seen parts of them before, and thought they were incredibly stupid. Then Scream 4 came out in 2011, and I was like, what the heck! Let’s watch this! I liked Scream 4 a lot more than I was expecting to, but not enough to make myself go back and watch the previous three Scream films. I wouldn’t do that until three years later in 2014.
What finally convinced me to watch Wes Craven’s 1996 thriller? Well, in the fall of 2014, Texas Frightmare, a horror convention that takes place in Dallas each May, announced that Scream star Neve Campbell would be making her first con appearance at their 2015 convention. I was planning on going to the convention so I HAD to watch Scream now, there was no doubt about it.
Having seen bits of the other films, and the 4th one in full, I knew that Courteney Cox, who I loved as Monica on Friends, was in Scream, but I was pleasantly surprised when I started watching Scream and saw who the rest of the cast was. Rose McGowan who played Paige on Charmed,Jamie Kennedy who was on Ghost Whisperer, Matthew Lillard who most people probably know as Scooby Doo’s best friend Shaggy, and most of all the dreamy Skeet Ulrich, who I loved from watching him in Jericho. All of these people, along with star Neve Campbell, and actor David Arquette, do an exceptional job of playing the characters they were cast as.
Scream is a very self aware, movie filled with many meta moments. It seems more realistic than a lot of other slasher movies, because the characters TRY to do what the viewer is usually yelling at them through their screen. The key word is try, because they don’t always succeed. It shows that you think you know what you would do if put in a situation where a guy with a knife is chasing you down, but the reality is that you can’t know until you really are in that situation, and that’s exactly how these characters are. Stating their rules to survive horror movies, and then later breaking them. For instance, the main character, Sidney, states that she doesn’t like horror films because, “They’re all the same. Some stupid killer stalking some big breasted girl who can’t act who is always running up the stairs when she should be running out the front door. It’s insulting.” and moments later finds herself doing this very thing. Perhaps it also seems more realistic due to the fact that killers end up being some of the friends, instead of an immortal killing machine monster that you would stand no chance against.
The majority of the teen characters in Scream are fans of horror themselves, so of course Sidney might suggest that this had something to do with the killers deciding to kill. But don’t be fooled, “Movies don’t create psychos, movies make psychos more creative.” as one of the killers tells her. All of this is very ironic when you learn that after the movie’s release there were multiple cases where real life teens who were fans of Scream committed crimes like that in the movie after watching it.
The other three movies follow suit of the first and include an endless barrage of meta scenes, but none of them came close to being as great as the original. I learned that in order to fully appreciate the sequels, you have to have seen the first movie. Of course that is the case with most sequels, but even more so with Scream. When I saw pieces of the other films and saw them as stupid before I watched Scream it was because I didn’t understand what the franchise was doing, and that they were TRYING to make fun of themselves. Seeing the first film is essential to get the message that the franchise was trying to deliver as a whole, and how the horror genre changed over time.
www.IMDB.com rates Scream 7.2/10 and I rate it a little bit above that, at 7.8.