a critiQal film review Scream (1996)

  • DVD
  • Blu-Ray

Plot: The sleepy little town of Woodsboro just woke up screaming. There's a killer in their midst who's seen a few too many scary movies. Suddenly, nobody is safe, as the psychopath stalks victims, taunts them with trivia questions, then rips them to bloody shreds. The only hope to stay one step ahead of this crazed slasher? Know your movie trivia.

402 words (Est. Reading Time 2m 0s)
  • ...a now-classic horror spoof that manages to laugh at itself without detracting from the building tension.

Another flash from the past presented itself while I was perusing what to watch via NetFlix®Scream, the Wes Craven / Kevin Williamson team-up that’s still going to this day (Scream 4 (2011) is on it’s way). So, would another visit to the first film be as enjoyable as it was a decade ago? Or has the film lost it’s appeal?

It’s a testament to the appeal of Scream that back when it was released, David Arquette and Courteney Cox were the biggest stars in the cast (aside from Drew Barrymore and Henry Winkler, who both appear briefly). Since then, nearly all of the cast has become a lot more familiar, including Matthew Lillard (Scooby-Doo (2002)), Skeet Ulrich (who recently showed up in Armored (2009)), Rose McGowan (“Charmed” (TV)) and Jamie Kennedy (“The Jamie Kennedy Experiment” (TV)).

Unsurprisingly, then, they do a great job in their roles in Scream. Each of them was able to step up their acting a notch and give memorable performances – noticeably Jamie Kennedy, whose movie-knowledge guru become an instant hit, and Neve Campbell, who was already firmly cementing herself among the memorable scream queens. It’s easy to see why the film has spawned 2 sequels (and counting). With this cast keeping the viewer invested in the story, viewers are dying for another installment.

While comedy/horror combos tend to usually trend toward the ridiculous, Scream manages to balance carefully between comedy and horror without going too far in either direction. A spoof of the horror film genre it’s part of, Scream manages to tell the viewer exactly what’s going to happen, get the viewer to laugh at the absurdity of the notion – and then do exactly what it said…AND MAKE IT SCARY. That’s just downright impressive.

The humor never overrides the horror, either. While most horror spoofs (Scary Movie, a horror spoof inspired by horror spoof Scream – who thought that would be a good idea?) tend to make stupid comedy the main focal point of the film, Scream manages to make the viewer laugh without detracting from the horror parts of the film.

A horror spoof that manages to actually be scary, Scream is just plain fun to watch, thanks to a solid cast, good directing and a right-on script. If you haven’t seen this in awhile, go check it out again. You’ll find it just as enjoyable as the first time you saw it.

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