By the 90’s the slasher genre was beginning to die. Its prime was in the 80’s with such films as Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th and Halloween. After this the genre began to be exploited, clichés were shamelessly overdone and the greats from the 80’s were exploited with seemingly endless sequels being pumped out. One director noticed this and decided that something ought to be done about it. This director was the legendary Wes Craven, creator of the original Nightmare on Elm Street. Craven saw the clichés and went about filming a movie that would expose and destroy them. This film was Scream.
The premise is simple. A killer dressed in a Halloween costume based on Edvard Munch’s painting of the same name, is bumping off the population of a small town in America using the rules of scary movies to dictate his killings. At the heart of the film is a group of friends, with the main character being Sydney Prescott played by Nerve Campbell whose mother was raped and murdered one year ago. The film follows the killings and leads to a great finale.
This film is great and the reason for this can be found within its premise. The premise is just genius, it’s difficult to think why it hasn’t been done before. There are so many slasher films out there that the premise seems so natural. I do have a criticism regarding it though and that is that the whole idea of asking questions based on horror movies is only used with the first kill which must be credited for bringing to light the fact that it was Pamela Vorhees who was the killer in Friday the 13th and not Jason who didn’t appear until the end of the movie, not the sequel as the film says. The acting in this is very good, Drew Barrymore’s little breakdown at the beginning really does her justice and shows her great skill. Little bit of trivia Barrymore told Craven a story about a child torturing his dog with matches which made her cry. Craven, being a total bastard, whispered “the boy has the matches” to Barrymore when they were filming that scene. I love the humour and references in this, they both seem to go together and mix often and well. My favorite scene has to be when the two killers are stabbing one another to cover their tracks. This is a great film but there are problems. Firstly the premise isn’t played with enough regarding the killings. The killers should have asked more questions. Secondly…I wanted more death. I honestly wanted more than seven people dead. I love my bloodshed and this was not enough to quench my thirst. Other than those two issues, I found Scream to be exciting, funny and at times genuinely scary. The ending scenes are great.
A great film with scary moments and a genius premise, that sadly wasn’t used to is full extent: