Directed by Wes Craven
Starring Courtney Cox
Rose McGowan Skeet Ulrich
Every now and then a splatter film turns up that revives the entire horror genre, and in 1996, that's exactly what happened when Wes Craven teamed up with new screenwriter Kevin Williamson and genre film factory Dimension Films to deliver this sleeper hit which played in theaters nearly a full year.
While horror films had for the past two decades been targeted mostly at teenage boys, "Scream" was one of the first that realized the "killer app" of this genre was entertaining women. If women show up at a theater, the men will follow.
Women, after all, are the ones who made "Halloween," "Friday the 13th," and "A Nightmare on Elm Street" big hits. "Scream," more than any other slasher film before it, was targeted at women. There's a total lack of female nudity, less gore and the strongest characters are all female. After years of making crap for teenage boys, the folks at the film companies finally got it.
The strategy paid off—big time. "Scream" was the biggest horror hit in more than a decade. Imitations—ranging from "Bride of Chucky" to "Urban Legend"—were released by competing film companies shortly thereafter. "Scream 2" was cranked out and sent to theaters exactly one year after the first film.
"Scream" succeeded, more than any other horror film before it, at capturing the experience of high-school kids. As teens discuss the rules of staying alive in horror films—from not having sex to never, never going off someplace alone—a killer is slaughtering teens and relating it to these same movies.
After the role was turned down by Drew Barrymore (who went on to play the first victim in the film), Neve Campbell landed the part of Sidney, the high school senior whose mother had been slaughtered by the same serial killer years ago. She's fantastic in the role and was swiftly launched to stardom because of it.
Unlike so many other slasher films, "Scream" is a real mystery and its ending really surprises. Needless to say, it was a huge hit, especially among high school students. Not to give away the ending, but in light of the Colombine High School massacre, it's a truly timely finale for a film, that perhaps does more to capture the real nature of today's young people than most of us would like to accept.
It also proved that Craven has only improved as a director. Other horror veterans—such as George Romero, John Carpenter and David Cronenberg—have only been producing crap of late. "Scream," however, was a masterpiece.
Followed by the terrific "Scream 2."
-- Review by Lucius Gore
Posted by k+l on May 5, 2009great movie! Seen them all/ have them all!