Scream's release upon the cinematic world heralded something of a comeback of the horror genre, which had for many years been regarded as stale and dead. Quite how Wes Craven's teen slasher managed to do this is - on the surface - somewhat surprising. After all, Scream includes all the classic ingredients that actually made the horror scene so tepid, but it executes everything with a fizz and energy that's difficult not to enjoy. Not only that, but all the way along the movie doesn't take itself too seriously (though the opening sequence is hardly comedic), and makes frequent in-jokes about the genre in general. It's this self-awareness that went some way to making Scream a success, and introduced many people to the first mainstream horror movie to hit the cinema for years.
The movie opens with typically uneasy scene. A single woman, in a house, alone. A man calls. With a creepy voice. He wants to play a game...
Within minutes Craven racks the tension effortlessly, and the sequence is now a classic in its own right. Sadly, the rest of the movie never quite matches the promise of the opening, but things whip along at a fair pace as we're introduced to the lead (played by Neve Campbell), her friends/murder suspects (including David Arquette, Courteney Cox, Drew Barrymore, and Skeet Ulrich) and the knife wielding, mask wearing killer who steadily kills off the cast one by one.
Scream is a bloody mix of tension, jumps, gore and laughs, which makes frequent nods to the horror genre itself with many knowing references. It's not the scariest movie around, neither is it the goriest, but it is well directed and effective in the delivery of chills, and if you've not seen this in a few years then it's well worth a revisit.
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