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"Someone has taken their love of scary movies one step too far. Solving this mystery is going to be murder."
Rated: R/18
US Box Office Revenue: $ 103,046,663
International Box Office Revenue: $ 70,000,000

Director – Wes Craven
Writer: Kevin Williamson

Drew Barrymore – Casey Becker
Neve Campbell – Sidney Prescott
Courtney Cox – Gale Weathers
David Arquette – Dwight ‘Dewey' Riley
Skeet Ulrich – Billy Loomis
Matthew Lillard – Stu Macher
Rose McGowan – Tatum Riley
Jamie Kennedy – Randy Meeks

9 Pies

Reviewed by Limey

Plot Summary

An unknown killer is terrorising the citizens of a small town and only those that know and understand the rules of horror movies have any chance of surviving.


There are certain movies that define either their genre or their generation and very occasionally there is one that does both. It is impossible to know which film that will be or when it will happen but when it does, that film has secured its place in history however audiences and cinema might change over the years. In most cases it is the picture itself that precipitated said changes. Scream is one of those movies.

Unlike the genre defining movies I have previously covered, this one was actually released during my own lifetime. While it is not my generation that it shaped, it is the first film I have been able to witness achieve that status. It was also the last film I ever watched before the turn of the millennium, so it has a personal importance, too.

Despite my young age at the time, the stir caused was clear and it was one of the main films I wanted to see when first allowed to watch horror. The enjoyment was there but my knowledge was not yet up to scratch. The star names on either side of the cameras meant nothing to me. I was oblivious to the state of the genre at that period of time. The horror rules went over my head. It was just another good movie.

Watching it over ten years on, it is clearly much more than just another good movie. It fully deserves its status as one of the most important horror films ever made. Perhaps one of its strengths is that it states its case right out of the gate. It is my opinion that the opening sequence is very possibly the greatest introduction scene in the entire genre. Scream is going to be talked about for years to come.


Billy: Life is like a movie. Only you can’t pick your genre.

Randy: If you were the only suspect in a senseless bloodbath – would you be standing in the horror section?

Gale: Jesus, the camera, hurry!
Kenny: My name isn’t Jesus.


Originality: 1 Pie

It may play a lot upon what had come before but that is what makes it original. No horror movie before it had ever looked at the genre and drawn attention to its shortcomings and tropes that audiences had recognised for years.

On top of that, a murder mystery is unusual for a slasher film, the twist at the end was actually fresh for the time, and Ghostface stands out amongst his monster peers.


Spook Factor: ¾ Pie

The spoof aspects of the script perhaps at times undermine the spook factor but for the most part the stalk and kill scenes are played deadly seriously. Even now it can send shivers up your spine and truly make you feel something when a character dies.


Antagonist: 1 Pie

Ghostface is among the top shelf of slasher villains. He is intelligent, sounds creepy as hell, has an encyclopaedic knowledge of horror and frankly revels in what he is doing. The sheer energy with which he pursues a victim is terrifying. Again, the twist at the end just adds another layer to a genuinely impressive and frightening antagonist.


Story: ¾ Pie

The story is surprisingly layered for a slasher flick. It does descend a little bit into witty-pop-culture-aware teens being chased and killed, but there is a back-story and a wide range of characters whose relationships are defined by said back-story. It all evolves as events unfold and it plays nicely into the climax.


Acting: 1 Pie

What is there to fault? Everyone inhabits their characters and you completely buy into and support them, regardless of how much screen time they have. Just possibly there are a few moments that wouldn’t work elsewhere but they fit perfectly within the world created by the writing, direction and cast of Scream.


Directing: 1 Pie

Wes Craven is a hugely iconic and respected horror director whose name immediately adds weight to any upcoming release but there is no denying that he can be slightly hit and miss at times. Fortunately, when he made Scream he was on top form. A strong script and his keen eye led to the creation of iconic scenes worthy of his status.


Soundtrack: ¾ Pie

There is nothing fundamentally wrong with it and in fact it all works brilliantly when you are actually watching the film. However, a genuinely great score should stay with you long after the viewing and with this one I have to really work to recall any of it.


Special Effects: ¾ Pie

Much like the score in that there is nothing actually wrong with the special effects – the blood and gore work fine – but there is nothing outstanding on display.


Gore: 1 Pie

It may mean that the special effects score suffers slightly but the level of violence and gore is pitched just right. It is realistic and thus a lot more effective and upsetting in the context of this particular script than something more OTT would have been.


Replay, Rewatch, Rewind: 1 Pie

Oh, definitely. I cannot think of a single reason why you wouldn't want to watch it more than once. Every aspect of the production is strong enough there are always new things to see. What's more, it works as a good standalone film, it is a worthy entry in any horror marathon, and it is the first entry in a strong franchise if you are in the mood for a Scream marathon. It just works.



The acting, writing and direction all helped revitalise the horror genre for a whole new millennium.


For me it lacks a strong signature score of the like that some of the other great horror films enjoy.


Final Word

When a film is this successful, there is the risk of a backlash from fans claiming it is overrated and was never really as good as all that. However, you cannot overestimate the importance of Scream. It breathed new life into an entire genre, our favourite genre at that, something for which we should all be thankful.

As David Arquette said during Scream: The Inside Story, it was a case of catching lightning in a bottle when they made this one. As I said at the start of this review, you never know when that is going to happen, so just enjoy it when it does.

Do you like scary movies?

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