Saturday, February 14, 2009

Scream (1996, Wes Craven)

The time span from 1986 to 1996 was (in my opinion) relatively dull for horror. The genre had changed from the low budget, sex filled gorefests of the early 80's to a new breed of hi-tech, fantasy-based, special effect-laden horror. For the most part, horror was pretty much dead at the box office, with countless sequels polluting the big screen with half baked attempts at originality. Then out of nowhere, the creator of one of the most popular horror series of all time, made not only his biggest comeback, but one of the biggest comebacks for the horror genre. The man - Wes Craven. The film - SCREAM.

Scream is the story of a town being terrorized by a killer in a ghost faced halloween costume. High School student Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) finds herself the target of these killings and starts witnessing her friends and classmates being butchered. Could these killings be related to her mother's murder a year before? Who could be behind these killings? Sidney's mysterious boyfriend Billy (Skeet Ulrich)? The man she accused of murdering her mother, Cotton Weary (Liev Schreiber)? Her father who seems to have disappeared?

To say Scream revitalized horror is a gross understatement. Reinvented is a more appropriate term. Scream combined everything that was great about the old slasher-whodunnits of the early 80's (gore, scares, mystery, sex) with the popular (twenty-something) teen actors of the time and an important new ingredient - humor. The film is more than just a self aware spoof of the genre, it became the genre. As with most defining films of any genre, a buttload of copycats appeared almost instantly, very few of which came anywhere close to the originality or creativity of Scream.


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