ScreamDecember 20, 1996
A killer known as "ghost face" begins killing off teenagers, and as the body count begins rising, one girl and her friends find themselves contemplating the "Rules" of horror films as they find themselves living in a real-life one.
Release Year: 1996
Rating: 7.2/10 (121,634 voted)
Critic's Score: 65/100
Stars: Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette
One year after the death of Sidney Prescott's (Campbell) mother, two students turn up gutted. When a serial killer appears, Sidney begins to suspect whether her mother's death and the two new deaths are related. No one is safe, as the killer begins to pick everyone off one by one. Everyone's a suspect in this case.
Kevin Patrick Walls
W. Earl Brown
Now someone is victim and someone is a suspect
Release Date: 20 December 1996
Filming Locations: Bradley Video, Santa Rosa, California, USA
Box Office Details
Opening Weekend: $6,354,586
(22 December 1996)
Did You Know?
Justin Shenkarow loved the screenplay so much that he elected to take a minor behind-the-scenes role. His name appears 25th from the bottom of the credits.
Crew or equipment visible:
When Billy says, "…and if you get it right, you die," Stu bumps into the camera making it shake.
Who is this?
Who are you trying to reach?
What number is this?
Well, what number are you trying to reach?
I don't know.
I think you have the wrong number.
Hate To Admit It, But It's Great
There's more than a few reasons to hate `Scream'; the main reason would be
that the film single-handedly resurrected the teen-slasher genre, a movie
category that had long been beaten to death. Because of the success of
`Scream', witless horror crap like `I Know What You Did Last Summer' and
`Urban Legend' got greenlighted, half the teenage casts of various WB
television shows got summer acting jobs, and some awful scripts that
should've been left dead and buried `Teaching Mrs. Tingle' got to see the
light of day. `Scream' is responsible for a lot of garbage. But the truth
of the matter is, `Scream' is also a phenomenal movie.
The plot of `Scream' is very simple: a masked knife-wielding maniac is busy
stalking the students of High, killing them off one by one. The killer's
inordinately obsessed with one girl, Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), who of
course gets involved in the quest to unmask the killer. The catch (in case
you don't already know it), though, is brilliant. Everyone in the film is
familiar with all the slasher film conventions. They know that you
shouldn't walk in the woods alone at night. They know that having wild sex
is an unwritten invitation to be hacked to pieces. They know not to say
things to each other like `I'm going outside for a cigarette; I'll be right
back.' — such statements are virtual death warrants. One of the best
examples (and best characters) of this is Randy (Jamie Kennedy), the
film-obsessed nut of the film, who actually goes so far as to muse what
`real' actors and actresses should play the other characters in the film,
going so far as to joke about who gets to be Tori Spelling. All the dumb
conventions of slasher films are pulled out of the shadows, exposed for what
they really are . . . and then, some of them get used anyway, because the
characters willingly choose to ignore those conventions. Some cliches are
thrown away, while others are embraced. `Scream' really turned the
horror/slasher film genre on its ear, becoming the first truly suspenseful
and exciting slasher film in many, many years simply because it suddenly had
a million new avenues to explore. The film's self-awareness allowed to move
in brand-new directions . . . and suddenly, scenes that used to be
predictable in other slasher films suddenly become incredibly intense in
Director Wes Craven was perfect for this film — as director of slasher
classics like `Nightmare On Elm Street', he easily sets the visual feels and
style of film to perfect evoke all the slasher films of yore . . . and then,
much like `Scream's' script, chooses to either faithfully follow the tried
and true, or to go off in competely unexpected directions. Either way,
Craven manages to create a lot of absolutely nail-biting, thrilling scenes.
He also doesn't hold back with the gore, which is always a plus in great
slasher films. The acting ranges from barely mediocre to good — Neve
Campbell's okay as Sidney; Courtney Cox is pretty good as tart-tongued
reporter Gail Weathers; Jamie Kennedy rules as Randy the film geek; and
David Arquette is utterly bland and forgettable as Deputy Dewey Riley, the
sad-sack policeman. But casts in slasher films don't particularly matter
anyway; the good ones are all about suspense, terror, and gore. And in
`Scream', Wes Craven provides massive amounts of all three of those
The irony is, `Scream' spawned dozens of imitators, and by spawning
imitators, all the new avenues opened up by `Scream' quickly got old and
boring once more. Still, purely on its own merit, it's an excellent film.
The best slasher film of all time is still John Carpenter's `Halloween',
without question, but `Scream' actually runs a close second. It's well
worth watching. Grade: A-