3 out of 5
Director: Wes Craven
Perhaps Wes Craven hasn’t made anything exactly flawless (sorry, Mr. Craven), but he has certainly had several undeniably influential and effective contributions to the film world; classics for a particular genre – namely, horror. Viewing this film in the context of Craven’s line-of-work, it is a lot of fun. And viewing it as a standalone movie, it’s a lot of fun. Viewing it as a horror / slasher film, it feels oddly manipulative, sort of splitting my opinion on the movie. Scream, for all its twists and turns, is essentially a Who’s the Killer? type horror, that inspired a bamillion copycats. This type of film did exist before, of course, but Scream made use of some notable faces (Barrymore’s Psycho-esque death) and the director’s history in horror to make a smart take on the genre. But, as mentioned, it gets a little wrapped up in itself: amidst the top-ten rock hits and gory deaths, is it a smart horror film or a horror film trying to be smart? I will say – if I was fresh to all of this business, which I first was when seeing Scream – it is an incredible movie. Now, some years later with some genre education under my belt, I don’t quite know how to feel about it. At the end of the day, Scream does feel dated and, honestly, isn’t quite at the level of some other notable Craven classics. It’s an interesting attempt at looking at the genre from the outside, but that was more effective in the guise of Craven’s New Nightmare.