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Scream (1996)

I have always considered myself a casual Scream fan. I have seen all of them, however, I have returned to this original more times than I care to count. Coming out at a crucial time when the horror genre was beginning to feel dead and lifeless, this Wes Craven masterpiece not only saved the horror genre, it reinvented it - becoming one of the most self-aware and influential horror movies of a generation. Taking the bold decision to kill off Drew Barrymore's character within minutes of the films opening is just a small example of how this film made the decision to be something unexpected. Her death is such an iconic and genuinely terrifying kill and one that still holds a shock factor today. Having such an incredible A-list actor killed within minutes of the film starting was such a clever unexpected turn of events, one that brought such a huge sense of anything being possible going forward and the feeling that no one is safe. The director and screenplay combination from 90's horror slasher legend Kevin Williamson and Wes Craven is done to perfection. Filled with very witty and darkly humorous moments whilst embracing its cliché slasher troupes, yet never detracting from the true roots of its horror narrative. Cleverly sprinkling in red herrings (that as most of you know aren't actually red herrings) such as the subtle foreshadowing of Billy by playing Blue Oyster Cults - 'Don't Fear The Reaper' during his first introduction and pretty much everything else that points to Billy along the way is really clever. It is done in such a way that it convinces you as an audience you were right to second guess Billy once he is taken out by Ghostface, only to be completely satisfied and by his fake-out death reveal in the closing act. Even though this film first came out 25 years ago, I still find myself noticing cameos and nods to other films of the genre. Such as the scene in which Wes Craven appears as the janitor dressed identically to Freddie Krugger from Wes' own A Nightmare On Elm Street, Linda Blair from The Exorcist makes a small cameo as a news reporter and Tatum's number 10 top, a reference to the same worn by Johnny Depp in A Nightmare Elm Street, just to name a few. On top of that, there are countless shot for shot scenes that replicate multiple horror classics. There is no doubt that this film is made for fans of the genre. Perfectly cast with some of the best 90's A-list celebrities (something slasher films don't always have the luxury of getting) with Neve Campbell making her mark as my all time favorite horror final girl, along with a great supporting cast in Courtney Cox, David Arquette, Skeet Ulrich, Matthew Lillard and Rose McGowan - I know she she has her fans but if I'm being truthful I found her to be the weakest link. It isn't just the cast, but everything about this film is so 90's. From the fashion, the hair style and the soundtrack. This is by no means a negative, I grew up in this era and the slasher movies from that time period where the reason I became such a huge fan of the genre. I owe everything to films such as Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Urban Legend and Halloween H20 to name a few. Ghostface, as a killer, is one that has certainly earnt its place amongst some of the greats in the slasher Hall of Fame. The fact that this isn't one particular person makes ghostface all the more terrifying. It could be a friend, family or a complete stranger and that sense of mistrust in the people closest only enhances the fear aspect of the character. This is a killer that not only wants to kill, he wants to taunt and play with his victim first, doing so by calling prior to his attacks. He is a character that is primarily mute in person, yet voiced iconically over the phone by Roger L. Jackson, regardless of who is behind the mask. For me this is Wes Craven's masterpiece and a film that will live on as one of the greatest slasher films ever put to screen. One that I have watched countless times and will watch countless more. If you are a horror fan and you are yet to see this film, you owe it to yourself to seek it out immediately. This is one of the rare cases where a slasher film from the 90's still holds up just as well today as it did upon its initial release.


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