It's quite amazing how this one movie marked the rebirth of the slasher genre and how it redefined it and set the standards for basically all later genre movies.

Foremost thing "Scream" does extremely well is that it's actually sort of making fun of its own genre and acknowledges all of its genre rules and clich├ęs but yet the movie really is not a parody of the genre. You could even call it an homage to the golden era of the slasher genre, during the beginning of the '80's. But actually the movie is also being still much more than that. It's a really good genre movie on its own, that plays by the rules and does everything absolutely right. No big surprises, since it had genre expert Wes Craven at the helm, even though he in the last years probably had more misses than hits during his career. But he still is someone that is really at home within the genre and understand what's needed to make a great movie. He already did this lots of times successfully in the past, of which the first and original "A Nightmare on Elm Street" is the best and also best known example.

It already gets obvious from the opening sequence on that this is going to be a great genre movie. Also everything that comes after that does not disappointed and "Scream" manages to be a great genre movie throughout, from start to finish.

It constantly build up some good tension and the movie actually does also still surprises a lot. You really never know who will get killed next or how and the movie also is being a whodunit, which also really adds to the mystery and tension of the movie. The movie constantly drops hints throughout the movie and manages to make lots of the characters seem out as potential suspects. It makes the surprises of the movie also really stand out but even when you have already seen this movie a couple of times and know who the killer(s) is, this still remains such a great movie to watch. Out of all the classic genre movies, this is the one that I know by heart, so that also should say something about the quality of it and its re-watchable value.

You also just know that this movie is a classic when the look of its killer has already become an horror icon, in such a short period. Every knows Jason's hockey-mask and Michael Myers his white mask but everybody also knows Ghostface, from the Scream movies. It's the mark of not just a great killer and villain but also that of a great movie. The mask (obviously based on Edvard Munch's painting 'the scream') actually a really popular object and got sold all over the world. And yes, even I still own one.

But also all of the other characters are really good ones and cast extremely well. Normally teenagers in an horror and slasher film in particular are being extremely annoying and perfect looking sexy characters, you just never really feel for. But most characters in this movie are really been given some depth and are being made very distinctive with all of their various personalities. It makes them interesting and someone you can easily relate with and feel for. And like I said, everyone also got casted really well and everyone within this movie seems to suit their role, as if it got written just for them, so this also obviously helps the movie. The actors also really seem to feel this way, since they keep popping up in all of its sequels, while in other genre sequels you often see most big name and semi big name actors drop out after one sequel already. Even Liev Schreiber, who has like a 5 seconds role in this movie.

If you have to say something negative about this movie it would be that it made the slasher genre and also just horror genre in particular extremely popular again, with as a result lots of bad and mediocre. new slashers and remakes of classics got made but till this date still none of them ever in any way comes remotely close to the level of excellence of this movie.

After the huge success of this movie they of course quickly made some cash-in sequels. But this year part 4 of the series gets released, 11 years after the previous entry. It means that they really took their time this time to come up with something good and original again and it actually seems "Scream 4", also directed by Wes Craven again, as all sequels were, will be a good movie, since it's already getting some real positive buzz and reviews.

We'll see how it turns out but for now "Scream" still remains the best slasher since the first and original John Carpenter movie "Halloween".


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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