Main      Site Guide    
At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Scream (1996)



Reviews and Comments

In general, I have a passionate dislike for what has come to be known as the "slasher flick." It's one of the few genres (maybe the only one?) that I try to avoid altogether. It's not that I don't concede there is the occasional good slasher movie -- I just don't generally enjoy them. However, Scream proved to be remarkably satisfying, even to me. In spite of how unintentionally jokey and suspenseless most slasher flicks have become, Scream stirs up a high level of genuine suspense and yet, at the same time, toys with slasher cliches. The gimmick is that the characters in Scream have all seen horror movies and know all the rules. You don't say, "I'll be right back," because you won't. You don't investigate strange noises when you're all alone. The obvious choice for the identity of the killer is just a red herring.

The characters know all this, and the movie has a lot of fun by mirroring the "real" world with the world of slasher movies in general. "But this is not a movie," one character says. Another character contradicts her. "It's all one big movie," he responds. And of course, it is.

The writing is smart. I enjoyed the juxtaposition of genuine suspense and self-mocking comic relief. Afterward, Scream proved to be good food for thought -- I found myself reflecting on the events in the movie, considering them, and analyzing the complex artistry that pulled so many diverse elements together into a satisfying whole. I prefer my movies to last longer than their running times. If I never think about a movie again after the final credit rolls, it's a usual symptom of an insubstantial movie. Scream, a pleasantly surprising exception for its genre, wasn't like that at all.

Series Entries