Top 365 Films – #294 – Scream (1996)

Top 365 Films - ScreamDIRECTED BY: Wes Craven

STARRING: Drew Barrymore, Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette, Skeet Ulrich, Rose McGowan, Matthew Lillard, Jamie Kennedy and Roger Jackson

BUDGET: $15m

EARNED (Worldwide): $173m




A masked killer begins killing teenagers in the small town of Woodsboro. One young girl and her friends realise that as the number of deaths go up, to survive they must follow the rules of horror movies.


It’s been one year since the death of Sidney Prescott’s mother had been murdered. Now though, Sidney has to deal with a masked serial killer on the loose in the small town of Woodsboro as two student lovers are found murdered. Everyone becomes a suspect as Sidney starts to believe that the murders are related to her mother’s murder and begins to investigate them as well as a cop and a selfish and ambitious news reporter.


Scream was one of the first (and only) slasher/horror films growing up that I really enjoyed growing up and because of how successful Scream became, we had to deal with a lot of teen slasher films that have preceded it (I Know What You Did Last Summer and Urban Legend as examples) but none of them have reached the popularity and critical acclaim that Scream did. What probably helps in Scream’s favour is how incredibly self-aware it is, with everyone familiar to the conventions of a horror film, right down to the rules of surviving a horror film and the knowledge of accepting that horror films such as Halloween etc. exist, so once they know that the killer is taking out teenagers one by one, they even begin to have a discussion on what actor should play them. One thing that really stood out to me was how very little locations were used in the film overall. I mean the final act alone (you could argue where that begins) takes place in one location (the party scene) for almost half the films run. Not only does it thrive on being self-aware, what makes it excel is the execution of cranking up the tension and suspense in particular scenes, which Wes Craven handles perfectly here. The cast have a blast here on screen, particularly that of Jamie Kennedy playing the film-obsessed geek Randy being the highlight for me, with solid performances from Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and Skeet Ulrich.


FAVOURITE SCENE: Would have to be the opening scene that still is the most remembered from the Scream franchise almost instantly when this question comes up to this day.

FAVOURITE QUOTE: ‘You hear that Stu? I think she wants a motive. Well I don’t really believe in motives Sid, I mean did Norman Bates have a motive? Did we ever find out why Hannibal Lector liked to eat people? DON’T THINK SO. See it’s a lot scarier when there’s no motive.’ – Billy 

DID YOU KNOW?: All the killer’s phone calls were really done by Roger Jackson on set with a cell phone. At one point, the crew were contacted by the police demanding to know who they were because they thought there was a real killer making the phone calls.

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