A psychopathic serial killer is stalking a group of teens just like in the movies!
I never have been a fan of horror movies before when a friend of mine took me to see Scream. Right away I was impressed as I thought this was going to be a Drew Barrymore vehicle film. Then something happened (I wonder what in a horror film?) and it turned into a teenage filled romp with a Friends cast member and some killings mixed in.
Scream fits in the horror genre but it's much more than that. While the fans get their kills and twists, this film also appeals to the rest of the mainstream crowd. It's a really funny movie as it makes fun of the horror film, therefore making fun of itself. But it always has its serious tone as we the audience are always on our tip toes wondering what will happen next. Then out of nowhere it mixes in the humor telling us that everything will be OK. Or OK at least for the characters we get to know.
Throughout the film we're wondering who the killer is. It could be anyone. In the first half I was convinced it was the school principal (great to see Henry Winkler aka - The Fonze, again), then I thought it might be the slow witted deputy. Just this curiosity keeps you into the film for the long haul.
Wes Craven (dir. Nightmare on Elm Street) did a solid job putting this film together and mixing all of its genres without angering the audience. This films must of been a great experience for him as he was pretty much making fun of his own previous films. At the time in 1996, Craven was in a bit of a lull in his career as he just came off directing a complete bomb called Vampire in Brooklyn, starring Eddie Murphy. He needed Scream to be a hit in order for his career to move forward. And a hit it became as it spawned two sequels. (and also spawned another franchise -- the Scary Movie films, four films made as of this writing, which are spoofs of the Scream movies).
When this film came out horror films were out of fashion. And after the second sequel was made 3 years later, horror films were back in the mainstream culture. Now about a dozen horror films a year come out of Hollywood, almost all of them financial successes. What this film did was tone down the genre and really brought in the PG-13 audience. Now many horror films are really a far cry from its predecessors in terms of edge of your seat scariness and blood and gore. Whether that's a good thing or not is up to the opinion of the movie watchers.
Scream is a must see film as it really set the tone for future films. AKA - not to take yourself too seriously. It is after all just a movie.