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Overall Rating
3.89

Awesome51.43%
Worth A Look: 24%
Average: 3.43%
Pretty Bad: 4%
Total Crap: 17.14%

3 reviews, 157 user ratings


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Scream (1996)
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by Rob Gonsalves

"The concept was really cool the first time."
4 stars

"This isn't a movie," says heroine Sidney (Neve Campbell) midway through 'Scream.' "Of course it is," says her boyfriend (Skeet Ulrich). "Everything is one big movie." An exchange like that could destroy a lesser movie. But the people in 'Scream' know they're in a horror movie -- in fact, they've seen all the movies that 'Scream' copies, dissects, and parodies. They know the "rules" (don't have sex, don't go off alone), but they goof on the rules and promptly get killed for it.

I'm surprised it took this long for a postmodern slasher movie to be made (if you don't count outright parodies like Student Bodies). Slasher movies, of course, were big in the early '80s; we saw a hundred rip-offs of Friday the 13th, which in turn ripped off the heavyweight champ, Halloween. After a while, the slasher craze petered out. Then, in 1984, came the movie that gave horror a new face -- A Nightmare on Elm Street, directed by Wes Craven, who has now made Scream.

Is Scream a revolutionary horror breakthrough on the level of Nightmare? I don't think so. But it is witty, tightly structured, and often effective as a straight horror film. The script, by Kevin Williamson, turns our I've-seen-it-all jadedness against us. The teens in Scream laugh at horror videos, yelling at the screen ("Turn around! Don't drop the knife!"). Then they go off and do the same stupid things they've been laughing at. This conceit is nasty and plausible -- we're saying the same things while we're watching the movie.

Scream faithfully reproduces every stock slasher cliché. There's the Traumatic Anniversary: Sidney's mom was raped and murdered a year ago. There's the Creepy Crank Caller. There's the "Boo! It's Not the Killer!" seat-jumper (I lost count of how often Craven uses this). There are enough red herrings for five movies, including a touchy-feely, scissors-wielding principal (Henry Winkler!), a dorky police deputy (David Arquette), and a virginal horror-movie expert (Jamie Kennedy).

The killer, who goes around in a dime-store mask (like Halloween's Michael Myers), taunts Sidney while her friends die around her. She's being saved for last, like Jamie Lee Curtis. One nice twist is that, unlike Curtis in Halloween, Sidney loses her virginity -- and still survives. The script subverts and critiques the Victorian morality of these movies, which (like most horror stories) equate sex with violent death.

Neve Campbell, one of the appealing misfit witches in last spring's surprise hit The Craft, carries her first starring role gracefully. She makes Sidney brave and smart but also convincingly haunted. It's a performance to match Heather Langenkamp's in A Nightmare on Elm Street. Craven's touch with the other actors is less adept -- he lets Matthew Lillard (Serial Mom), as a wacky teen geek, overact all over the place. And Craven's dialogue scenes, as always, are as flat as Wyoming.

I'm a horror buff, so I enjoyed 'Scream,' and I wish it well; the genre needs a hit. Yet I suspect it's a movie for fans only. [2007 NOTE: Boy, was I wrong about this.] If the horror genre is to recapture the public imagination, it needs more than an in-joke movie. It needs new blood -- it needs a new face. Where is the next Wes Craven?

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=310&reviewer=416
originally posted: 01/14/07 12:23:01
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Trilogy Starters: For more in the Trilogy Starters series, click here.

User Comments

2/21/17 morris campbell solid slasher flick with scares and plot twists 4 stars
4/21/14 jad khoury scream and psycho(alongside with halloween) are the parents of all slasher movies 5 stars
2/27/13 David Hollingsworth Great kills, mixed with great humor. 5 stars
12/11/12 Lisa I've seen it all before, and it's been done better in the 80s. 1 stars
3/08/12 jcar a great scary movie with plenty scares and laughs. 4 stars
10/19/11 Magic A movie that mocks bad slasher movies, while emulating them. Thus, a bad slasher movie. 3 stars
7/11/11 art Scream is overrated!,just like halloween! 1 stars
5/02/11 art I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER was the best 90's HORROR FILM! 1 stars
6/21/10 Sarah I've never seen a film as derivative as this! 1 stars
5/09/10 art I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER,made you forget SCREAM! 3 stars
4/19/10 grantyman wes craven turns the sub genre 'slasher' on its head everytime! always with sucess loved it 5 stars
10/29/09 art SCREAM PUT THE SLASHER FILM back on the map,INTRODUCING a NEW SLASHER GHOST-FACE! 5 stars
10/14/09 Joise Cotton is a goddess A fun, self-mocking, semi-spoof! 4 stars
5/28/09 art NEVE IS ONE BAD-ASS SURVIVOR!,AN INGENIUS DARK COMEDY! 4 stars
11/18/08 PAUL SHORTT PREDICTABLE AND GORY 1 stars
9/03/08 Shaun Wallner Great Horror film!! 5 stars
11/29/07 art I LOVED SCREAM the perfect mixture of a slasher movie and a comedy 5 stars
10/24/07 Ivana Mann About as original as the wheel.Not so much tongue in cheek as thumb in butt.Overrated! 1 stars
7/10/07 Adam Great, Clever and un-generic horror that breaks the rules. 5 stars
2/04/07 .W i l t e d.Rose__x Fantastic, Awesome :D 5 stars
1/15/07 MP Bartley Efficient slasher, but no better than the films it feels so snidely superior to. 4 stars
4/21/06 Becky It almost makes fun of itself, so its redeeming. I really liked this, but the sequels suck 4 stars
4/19/06 fahim amazing way they made it funny and scary, it's jsut that good 5 stars
2/24/06 Anthony Feor Pehapes one of the best Slashers in the world 5 stars
12/22/05 cody a cool slick teenage modern slasher with laughs ,scares ,cool characters, and killer ending 4 stars
10/09/05 rob Clever, funny, well-acted, great script, plot, and some freakiness. Wonderful. 5 stars
10/05/05 Jesse Taylor Redefined the horror genre 4 stars
9/27/05 Clubber Lang Entertaining, clever, but dull patches in the middle. 4 stars
8/26/05 Michael No Value 1 stars
8/22/05 Eden Ironic parady that manages to be scary and funny at the same time 5 stars
7/19/05 Brandy Harrington If it's titled SCREAM, why was I laughing? 2 stars
5/26/05 tony Very good beginning to a wannabe trilogy. Probably the only good one 5 stars
5/04/05 eddiefan #1 a load of crappy kakapoopoo shitshitfuckfuckassballs 1 stars
4/13/05 Indrid Cold Not as good as you would guess based on its enormous influence, but yes, very entertaining. 4 stars
12/09/04 Kristina Williams the only clever horror flick to come out lately 5 stars
11/19/04 screb nothing to get excited about 3 stars
10/15/04 Dave This is the moie that Rex Reed calls "horse shit" 1 stars
6/05/04 Cooper Worst slasher film ever! Wes (sellout) craven only cares about ticket sales! 1 stars
5/25/04 American Slasher Goddess One of the best horror movies of the 90's. 5 stars
5/16/04 Daveman Believe the hype! This is a slasher classic, arguabley surpassing even Halloween. 5 stars
5/09/04 Ray Its screaming good!!! 5 stars
2/18/04 john highly original and inventive slasher film - there IS (surprise!) still life in this genre 5 stars
1/31/04 Littlepurch Fantastic. It's not really a horror film, just a very, very, er, very gory mystery. Wicked. 5 stars
1/27/04 Chloe Brody Brought back a whole new beginning for horror movies 5 stars
1/17/04 Josh Standlee Surprise ending!!!!! 5 stars
1/03/04 J Not Scary! ** 3 stars
12/07/03 Adriana Cugno It was great i loved watching it over and over again 5 stars
11/25/03 Thiago One of the best horror movies ever! A classic. 5 stars
11/25/03 homer J. Simpson this movie regenerized the horroh movie buisness 4 stars
11/04/03 American Slasher Goddess The best horror movie of the 90's. 5 stars
9/20/03 PLEASE MAKE A S C R E A M 4 I LOVE SCREAM 1,2,3 THEY ARE SUCH FANTASTIC MOVIES. I HAVE THE SCREAM TRILOGY ON DVD. 5 stars
8/18/03 MEEE great 5 stars
7/22/03 Double G *** 1 stars
7/06/03 Stefan Halka Remember this being advertised as hip, clever and fresh. Found none of these when I saw it. 3 stars
6/27/03 Jimmy Yearwood How did Wes go from Last House and Hills Have Eyes to this waste of film? 1 stars
5/31/03 mee AWESOME 5 stars
4/25/03 call me Hollywood aaaah, an intelligent script- i will rape it of all merits and whore it out in sequels haha 4 stars
4/12/03 me great 5 stars
3/01/03 ME A GREAT FILM 5 stars
12/29/02 HorrorFreak The BEST horror movie i've seen so far and has 2 great sequals! 5 stars
12/07/02 BAM a great film 5 stars
11/24/02 Daniel One of the scariest openings (Drew Barrymore) I've even seen. 4 stars
10/24/02 Charles Tatum No classic 4 stars
9/26/02 snowconehead Let's all just pretend this is the only one they made................sequels? what sequels? 5 stars
9/23/02 Kyle Precisely what I felt like doing. 1 stars
9/09/02 Movie guy A GRREAT 5 stars
8/17/02 Scott Original and kept you guessing till the very end. 5 stars
8/13/02 blakers great 5 stars
3/28/02 NeuroManson Move your cinematic tastes out of the uberplex maxitheater, and you may show some potential 1 stars
3/15/02 NWO4LIFE Good, but not the sceond coming, as some people claim it is. 4 stars
2/28/02 Chowie funny horror movie-rare, normally horror movies are only laughable because they suck....... 5 stars
1/19/02 rb this movie is really good with the best murders 5 stars
1/12/02 hd it was such a good movie 5 stars
1/03/02 Scream-Mania THE BEST MOVIE EVER MADE! 5 stars
12/13/01 ben wasden Smart, stylishly gory, and scary, with an intro that will knock your socks off. 5 stars
12/01/01 Scottish Kilt too crap and comical to be scary, they dont make them like they use too. 2 stars
10/29/01 Gary Equally good as comedy as it is slasher. Not scary, but tense, with perfect performances. 5 stars
10/16/01 peter it's ok 4 stars
10/07/01 jawsboy good. but overated, with an average ending 4 stars
10/04/01 Phoenix Sharply written and funny. Scream is one of the best horror films of the 90s. 5 stars
9/30/01 jane so original and about time too! 5 stars
8/20/01 Evan S A career kick-starter for screenwriter Kevin Williamson. Deservedly so. 5 stars
8/07/01 Mr. Hat (formerly Joe Zappa) Tongue-in-cheek horror is okay in my book if this is how it is. 4 stars
8/06/01 E-Funk This revived horror...shit, I'm happy! 5 stars
7/30/01 Henry Ginsberg Hilariously frightning . 5 stars
7/28/01 Steve A landmark horror/suspense/slasher film. A teen movie that's not dumb. 5 stars
7/10/01 JT Brilliant 5 stars
6/26/01 Gemma Lee The most self-aware, intelligent horror flick to date! 5 stars
6/20/01 King Jackass Bad acting, but sorta scary. 4 stars
6/15/01 zombie mtvish teenie bopper shit 1 stars
5/26/01 Connoisseur it's a stupid movie folks... just watch an old Best Picture winner masterpiece 2 stars
5/04/01 roby lafon another scream more gore 5 stars
4/14/01 LiL This is great! Great cast, great killer, great mask, great jokes. Need I say more? 5 stars
4/01/01 Jesse L Just a look, but do NOT see the sequel. Don't encourage these slasher movies please! 4 stars
2/02/01 W42 The movie that revived the genre, then turned it into a trendy pile of dog shit. 4 stars
1/31/01 Big Isil OK slasher film, with a new take on things, but no need for a trilogy 2 stars
1/14/01 Stevo Matthew Lillard, Jamie Kennedy, and David Arquette - the bad boys. These guys fucking rule 5 stars
11/29/00 Cristopher Revilla good horror flick, just watch this one of the genre, the rest suck 5 stars
10/29/00 Mitja Podgajski one of the best horror movie ever made, but it has few faults 4 stars
10/20/00 Smithington BEST SLASHER FLICK EVER-one of the best screenplays ever written & a grade A cast! 5 stars
10/16/00 TIM POOR CAST!!!! POOR MOVIE... NEVE SUX!!!! 1 stars
9/10/00 MIKE CRAPPY PLOT... NEVE IS BUTTFUCKING ULGY! i WOULD RATHER KISS A WOMAN THEN SEE THIS AGAIN! 1 stars
8/16/00 Watcher Great cast and funny script. Not like the sequels. 5 stars
7/23/00 TIGGER Great! Definitely better than the 2nd, almost as good as the 3rd! 4 stars
6/26/00 Michael Eternity Best horror movie ever; best cast, best writing, best laughs, everything 5 stars
6/16/00 XXX I loved it! Neve Campbell is brilliant. 5 stars
6/03/00 Jommy Jomes Pass! 1 stars
6/01/00 TJ St John I've seen scarier films on teeth then this!! 1 stars
5/30/00 danilo the beginning was brilliant - the rest... so-so 4 stars
5/15/00 Bender Slightly overlong, but still entertaining. 4 stars
5/05/00 Hi there What's YOUR favorite scary movie? ;-) 5 stars
5/04/00 Hi there Better than the sequels that followed. 5 stars
5/01/00 yo momma I've shat better movies! 1 stars
4/30/00 Negative Norm seriously bad shit! 1 stars
4/29/00 Ehh... shit!!!!!!!!!!! 1 stars
4/26/00 XXX Not scary, but still fun! 5 stars
4/24/00 Ryan aweful... neve is repulsive 1 stars
4/22/00 TOM absolute shite!Don't watch it-it'll make your iq go down-WAY down! 1 stars
4/21/00 Hmm... I think it's shit 1 stars
4/17/00 BB-15 It's okay, Hmm..., we all know how much you truly love Scream. :-) 5 stars
3/29/00 malcolm funnier than and scary as all the movies that scared the shit out of me as a kid 5 stars
3/27/00 Hmm... Unlike previously stated(probably by some college kid)this is NOT the best movie ever! 3 stars
3/15/00 Chloe Sesta Jacobs AWESOME! One of the best horror films ever made. 5 stars
2/08/00 TJ St John GO WATCH A REAL HORROR MOVIE!!! 1 stars
2/06/00 Kyle Broflovski Scream is good. Scream is very, very good. 5 stars
1/18/00 Jedi15 One of the best horror movies I have seen. Also, check out SCREAM 2. 5 stars
12/03/99 perpetual loser "let's take every great cheesy scary movie in creation, and rehash them!!!" ass. 1 stars
11/18/99 Gary Durso Best horror flick of the 90's..... 5 stars
11/04/99 Mickey "Father Death" MacJohnstmyster Excellent , a cool cast , a great storyline , Wes Craven . Don't fear the reaper. 5 stars
10/26/99 Karahde Khan Is THIS horror? The only scary thing about it is that it has earned that much money. 2 stars
10/14/99 Lame-Oh Watch this one, but hide Scream 2 5 stars
5/25/99 Ah Dooey Better than the 2nd one. Original, creative and f**kin' great! 5 stars
3/19/99 jamie skeet is so hot 5 stars
3/18/99 AMANDA This is my FAVORITE movie of all time! I mean, just look at Skeet Ulrich! 5 stars
3/11/99 Whitney Kick Ass!..and Matt Lillard is HOTTER than HELL! 5 stars
3/07/99 KK Dusenbury Sort of gives me ideals.. but this movie is 5 stars
3/07/99 CYaniDERuSH as fuckin lame as those who like it.(pretty sad incase u didn't know) 1 stars
3/02/99 Rachel Awesome flick... just too bad it spawned I Know What You Did Last Summer. 5 stars
2/20/99 Piz good first few minutes, but then it was just trash...wait, just like every other scary flic 2 stars
1/27/99 Bishop Johnson Great film, good ending, awareness of characters makes this film! 5 stars
1/10/99 Dasha Wicked fun 5 stars
11/17/98 Jeff C. Very enjoyable, and I love Neve, so 4 stars
11/10/98 Hugh Jass Worst movie ever. God, when will you learn? 1 stars
10/27/98 cyanide rush one of the worst fuckin horror films ever made. Save your money, get evil dead2 1 stars
10/19/98 Kwyjibo A great original film. Pity they wouldn't let it stay at that. 5 stars
10/13/98 jym skeet ulrich---bonk--it's too teen magazine 2 stars
10/12/98 katherine An awesome horrror!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
9/26/98 Pat Flanagan Is responsible for the rebirth of the horror genre. 5 stars
9/17/98 Nix & Shift THE BEST HORROR MOVIE EVER. Stephen King eat ya heart out !! 5 stars
8/29/98 Mister Whoopee The worst thing about this is it gave Kevin Williamson carte blanche to make imitation shit 4 stars
8/25/98 The Capital City Goofball Wouldn't you like to see Neve from an aerial view? You know what I mean... 4 stars
8/23/98 Superfly It gave a genre a rebirth... only to make shit like Halloween: H20 again. 5 stars
8/21/98 Mike F I liked a lot. 5 stars
8/20/98 The Man With The Helmet Not a horror fan, but this was pretty damn good. And funny. And Neve looks good. 5 stars
8/17/98 Johny Pretty good, but Skeet Ulrich sucks 4 stars
8/17/98 J-Guy (The MFC) pretty good. not a fan of horror. 4 stars
8/16/98 {{{OZ}}} Great teen scream pretty-face butchering. They killed Drew early which doesn't suck. 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  20-Dec-1996 (R)
  DVD: 03-Dec-1997

UK
  02-May-1997 (18)

Australia
  13-Feb-1997 (MA)




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