johnlink ranks SCREAM (1996)

Just heard that a fourth installment of the Scream series is being put together. My initial reaction was that it was a bad idea. I was slightly encouraged to learn that Kevin Williamson is again penning the script, and that Wes Craven will direct. My recollection of the series was that the first one was seriously good, and the second was a serviceable, but not spectacular, sequel. The third was bland and useless. I decided to revisit them to see how I felt now that the third one is almost ten years old. So, here is the first of those reviews.

After watching the first SCREAM, I am actually more encouraged about the prospects of a fourth one. Williamson and Craven always said it was three and done. A fourth one, I hope, is not purely for monetary purposes. A lot has happened in the horror genre since SCREAM. We went through the Japanese remake cycle, as well as the torture-porn movement.  Perhaps Williamson and Craven have something to say. Their first collaboration was certainly a solid reflection of the previous couple decades of horror flicks.

SCREAM tells the tale of a ghost-masked killer systematically murdering a town’s inhabitants. He seems to be focusing on one girl in particular (Neve Campbell).

I watched SCREAM (1996) on 1.21.09. This was probably the 15th time I’ve seen SCREAM. However, I haven’t seen it in probably five or six years.

NOTE: THIS RANKING UTILIZES THIS SITE’S ORIGINAL SYSTEMIC ARTICLE WRITING METHOD. THE METHOD BY WHICH THE RANKINGS WERE ARRIVED AT, HOWEVER, REMAINS THE SAME.

FILM

Tough score to give. There are glaring editing/timeline flaws (like at the party) and their are several characters who seem to lack proper motivation at key moments (what’s with the corn syrup? what’s the point). However, the purpose of the film was to comment on the slasher genre. SCREAM is rare in that it manages to both parody and honor its source material at the same time. And, on its own, it is one of the best of that style of movie making. The way music is played with (more on that later) is superb. The questions raised on how a killer could possibly be everywhere at once are answered in the smartly realized climax. The problems keep this from getting an exceptional score here, but it certainly earns what it gets. SCORE: 7

MOVIE

There is a reason I’ve seen this so many times. Kevin Williamson gets his audience, and Wes Craven manages to spin a fun story. The self-referential nature of it maintains relevant thirteen years after its release. This is probably the horror movie with the highest level of rewatchability that I can think of. SCORE: 9

ACTING

Certainly not groundbreaking. But I love Neve Campbell (where did she go? I miss her). Skeet Ulrich and Matthew Lillard and Jamie Kennedy and Rose McGowan do a good job in support. Courtney Cox is usually not my favorite, but she is decent in this. I do have to remind my self that it was truly shocking to see the chicks from FRIENDS and PARTY OF FIVE using dirty language. Not to mention seeing Drew Barrymore killed off in the first ten minutes. Its easy to forget how revolutionary a move it was to kill off the little girl from E.T. so soon! SCORE: 6

WRITING

I love Kevin Williamson. I am a closet Dawson’s Creek fan (not anymore now. Just outed myself). I liked the little known TEACHING MRS. TINGLE well enough. I wish he worked more. This script captures a genre as well as it can be captured. The tone is sometimes funny, sometimes serious, but always well managed. There are some truly memorable lines, at least a half dozen, not the least of which is a glorious pun. Liver alone! SCORE: 8

BONUS

Music here is top notch, earning SCREAM a bonus point. The soundtrack is well crafted. The score is effective, and often deceptive. Notice in the first act when Sidney opens a closet door in her house. The editing and music make us think SOMETHING IS THERE… but nothing is. This was a concept which was frequently stolen by all the SCREAM copycats which followed over the next decade, but it was used succinctly here.

FINAL TALLY

FILM: 7; MOVIE: 9; ACTING:6; WRITING: 8; BONUS: 1

7+9+6+8+1= 31

FINAL SCORE = 7.75

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~ by johnlink00 on January 21, 2009.

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