It has been so long since I have seen the movie Scream so I decided to watch it tonight. Once regarded as the birth of the ‘teen slasher’ movie, I actually find that Scream hasn’t really dated all that much, I still find it scary now as I did back then. What I most loved about it was the fact that it was such a simple idea and it reminded me of a classic murder mystery story, but made purely for the 21st century. With spoilers.
I mean, I thought it was brilliant that at the time the movie’s biggest star, Drew Barrymore, literally dies within the first ten minutes. She gets this call from this random guy who just starts asking her if she likes scary movies. The call obviously freaks her out and she hangs up. When he calls back he threatens to and I quote ‘gut her like a fish’ and then shows her her boyfriend taped to a chair in her garden before he kills him. I like scary movies too, some of them, and after seeing ‘Scream’ for the first time I definitely found it to be something quite different. It’s like, you get asked a question about a horror movie, if you get it right, you don’t die! Great. But of course the rules in a horror movie always seem to change. I thought, as truly awful and horrifying as it was, one of the things they did so well when Drew Barrymore’s character Casey dies, her parents literally get home and walk through the front door as Casey is taken out the back and strung up by a tree. And then her parents find her. First indication that Scream is one of the greatest horror movies ever.
Then we meet Sidney, played by Neve Campbell. I always thought how pretty Neve Campbell was, and her boyfriend Billy, played by Skeet Ulrich was pretty hot too. I knew something was a bit weird when Billy says he watched The Exorcist and thought of her, obvious reference to a scary movie, but it was also a random thing to say and quite unsettling too as it seems the two characters had been dating for two years, begging the question, do you really know someone?! They seemed so happy together, but you could tell he was a bit of a lovesick puppy, and she was most definitely a tease.
As news begins to surface of Casey’s death we are introduced to Dewey the deputy sheriff played by David Arquette who comes in to the school to ask the kids questions as part of the investigation, and a comment is made about Sidney’s father, but it is unclear as to how it is connected at the time, but as the movie goes on we learn how Sydney’s mother was also murdered in the town. We also get to meet Sidney’s friends too. And apart from joking about putting someone’s liver in a mailbox….there was nothing unusual about them either.
I love how Sydney, and Casey lived in ridiculously big houses where they were constantly there on their own with a killer on the loose who had plenty of places to hide and wait for the perfect opportunity to pounce. I think this movie is why I don’t ever want a really big house. I would be checking all the rooms all the time. And of course she is on her own when the killer calls her the first time. One of my favourite lines in the movie is when Sydney says, in regards to scary movies, “They always star some big-breasted girl, who can’t act who’s always running up the stairs when she should be running out the front door, it’s insulting.” It’s brilliant. And what was so great was, when the killer popped out from the closet she fought him off, but because she had put the chain on the door, she had to run up the bloody stairs anyway because it was the quickest escape route she had. Fantastic scene!
It seemed as the movie went on the killer was always one step ahead, phoning Sydney at her friends house and the only way they could have known she was there was if the killer or someone close to them was actually with her, or just simply following her wherever she went. There were two parts to the movie I generally found were most terrifying. One was the obvious fact you immediately got the feeling the killer was always there, but you didn’t know who it was because you couldn’t see them. And the second part was the general weight of horror and pain that was already rested on Sydney’s shoulders knowing her mother was murdered, but also the fact that she herself was also considered a suspect because she is considered disturbed and delusion following her mother’s death. It’s so cruel. And then of course, whilst she is trying to get over that, Ghostface jumps out of nowhere to chase her again.
You have to watch the movie very carefully. As I am writing this now, I have seen Scream before in the past but there are things I had forgotten, but I do remember who the killer was… and I must say knowing that now makes me see how brilliantly this character and all the others surrounding them acted, and how well they actually disguised the fact that it was them. It was like they were using a ‘mis-direction’ technique, in my opinion, which was so well executed throughout the entire movie. That, tied in with the ‘dreaded music’ cue every time a character simply popped up at any time in the movie and made another character jump, made me slightly freak out too. It happened so much throughout the film too. It was awesome.
The one death that really was a bit sad, from Sydney’s point of view was when her friend Tatum, played by Rose McGowan was killed. By getting squashed at the top of an electric garage door because she tried to get through the cat flap (might have been a dog flap actually) to get away from Ghostface and he turned the electric garage on and killed her. Really felt sorry for both of them.
Parts of it were quite comical. Another one of my favourite scenes was when they explain the three rules of surviving a horror movie 1) You can never have sex. Sex equals death 2) You can never do drugs and number 3) Never, ever say you will be right back….because you won’t be back. It’s brilliant. And when poor Billy…..gets stabbed…Ghostface just casually stands there for a few moments, wipes his knife clean with his hand and then goes after Sydney. Loved the chasing in the movie. The chasing was the best. The way people just disappeared as well, the three lads and the girls who were watching the scary movie just vanished when Dewey runs in to inspect the house when he hears screaming. Where the hell did every one go?! And also, Dewey gets stabbed in the back, by all accounts he should have died but he doesn’t. The other thing was…how the hell do you not notice the boot door is opening when Sydney is in the car?!!! How do you not notice!!
I love asking myself all these questions. Scream is such an amazing slasher horror film. Like I said, you have to watch it carefully so you don’t miss anything thing. I missed loads the first time around. I was really intrigued and a little bit annoyed to find out that Billy was one of the killers along with Stuart (Matthew Lillard). Billy seemed so sweet to Sidney, but I guess the killer is always the one you least expect.
What else did I love about this movie. It was suspenseful, it was a mystery and at times it was a little bit crazy too. Was it scary? Well…. I have seen scarier movies, Scream will not be giving me nightmares, but I thought the characters in it were very believable, especially Neve Campbell’s Sydney, the storyline was incredible and played out in a realistic fashion, and Ghostface was just amazing. Definitely one to watch if you love scary movies.
Thanks for reading.