31 Days of Hell: Scream (1996) - Reviewed

"I'll be right back!"

Wes Craven, also known as “the master of horror,” is probably my favorite director of the genre. Having a long history within horror, it only seems fitting that he has received the nickname. If you’ve been living under a rock or just really do not dig on the genre, Craven is most notable for creating possibly the most surreal and frightening “slasher film” and iconic character in cinema history -- A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) with the dream crusher himself, Freddy Krueger. Along side his other disturbing entries, The Hills Have Eyes (1977) and The Last House on the Left (1972), Wes Craven brought a newer and even more thought-provoking series to the next generation in Scream (1996).

is the compilation of and homage to every horror movie that had preceded it. To understand it, you must first understand early horror of all variations as Scream lives and breathes every kind of trope and cliché right down to story, plot, and theme. Characters in the film unashamedly spew obvious exposition and often tell the audience exactly what is going to happen just before it does, but so fluidly that you, as the viewer, are still shocked and “scared” scene by scene.

The film is a beacon of its time with dialogue that right out of a Generation X Pepsi commercial. Hot young stars such as Neve Campbell, Matthew Lillard, Rose McGowan, Jamie Kennedy, and Skeet Ulrich (the Johnny Depp look-alike from the ‘90s) make up the cast and give stellar performances.

"Say hello to my little friend."

What’s even more unique to Scream is its prologue. The film begins as one completely unique storyline that effortlessly transitions the audience into a new one while setting the tone for the rest of the film with gruesome and gut-wrenching (pun intended) gore. You immediately feel empathy for this character – who happens to be another giant ‘90s star, Drew Barrymore.

As Scream progresses, you’ll find yourself shout at the screen, begging and pleading characters to stop doing what they’re doing because you know the killer is around. Another Wes Craven trait is his ability to “trick-or-treat” his audiences with misdirection and Easter eggs within his films. Scream is full of throwback references to major classic horror films, including his own. In fact, in one scene a janitor is seen wearing a green and red striped sweater with a dirty brown hat and before you can even scream, “Hey, he looks like Freddy Krueger!,” you hear that his name is Fred and you smile from ear to ear because you get it. Following the film’s success, Wes went on to make three more Scream movies and people everywhere fell in love with horror once again. The Scream franchise is one of the first set of horror movies I watch every October.

- H