6 votes

Scream (review, 1996)

4 comments

  1. [2]
    mrbig
    (edited )
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    When Scream was released in 1996 I was a young teenager. My cool older cousin told me about a horror movie in which the characters talk about horror movies all the time, and are aware of the...

    When Scream was released in 1996 I was a young teenager. My cool older cousin told me about a horror movie in which the characters talk about horror movies all the time, and are aware of the tropes of the genre. He didn't use the word "metalinguistic", but his explanation was spot on and got me excited. I saw it on VHS later on, which felt appropriate for a film in which video renting culture is so present.

    I watched it many times ever since, and it's one of my favorite movies. The combination of horror, satire[1], and teenagers probably makes it harder for "serious" people to take Scream more seriously, but I really think it has a very special place in film history.

    It is not often for a single movie to be able to summarize an entire genre (horror, slasher film in particular) so perfectly, and the film itself is delightful. Wes Craven knows how to play with our expectations, and use genre conventions to make something powerful and unique.

    Scream is profoundly referential, and to write about it one needs to know these references very well. This review, by Roger Ebert, is spot on, something that only a dedicated movie aficionado like himself could do. He gave it 3 out of 4 stars, which makes sense. Scream is superb, but I don't think it should be up there with 2001 A Space Odyssey.

    The only thing I didn't like about this review is that Ebert seems to be very sensitive to gore. In the grand scheme of things, the violence on Scream is quite tame, almost harmless. Maybe he was catering to oversensitive readers.

    [1] Scream is definitely satirical, and there are funny bits, but I never thought it was really a comedy.

    5 votes
    1. callmedante
      Link Parent
      Didn't Scream reinvigorate the slasher genre? As I recall, slasher movies were such victims of the tropes that Scream mocks that the genre as a whole was flat and lifeless. Maybe it's rose-tinted...

      Didn't Scream reinvigorate the slasher genre? As I recall, slasher movies were such victims of the tropes that Scream mocks that the genre as a whole was flat and lifeless. Maybe it's rose-tinted glasses, but I remember a sudden resurgence of interest in slasher movies after its release.

      2 votes
  2. JXM
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    It's funny to see a positive review of a horror movie from Ebert. Siskel and Ebert were extremely vocal in their opposition to the rise of slasher movies in the 80s. Siskel was always harder on...

    It's funny to see a positive review of a horror movie from Ebert. Siskel and Ebert were extremely vocal in their opposition to the rise of slasher movies in the 80s. Siskel was always harder on horror movies than Ebert was, but Ebert was never kind to them either. Every time a sequel to Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street or Halloween came out, they were sure to spend 30 seconds on the film and 3 minutes on how we were all doomed because horror films were rotting our brains.

    3 votes
  3. Ellimist
    Link
    I’ve never been a huge horror film fan but Scream was one of, if not, the first horror films that I genuinely enjoyed. While the first is definitely superior to its sequels, I don’t mind 2, 3, and...

    I’ve never been a huge horror film fan but Scream was one of, if not, the first horror films that I genuinely enjoyed.

    While the first is definitely superior to its sequels, I don’t mind 2, 3, and 4 and will usually binge all of them around Halloween as a sort of personal tradition.

    There’s a fifth film in the works that brings back the major original players

    2 votes