Sunday, October 17, 2010

Scream (1996) - 3/5

As a Horror fan, one has to kind of respect "Scream". This film single-handedly jump started Horror in the 90s with its classic take on the teen Slasher film and its homages to the classics make for some fun moments. It also happened to spawn an entire genre of really mediocre slashers that were pumped out like raw sewage from a drain pipe and created a craze of supposed 'horror fans' that really didn't know anything about the genre. Thusly, my love/hate relationship with "Scream" needed to be reevaluated.

Sidney (Campbell) is still suffering from the death of her mother even though the supposed killer is put away. People seem to try to forget about the incident in this small town, but teens can be dicks. When a masked killer shows up and starts knocking off some of the local teens, the town goes into a panic and a lot of tension seems to be placed on Sidney and her family. With the body count rising, Sidney has to try to put it all together and find the killer before she ends up on the sharp end of a knife and all her friends get slaughtered.

One of the reasons why "Scream" works is that it perfectly follows the essential Slasher film plot. It knows it too. Throughout the film it constantly references itself by the teens present (with particular nod to Jamie Kennedy's Horror nerd character that explains it all) and this allows it to be completely cliche and never have to hide it. Granted, there are plenty of times when the film crosses the line from homage to spoof and that makes some of it disappointing. The random janitor dressed as Freddy Kruger and played by Wes Craven was a bit much and this happens every so often.

The film does suffer from a bit from its build. With its fun and well crafted opening sequence/kill and its twisted and body count heavy finale, the middle of the film seems over padded, long winded, and rather boring. The few scary sequences are completely random in the doldrums (why the principal is killed comes out of left field and the stalking by ghost face as seen in back ground moments builds to nothing) and the humor presented is pretty hit or miss. With its high tension opening and final slaughter at the party, it just makes the rest of the film feel like its going through the motions instead of making its self referencing relevant.

The cast does a fine job here and Craven's directing is for the most part well done, but its random moments of poorly done humor and lackluster middle act prevents it from fully embracing its own self referencing moments and solid ending. "Scream" is still a film to be respected for changing and revitalizing the genre, but its not a great film outside of that.

BONUS RANT I: I hate the title sequence in this film. It just does a cliche 90s font and a poorly dubbed scream right at the beginning of the film in an awkward manner. It would have been better suited at the end of opening kill sequence when the mother screams.

BONUS RANT II: How weak is Ghost Face? He might end up killing a lot of people in the end, but he gets his ass kicked at every moment. Who falls for the opening the freezer door to smack the chaser in the face Looney Tunes trick? I mean, he's supposed to be human and makes errors...I get that. But give us a reason and don't make it so over the top and humorous. It just got to be too funny by the end. He got hit in the nards with a beer bottle! HA! 

Written By Matt Reifschneider

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