Back in 1996, horror films needed revitalization. At the time, the genre was bogged down by the oversaturation of awful sequels to franchises such as Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th. In comes Scream to throw shade that these types to movies but also to be a breath of fresh air in quality and originality. Unfortunately, a film that was seen as a historic landmark for horror in the 1990s does not equivocate to a classic almost 25 years later.
Let me start this review with a positive: Drew Barrymore’s opening scene is still terrifying.
The long takes, increasingly intense and creepy phone calls, the gradual suspense leading up to the first look at the iconic “Ghostface” costume are all done very well to keep this opening scene in the upper echelon of terrifying moments in film. However, that is just the first five minutes of this film and that was all the investment I had in it.
The characters of Billy Loomis and Stu Macher lead you to suspect that they are the true killers early on in the film with Billy’s body language and tone of voice and Stu’s obsession with horror films. They are also the boyfriends of our two female protagonists, Sidney Prescott and Tatum Riley.
Billy and Stu end up being the actual killers, which is such a confusing route for this film because it is trying to revitalize horror but attempted to do so by making the obvious choices for the plot.
The subplot between David Arquette and Courtney Cox’s characters felt out of place. Why this movie cares so much about a budding romance between two side characters is something I cannot explain other than to extend the runtime to a lengthy 111 minutes for a surface-level horror film.
Outside of Neve Campbell and the five minutes of Barrymore, the acting is below average. It felt as everyone was either phoning in it or trying to be edgy and over-the-top.
To me, Scream is John Carpenter’s Halloween but without any sort of care or attention to detail. There is no ambiance, the score is absent for the most part and no true horrifying moments after the opening scene.
When you have the chance, go back and re-watch Scream and tell me you didn’t feel the same way I felt.
In the year 2019, Scream is not a very good horror film.