Let’s talk about one of the most popular horror franchises of all time and at the same time one of the most controversial. Scream is certainly a polarizing movie to be sure. Many claim that the Scream franchise is one of the smartest modern-day horror franchises that pays homage to the classic horror films of the 1980’s by bringing to the front the certain set of ‘rules’ that horror movies seem to follow. Others, on the other hand see it as nothing more than a poorly created spoof on par with that of the Scary Movie franchise that originally took its primary influence from Scream. Many say that instead of paying homage to the old slasher movies that they in fact make fun of the people who enjoy them for liking them and making the genre in and of itself look like little more than a poorly conceived joke. What is my opinion on the matter? Well that is the reason that this review is being written today, let’s take a look at this franchise and see why is it certain people love it and while certain people hate it.
We start our horrific adventure in the middle of small town USA with our young heroine Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell). She is your average teenager, dealing with a complicated life after the death of her mother at the hands of a man named Cotton Weary. She still deals with the demons as well as suffers from typical teenage problems such as her pushy boyfriend Billy Loomis (Skeet Ulrich) and so forth. Near the one year anniversary, murders begin to occur around town all of which start to become centered around our unlikely hero as she finds herself in the middle of a murder spree with her and her mother somehow the primary motivation.
Say what you will about Scream, it still is a fairly well written and presented horror movie. It has its genuine horror, it builds suspense, and it makes you feel for a number of the characters that you do not assume are going to be nothing more than slasher fodder. It builds characters well and sets a strong and horrific tone.
Scream suffers a lot of criticism for making fun of slasher movies, but putting that aside, they still made a very good slasher movie at the end of the day.
It is the Strongest Horror Franchise to Come out of the 1990’s
Another thing you can say with the strongest of certainty is that out of all the horror movies to come out in the 1990’s, this was certainly the strongest franchise to come out of it. It certainly was high on the 90’s cynicism that basically said ‘we are going to take what the old people did AND MAKE IT BETTER!’ but it is most certainly not on the level of cynicism that movies like The Faculty brought us in terms of in your face ironic bullshit.
Granted whenever we look at the 90’s and its competition was I Know What You Did Last Summer which was never good, the pickings were somewhat slim. But it is still a strong contender in the horror scene.
So let’s talk about the rules that Randy Meeks (Jamie Kennedy) laid out for us. You can’t have sex, you can’t do drugs/drink alcohol, and you can’t say ‘I’ll be right back’. These are the basic rules to follow in order to survive a horror movie. Now let’s talk about how that is a big fat load of horse shit. Yes, these tend to be trends in slasher flicks in the 1980’s, that is true. However they were not set in stone laws that each movie held to without breaking.
If you will go back with us to the 1980’s and you are dealing with a handful of teenagers in any given situation… I’m willing to say that drugs, alcohol, and sex tend to follow suit and those who do not partake in it, well they exist too. Doesn’t mean that if you do not take part in them then you are safe from murder in these movies and that goes the other way as well. Most movies in the 1980’s had several survivors smoking weed, look at the original Friday the 13th for proof of that. The fact is that you are filming a movie about a unsupervised teenagers doing teenager things… I’m willing to guess weed, drinking, and sex are involved. The fact that these kids are getting murdered while doing them tends to be more coincidence then law in my books and as far as the ‘I’ll be right back’ is concerned… Shocker that a commonly used phrase in the english language gets tossed around in scripts and eventually leads to it being a sort of common usage for horror films.
These laws that are brought up by Scream are easily disproven through multiple examples to the contrary or are such broad terms that they might as well not even be speculated upon and to do so tends to be insulting to fans of the genre itself.
It Does Seem to Insult Fans of Slasher Flicks
For anyone who is a fan of the genre, I can see how you would be annoyed by Scream. It does not come off as a movie that is enhancing the genre by bringing out its flaws. It has that 90’s sense of ‘we are so much better than the older generations. Let us show you how you REALLY make a horror movie.’ It was a popular notion to have in the early 90’s but that also means that it hasn’t aged well. It has a strange sense of immaturity to it as the years have gone on, making it fall out of favor to many film fans.
So does Scream deserve the hate that it receives from the critics of today for being so critical of their own genre? Well a little of yes and a little of no. Scream is still a very well written, well acted, and well-directed movie. When it comes to being a movie, it did everything right and you cannot fault the movie for doing a stellar job. However, it attacked the movies that brought it to the show by making broad generalizations that ultimately alienated fans of the genre and will thus always have a black stain to its name.
Final Score 3/5
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