SCREAM is a horror film for movie fans. While we are all scared of what goes bump in the night, why not get a little more personal? Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson break down a new wall—they turn a love for film into an obsession with the highest of consequences. It’s the thing that parents fear and fans dismiss. But as Billy Lumus says, “Movies don’t create psychos, movies make psychos more creative.” They make the psychos so creative that you start to fear everyone you cross.
The first time I saw SCREAM, I was thirteen years old. I was also a huge movie fan who spent a lot of time by herself (don’t feel bad). This is why the opening scene had such a strong effect. Casey Becker (Drew Barrymore) is all alone at home waiting for her boyfriend to come over. In the meantime, she makes popcorn then walks away from the stove to answer a strange call. “Do you like scary movies?” That single quote would rock the horror genre. As a teen home alone, you second guessed everything.
The tale of the ghostfaced killer is just like those of traditional horror lore. A man with a mask is going after teenagers, but the big question in this film is why? The killer hones his focus in on Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), a young girl who had her life turned upside down when her Mother was brutally murdered and raped the year before. Sidney tries to find solitude in the company of her friends, who are obsessed with movies. Every other word out of their mouths is a reference to some movie. This causes some static within the group on several occasions due to the killers affection for horror films. Fingers are pointed, but as any teenager would do, they just get over it quickly. They are friends, why should they have to question if one of them is a killer?
What’s so great about the writing of Williamson is his way with teenage dialogue. The conversations between characters are so sharp and familiar that you feel close to the cast immediately. That Tatum girl, she’s that slutty friend you had in school that only you really understood. Everyone knows a Randy, he’s the nerdy guy obsessed with pop culture who is in love with the girl next door. Then of course, the ladies know a guy like Billy, he’s like the bad boy they dated in school that was lovable but a little too handsy. Unlike his writing on DAWSON’S CREEK, Williamson tones it down enough that everyone can get a grasp.
Craven is a man well grounded in his genre. When you watch SCREAM, it makes you forget about the director’s last abysmal effort, MY SOUL TO TAKE. Teenagers aren’t as awesome as they used to be. Plus, Craven may have crafted a few scripted gems, but Williamson takes the cake. Craven does what he does best– his primary focus is on the direction. Some of the shots mimic some of his earlier works, especially that of A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. The settings are a familiar ground and he gets the element of surprise. Craven does is best to put the moviegoer in the shoes of the potential victim.
SCREAM is a modern horror classic. I have no issue in arguing the validity and staying power of a film like this one. In 1996, everything came together and magic ensued. It seems a little silly to describe it like that, but everything is so close to perfect and it does a great job a reinventing the genre. For awhile now, it seems hard for filmmakers in horror to replicate the success of SCREAM. Torture porn and fake stories passed off as true seem to be what scares these days. The horror genre needed to revived for a long time and got that with SCREAM. Now it needs to be revived again, but will anyone ever come close?
Video (2.35:1 Widescreen): As soon as the film started in, I felt like I was watching it on DVD again. There are small improvements, but things like glares and over enhancement often distract.
Audio (5.1 DTS-HD): The audio is not a letdown. All great horror films deserve great detail paid to their respective soundtracks. You want to hear every little step along with the rises and falls of the music. This track definitely delivers.
Commentary by Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson: Possibly my favorite commentary thus far. I’ve only gotten to see a few interviews with Williamson, so hearing some of his thought process was a big deal for me. Craven is always a delight. Both men enjoy themselves and offer a lot of detail about the film.
Production featurette (6:00): There’s interaction here with the cast and crew. They talk about the plot as well as their hopes for the film. Most of the features on the disc are from previous releases of the film, so unfortunately there’s really no new content. But for those who haven’t seen it, they will be in for a treat.
Behind the Scenes “On the Scream Set” and “Drew Barrymore” (6:00): There’s some rather quick behind-the-scenes stuff here as well as additional interviews with cast. Obviously, the other part focuses on the opening scene with Barrymore. This is one of my favorite scenes in horror, so it’s very cool to get a peek.
Q&A with the Cast and Crew (6:00): The cast and crew are asked some of the very same questions that are posed by the characters. “What’s your favorite scary movie?”