Thursday, March 8, 2012

My 50 Greatest Movies: No 48: Scream

"There's a formula, a very simple formula! Everybody's a suspect!"

Scream, by horror guru Wes Craven, was a breath of fresh air. For a long time, horror movies sucked. They were formulaic, bland and predictable, the dialog was wooden and the characters shallow.

Scream succeeds because the dialog is smooth and entertaining.  The characters don't live in a vacuum, they understand how typical horror movies work, and a running gag throughout the movie is characters unknowingly predict their actions by mocking what happens in horror films. 

Scream also works because the killer(s), isn't a mythical, immortal demon, who can't be killed. It's a member of a small town and as the violence occurs, so does a classic whodunit, with red herrings abound. 

The movie begins, with a scene that would make a "Greatest Opening Sequence" list if I ever made one. It's thrilling, its clever, its haunting, its brutal.

Scream spawned a lot of sequels, and a lot of bad spinoffs, just like any good horror movie. I still cringe when I hear the name, "I Still Know What You Did Last Summer".  Scream is on this list as much for its worth as a great movie as its monumental changing of horror movies. It effectively killed the standard typical slasher genre of movies for years, Scream pulled back the curtain, showed you how its all done, and still surprised you.

Here are the ratings.

Music: 4/5: The music is solid, driven by the classic "Red Right Hand", adds to the overall feel of the movie.
Cinematography: 3/5: Horror movies have a reputation for looking like shit, Scream doesn't.
Entertainment Value: 7/10: The first scene and the last are epic, very few scenes in this movie lag.
Rewatchability: 8/10: Its hard to get sick of a movie that is this entertaining. You can start watching at any point and it will suck you in till the end.
Acting: 7/10: Most horror movie casts are actors in their first roles, or, they act like it. Scream has established actors, and they elevate an already solid script.
Great Scenes: 8/10: Like I said, the opening scene is epic, the video store argument is comedy gold, and any scene with Deputy Dewey in it is memorable.
Total: 37/50

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