Tuesday, October 25, 2016

31 Days of Horror: SCREAM

Welcome horror fans, to Day 25 of the 31 DAYS OF HORROR!  We are back with another film in our lead up to Halloween, and today we will be reviewing the film that restarted the slasher genre...SCREAM.  Enjoy!

A few weeks shy of twenty years ago, a genre-defining horror movie was released. It was simply titled Scream. The characters in Scream existed in a dark, evil world not unlike our own, knowing full well the conventions and tropes of the horror genre, allowing visionary director, Wes Craven, to flip these clich├ęs on their head. In doing so, Craven created a truly brilliant movie that has spawned a stream of imitators, sequels, and even its own TV show.

At this point, it is truly possible that everything that could be said about Scream has already been said. Countless articles have been published detailing the brilliance of the genre-subversion and the subtle (or not-so-subtle) nods to horror conventions. Scream was my first true, R-rated horror movie and it set the bar remarkably high for following movies from the very first scene.

“Do you like scary movies?” That line is embedded within the collective mind as deeply as the killer’s strangely seductive voice and his hauntingly simple mask. Craven builds tension with every line of a scene almost entirely built on Drew Barrymore pacing around her house and a sinisterly ringing phone. With dialogue ripped out of horror movies of the past, the killer psychologically crushes his victim down to nothing as the audience waits in dread for the killer to appear.

That is the strength of Scream, past its subverting of genre and its sly playing with tropes. Tension mounts in a consistent manner as characters are killed off one by one and blood is spilled in increasingly grotesque ways. Despite being a subversive film, Scream is at its core a slasher flick, which it succeeds at masterfully.

I try to involve in all my reviews an idea of who wouldn’t like the film I’m reviewing. For Scream, that is an extremely difficult task. Those who don’t like R-rated horror films obviously should stay away. Those who don’t like satires and can’t handle the shtick associated with parodies may find Scream a bit corny at times (although, it could be argued that it is purposefully so). The appeal of Scream is fairly universal for those who like a good, entertaining, blood-soaked horror film with a bit more to it than meets the eye.

An October without a Scream rewatch is not a good October. The new MTV Scream TV series deserves a mention as it successfully updates the Scream style and, in my opinion, improves upon it. Watch something in this franchise before Halloween. Enjoy this classic of horror cinema again. And brush up on your horror trivia. You never know when you’ll get a phone call.

Jonathan’s Score: 9/10

Be sure to stay tuned throughout the rest of the month! We're posting a new horror review every day all throughout October, both old and new! Check back to see what movie we'll have you covering your eyes from next!

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