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Friday, March 22, 2013

Scream: 1996

Release date: December 20, 1996 (USA)
Director: Wes Craven
MPAA rating: R
Screenplay: Kevin Williamson
   In the mid 90's and most recently, last year, a series of films have been released that attempted to satirize and cash in on the slasher craze. These "slashers," include "Halloween," "Nightmare on Elm Street" "Friday the 13th," and the list goes on. All of these films began very small, some of them being very low budget, such as the first "Halloween", directed by John Carpenter.   But, humility can only last so long. Scream, like the films before it, transformed into bloated, corporate monsters, with films being systematically released annually in order to line their suits with greenbacks. Wes Craven, the director of this line of films, as well as the "Nightmare on Elm Street" franchise, tries to tell the audience what horror films are doing wrong, and will constantly make fourth wall winks whenever he can. Let's talk about that. This, is "Scream."

   For a movie that satirizes the slasher category of the horror genre, It does a good job of becoming exactly that. A slasher flick. And a good slasher flick I might add. Director Wes Craven, who has dabbled in the horror genre quite a bit, has decided to completely destroy the slasher genre by blurring the lines between film, and reality. In fact, one of the main controversies this film brings up, is the connection between film violence and actual violence. Personally, I do believe that in certain cases films can inspire violent outbursts, but these would only happen to people who should not be watching the movies in the first place. Film is reserved for entertainment purposes only, and should almost never be replicated. Its why we have actors, and stunt doubles, and controlled explosions, and computers. Movies aren't real. End of story. 

   Now that that's out of the way, lets get to the plot. A group of teenagers is stalked and executed one by one by an unidentified costumed killer until he or she or they are caught. Now, I'm not going to give anything away, because it is actually a very good movie. The surreal nature of the characters in the film constantly knocking at the fourth wall doesn't get too annoying. It's quite enjoyable. But when the third and fourth movie come around things begin to get stale. But that's what happens when you milk a franchise for too long. You get more money, but you also get sloppy, and you get less respect. John Carpenter, stop it! Sean Cunningham, stop it! Wes Craven, stop it! Here's another notoriously terrible analogy for you. lets pretend your drinking your favorite juice, and you pour yourself the very last cup of whatever it was you were drinking. You drink some, but not all of it. Instead, you take whatever was left of the juice in the glass and you refill it with water. And you leave the juice in, so that the water will mix with it and retain it's flavor for a bit longer. Then you rinse and repeat three more times. Now all you have is water. No more juice, no more  flavor, and no more of what you originally enjoyed to begin with. Did you get that? Good. 

   I love classic "who done it" films, where you have to constantly sleuth around the film to figure out who the killer is. Is it the garbage man? The file clerk? William Shatner? You have to watch the movie all the way through to find out. In this way, this style of horror is a bit gimmicky, but I like it (as long as it's done correctly, of course). Think of it more as "And Then There Were None," instead of "Clue." This movie is spectacular in that sense. It keeps you guessing and on your toes until the very end, and when you finally know who it is...BAM! The killer is about to bleed twenty five gallons of blood, and come back to life at least three more times. But whoever said these films were meant to be taken seriously. Of course, I may have enjoyed these confrontations a bit more if Wes Craven HAD made the decision to film these scenes more realistically. However, one downside to that is that one good blow to the head with a tire iron will do any psychopathic teenager in for good, and that just isn't too much fun. There is a certain charm to the simplicity of the "Scream" films, but as for the best one of the franchise, I would recommend the first one. It's fresh and hadn't gotten to the point were a scenario like this one had been done to death, which is essentially the biggest problem with the rest of the "Scream" films. Sadly, this was the end of the Slasher genre of horror films for me, that is until every 80's horror character was renovated, modernized, and brought back from the grave once more to bomb at the box office. I wouldn't review those films if you held a gun to my head, but next up interesting one...


Watch The Trailer Here:
Next Review: John Dies At The End 2012



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