Freyr’s review published on Letterboxd:
Decided to rewatch this and Scream 4 ahead of the new film this weekend (I've rewatched 2 & 3 more recently and, frankly, didn't like them enough to bother again so soon haha). I'm somewhat surprised I haven't already reviewed this before.
Well, I guess this is a hot take of sorts, though it's really more lukewarm haha. I like Scream, I always have, but I've simply never loved it. I've revisited it on a few occasions over the last uhhh 25 years, cheese and rice, and my feelings have remained pretty stable on it throughout.
The cold open: iconic. Memorable, frightening, fun. Cannot praise enough. A highlight in a career with no shortage of highlights.
The rest of the film never quite gets back to that level for me. Some of the dialogue is really sharp and witty, the characters are all memorable and the relationships feel alive. The last stretch, post reveal, is full of memorable performances and exciting chases and altercations.
The middle of the film just kinda loses me in places. I'm always a little surprised to re-realize that the movie pushes the two hour mark. I struggle to even point out where it loses me, there are plenty of cute and generally memorable/quotable scenes in the middle act, but I always feel my attention drifting in the buildup. I also have to admit that while the meta element can be clever, there are some gags that are so silly I could almost confuse them for Scary Movie bits.
The Freddy janitor looks so cartoonish, even as a big fan of A Nightmare on Elm Street. I find the doggy door death to just be...so stupid. I've never liked it (though the closeup on the dummy they crushed is nice). And Dewey is...man he's just such a joke haha. I do genuinely think his interactions with Gale are super sweet and endearing, but so many other scenes with him feel like they cross the parody line, especially considering how genuinely dark the core plotline is. Like, really fucked up, but here's Dewey in his boxers waving a gun in his sisters room, or eating a maple glazed donut for breakfast (I'll cut the ice cream bit some slack, it's a charming juxtaposition with the Sherriff's smoking).
Obviously lots of people love this movie to death, and it's not hard to see why, and I respect the hell out of its impact and influence. Granted I also hate a lot of the films that came from the Slasher revival it inspired, but I don't hold that against it. Who wouldn't want to imitate such success? It does feel like a movie made for Horror fans, in a way that you really didn't see at the time. Kudos for that.