Joe the Film Bro’s review published on Letterboxd:
Upon re-watch, I think I would consider this one of my favorite movies. Not just horror movies, but favorite movies period.
This movie has the amazing talent of being a great satire of horror movies WHILE being a great horror movie. It calls out the repeating formula that horror movies at the time, and you could argue even now, keep following. It's gotten to the point that they come up with a set of "rules" for these movies to follow. They take it so far in this movie I'm surprised that Wes Craven didn't include the directors commentary in the actual movie.
The way the mystery builds behind who the killer really is is brilliantly done. Most of the larger moments that make you guess who the killer is distract you from the smaller details sprinkled throughout that give away who it actually is. By default, that makes this a wonderfully done mystery thriller. The acting can get pretty hammy and cartoonish, especially at the end, but that's part of the fun and just adds to the self-awareness that this movie has.
Neve Campbell gives such a passionate and relatable performance. Most of this movie falls on her shoulders and there is never a moment that feels like she's phoning it in. I also like how they make Sidney the "anti-screamer." Among many horror tropes that this movie calls out, they reference girls who scream a lot. I like moments when Sidney is so shocked and horrified that she can't even make a sound. It's all the small details that make this movie great.
The opening scene with Drew Barrymore is one of the greatest openings to any movie ever. The tension slowly builds to that gut punch at the end of the scene. I also give Craven a lot of credit for having the guts to call out the Elm Street sequels that he did not direct, even New Nightmare which he DID direct.
I'm so happy that this movie holds up as well as it does. If you know someone who might want to get into horror movies, I think this one could be a great way to introduce them into the genre.
Thank you Wes Craven. R.I.P.