This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
mosquitodragon’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
11 of 24: A film about a landline telephone.
Like all truly innovative films, the challenge for future generations is to be able to appreciate it because everything it pioneers has now become imitated about a thousand times. Cynical, meta-analytical teens are now a horror cliché, but in the mid 90’s, stupid, gullible horny teens were the cliché (well, horniness will never go out of teen fashion, but you know what I mean…) You need to picture the time before Scream to be able to appreciate how smart Scream is – even I find that hard and I was already in my 20’s by then (no, fuck off, it’s not senile dementia!)
But even putting all the subversion and innovative meta aspects aside, it’s still a cracking horror film – one of the great slashers of all time. Because, despite its humour, it’s still determined to be a scary movie first and foremost. And Craven directs those horror beats like the master that he was.
The cast is really fantastic. Drew Barrymore puts in an iconic performance in under, what? Ten minutes, or something? Neve Campbell was the perfect choice for a 90’s update of Laurie Strode. Skeet Ulrich is actually pretty amazing, in more ways I can mention without getting into plot synopsis more than I can be bothered doing. And even Matthew Lillard, who is undeniably as irritating as fuck, struck me as quite brilliant this time around – what an amazing performance (a lot of which was ad-libbed, apparently).
It’s also a beautiful film. I’d always remembered this as being set in an idyllic suburbia a la Haddonfield or Springwood – but it’s all filmed in northern Californian wine country. I just love the final 45 minutes of this movie, which is the night of the party out in the country house – it’s an incredible sequence of events, with the kills, and Dewey and Gale’s little adventure out in the woods, and that famous scene of the lecture in front of everyone watching Halloween. I really noticed this time how genius it is the way Craven re-uses Carpenter’s Halloween score for his own purposes, because it’s playing right there on the TV. I never noticed that before! And then of course the climactic scenes once the killer is unmasked – just amazing stuff.
I always respected this as an important horror film, but man I was just so entertained by it this time around. I love this movie.