Scream ★★★★★

"movies don't create psychos."

textually and formally telegraphs every single move it's going to make seconds, minutes, in some cases even multiple scenes beforehand with a perverse, winking glee for every horror junkie dork that's grown up ingesting screens upon screens of make-believe violence, and still every single one of its viscerally gruesome, emotionally cruel horror beats has the punch of cold steel piecing a warm gut. craven was a genius, and there's no clearer indication than this movie which has written moments on the page that should be absolutely moronic but are deployed with so much visual and sonic wit (i forgot how much of the finale uses the diegetic Halloween score as actual score) that they're overpowered and transformed. the narratively playful use of genre in craven's hands becomes something genuinely primal because despite williamson’s sillier instincts he doesn't direct this material like a spoof but like it’s the real deal; the tracking/POV shots, the rhythmic suspense cutting, the movies themselves another ancient, nihilistic ritual of repetition and carnage. a scary, fatalistic and violent feedback loop where the kids can now see and are aware of the seams and construction around them but still can’t avoid playing the grisly part expected of them anyway. that house party setpiece is front-to-back one of the most expertly choreographed pieces of metatextual horror ever constructed. an all-time fav for me. there’s also an argument to be made that lillard in this is one of best performances ever.


full discussion on episode 207 of my podcast SLEAZOIDS.

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