trillietitan’s review published on Letterboxd:
The slasher film craze began in 1978 with John Carpenter's Halloween, then proceeded to completely dominate the horror genre for over a decade. Its numerous sequels, as well as other franchises like Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and Child's Play (along with hundreds of other one-offs) continued to build upon the formula established by Carpenter's film, eventually trying nearly every concept imaginable at one point or another.
By the early nineties, the subgenre had effectively run its course. Audiences had grown tired of the formulaic plot of its numerous films, and for the most part it seemed like horror would have to find a new style in order to continue its success at the box office. But one of the men most responsible for elevating the subgenre to its greatest heights, Wes Craven, wasn't completely convinced that there weren't still stories worth telling, and he began to develop a concept that would effectively reinvent the subgenre once again.
That idea eventually turned into Scream.
I have probably seen this film a dozen times or so (it's one of the first slashers I can distinctly remember seeing, and it's a big part of why I eventually became as big of a fan of horror as I am), but it has probably been close to a decade since the last time I watched it in its entirety. Tonight's rewatch was long overdue, especially since I definitely needed a refresher on the series before I finally get around to watching the newest film-- but I have to admit, I was kind of concerned about how well it would hold up.
It turns out that those concerns were completely unfounded.
The opening scene of the film with Drew Barrymore is arguably the greatest in horror history (and features one of the greatest fakeouts in all of film), and the final act is probably the best of all of nineties horror (top five at absolute worst). There are tons of iconic performances in the film, and as a whole its cast is easily one of the best a slasher film has ever had. And of course, it features arguably the single greatest twist in all of horror-- it's easy to get part of it right during a first viewing, but I doubt many people completely guessed everything that happens without any prior knowledge.
Scream is definitely one of the best horror films ever made, and in my opinion is probably Craven's greatest accomplishment as a director. It's certainly the greatest meta-horror film ever made, and I don't think that it's a stretch to say that that specific subgenre probably wouldn't exist as we know it today if it wasn't for this film. Craven started that concept with New Nightmare, but it wasn't perfected until this film came out. I'm really glad to have seen it again after far too long, and it's great to see that it still holds up as well as I hoped it would. The UHD release from last year is absolutely gorgeous, and definitely the best the film has ever looked. This is essential viewing for all horror fans.