Scream ★★★★½

Wes Craven brilliant slasher-whodunnit hybrid boasts one of the greatest opening scenes and one of the most perfect third acts in either genre. Every single second of the final thirty minutes is expertly paced and plotted, and it totally works from a technical, thematic, logistical, and narrative standpoint. The middle act is also pretty good — it just doesn’t match the heights of the film’s bookends.

The film’s meta-commentary on horror is a double-edged sword — it allows for heightened self-awareness and an excellent thematic through-line about the ethics and effects of the genre, but it also leads to a plethora of really irritating humor that frequently undoes the tension that the rest of the movie has expertly built. Scream wouldn’t work at all without its meta-commentary, but it’s also slightly imperfect because of it.

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