Scream (1996) – Review

4 Stars

‘Scream’ became the horror film that saved the genera and a box-office phenomenon that single handily resurrected the career of Wes Craven. If you don’t believe me look no further than 1995’s ‘Vampire in Brooklyn’ to witness how low both Craven and the horror genera had stooped. Working from a juicy script by then unknown writer Kevin Williamson, the sly and witty dialogue became a hallmark defining the series and all of Williamson’s other work. TV actors Campbell, Cox and Arquette were cast because of their low-paychecks and a small but loyal fan-bases. The biggest name in the cast was Drew Barrymore who doesn’t have more than ten minutes of screen time. The fact that Dimension films sold the movie with her name above the title is further proof they had very little hope for this picture.

A small opening weekend was unspectacular at best but the word spread that the film was different than others. People began buying tickets and weekend after weekend the film placed in the top ten. Dimension eventually took notice and pumped up the advertising campaign with a redesigned one-sheet poster and trailers re-cut to showcase the violence and humor. It aided in propelling this modestly budget film into an eventual gross of $103 million dollars or ($167,858,818 in adjusted dollars).

Numerous sequels followed immediately and some of the dialogue became pop-culture catch phrases for a time. Today the film looks slightly dated if only for the glut of impostors that followed in it’s wake. What remains obvious though is that Craven finally exploited a concept he had been toying with since his 1994 film ‘New Nightmare’ a surreal entry into the Freddy Kruger franchise. His assured direction reminds the viewer the horror genera is a director’s medium. Luckily in this case we are in the hands of a master and he has one hellofva story to tell.

Director: Wes Craven
Stars: Neve Campbell, David Arquette, Courteney Cox-Arquette,

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