Scream ★★★★★

Hooptober 8 - film 24
2 of 6 countries (USA)

25th anniversary theatrical screening

25 years ago, Billy Loomis, hair hanging down next to his shifty eyes, wore a white v-neck to school the day after being released by the sheriff's office in connection with a murder and and attempted murder, and... I don't know, I was never the same again. That sounds like a sexual awakening, but that's not what I mean.

This is my favorite movie of the 1990s by a hundred miles. Seeing its original theatrical run was one of the unforgettable movie-going experiences of my life. A film never felt so fresh and vital, and like it knew exactly who I was. Movies had been self-aware, but not like this--name another movie before it where a character references the director by name, but is too cool to be bothered to even get the name right.

I obsessed over this movie to a level of granular detail that is pretty embarrassing and ultimately not that interesting. So instead of pointing out the minor dialogue/ADR differences between the wide-release VHS (which I still have) and the advance video-store screener version (which I still have), I'll spare that junk and try to look at it with 25 years' distance.

It's funny as hell, still. When I was 18, Stu was funny and Dewey seemed old and weird. Now Dewey is young and funny, and Stu is… still amazingly funny. Liver alone! Should I let the machine get it? My mom and dad are gonnabesooomadatmeeeeee!

Craven uses tropes and tricks throughout, and constantly inverts and comments on genre conventions, but the third act is especially well crafted. The bit with the video delay from the living room to the news van is ingeniously suspenseful. The way the score from the Halloween tape on the TV is timed with the action in the house is so clever, and so entertaining. The way Gale gradually goes from flirting with Dewey out of transparent self-interest to… maybe actually liking him(?! YES!) still feels charming and earned. The way the murder scheme goes off the rails out of sheer adolescent ineptitude is actually meaningful and not just a plot device. And the way Craven red-herrings everyone, going even so far as the sheriff and the principal--or anyone wearing boots--never stops being fun.

I could go on (and on), but it's just blather. Even though there's now four more of these, there will never be another one of these.

I've bought a lot of white v-necks and pomade since it came out.

Block or Report

The Counselor liked these reviews