Wesley R. Ball’s review published on Letterboxd:
Do you like scary movies?
I know, this definitely is not the "scariest" film I've seen. I don't watch too many horror films, and when I do I'm never scared by them (more disgusted than anything else). So I thought, what better film to put in this category than my very first horror film? My horror film fan cousin bugged me for years to watch horror films with him, and I typically refused, too scared of what I might see. So, when I finally saw this film, I was so scared that I was nearly frightened to go up the stairs afterwards to go to bed, afraid that Ghost Face might pop out of nowhere. The sheer amount of bloodshed (although incredibly tame compared to many other horror films I've seen now) really got to me, and I had become somewhat convinced that either (1.) Ghost Face existed and he was going to kill me, or (2.) My cousin or some other prankster family member would pop out with the mask on, giving me a heart attack. Of course, I eventually overcame this fear- the more horror films I watched, the more desensitized I became. But I'll never forget that first taste I got, and how much fun it really was.
Scream is Wes Craven's brilliant, if not now overused, spin on the entire slasher genre. All of the typical horror characters are there- the virgin, the slut, the jock, the cops, the murderer. It's Cabin in the Woods before there was Cabin in the Woods, and it's a blast through and through. Granted, some of the sequels got a bit sillier than necessary (especially with the far overdone fourth film), but we'll always have this original classic to go back to again and again.
Neve Campbell is stellar as Sidney Prescott, the protagonist of the film, who determines to find out who is commencing a killing spree in her home town. As her investigation goes deeper, the killer begins to focus on her, and her life becomes at stake on more than one occasion. She curiously is present at many of the murders, some seemingly random and accidental, but all clearly committed by the mysterious Ghost Face, whom prefers a razor sharp kitchen knife (in true slasher form) as his choice of murder weapon.
What makes this film so unique (or not unique, depending on how you look at it) is the way Craven utilizes all of the traditional marks of slasher horror films and makes the characters self-aware. This makes for a really meta experience of a film, and it was truly unique for its time. Joss Whedon successfully put his own touch on this idea with The Cabin in the Woods, while Craven beat it to death with three more sequels and a TV miniseries. Either way one wants to look at it, Scream is a superbly influential horror spoof that still remains a classic (to me at least). It's not nearly as great as most of the truly classic horror films, but it's still fun to sit through, and is one of my favorite Craven films.