Scream ★★★★½

It’s even better than I remembered. The opening scene—I would maybe argue the best opening in horror history?—is actually a lot longer than I recalled, as is the ending sequence at the party. But what I noticed this time was how it’s not just in the references and characters that the film smartly commentates on horror tropes and clichés, it’s in the filmmaking too. For example there’s this great shot early when Sidney opens a closet door, and it looks like that classic moment when she’ll close the door and someone will suddenly be standing behind it. The shot is set up for the audience to think this way, so she closes the door and…nothing. I think there’s another moment like this too but I’ve forgotten it, but it just shows that Craven knows how smart his audience is and can play around with the filmmaking tropes we’ve become so accustomed to in order to show that in this film, the rulebook has been thrown out the window.

The other thing I noticed is how damn scary Ghostface is since he’s actually fast. Your classic horror monsters are usually quite still (Myers) or supernatural (Freddy), giving them an otherworldly quality. Somehow that can’t beat something like Craven pulling his camera wide and letting us watch Ghostface sprint after Sidney up the stairs. It feels so much more tangible and visceral, only helped by the fact that we know the person under the mask is just a regular in the town.

It’s also really impressive how quickly all the major characters are established in their respective roles, and I think the strong characterisation was just as important as the smart script and inventive horror subversion in making this such a hit. I don’t want to live in the alternate universe where this doesn't come along and save mainstream horror from circling the drain.

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