Rich Strahs’s review published on Letterboxd:
Last time I watched Scream was in 2016 and for some reason, I rated it 3.5 stars. If I had to take a guess I was probably working and had this on in the background and didn't give it the attention it deserves. I love slasher movies and have seen more than I want to admit. What does that have to do with Scream? You see, Scream kind of created the modern slasher. Wes Craven was able to reinvent something that was thought to be as dead as one of the victims in the horror genre.
The script for Scream by Kevin Williamson is pure brilliance. It treats the world of horror movies for what it is, entertaining movies that people grow obsessed with, some of us do anyway. It doesn't stop to ask if it is healthy for nonstop horror movie watching nor does it condone it. This is simply something that exists and Scream realizes this happens. The conversations about the horror movie rules, Jamie Lee Curtis and Halloween. Then there are the one-liners that evoke Riverdale episode titles spewed as if every teen knows about I Spit On Your Grave or The Town That Dreaded Sundown. I have a feeling a small percentage of Riverdale viewers might have gotten the message and checked out a few of these movies but let's face it, these titles are not in the public conscientiousness. Scream is though!
One thing I have noticed on this viewing is what Craven was doing behind the camera. There are shots that he did in this that evoke an Italian horror film, if only for a fleeting second. Then there are times he goes straight for the jugular. There is no escaping the violence on screen. Rose McGowan's death scene comes to mind. First, we had her um...let's just say she was cold even though she was wearing a sweater and then she gets stuck in the doggy door of a garage as the garage lifts. Yes, this death scene is highly unlikely but it is amazing and demands your attention.
Another thing that happened on Scream was the characters that you were supposed to like you actually liked. The characters that you were supposed to have mixed feelings about, you did. It doesn't matter how many times I have seen this movie, and up until the past few years was an annual viewing if not monthly, I always fall for the characters the way it was intended. It doesn't matter that I know who the killer or killers are. What matters is that each actor and actress plays the role convincingly.
As I watch this on the eve of the anniversary of Wes Craven's death, I raise my glass to you, Mr. Craven. You have made one of the best movies in a genre that you might have grown tired of. Not often does a director get multiple 5-star ratings from me but you have earned these stars that mean nothing at the end of the day. What does matter is that Scream has held up so well as have other movies in the Wes Craven cannon.
Double Feature Alert: Do you like scary movies? If so, start the night off with A Nightmare On Elm Street and jump into Scream.