Scream ★★★★

What's your favorite scary movie?

Wes Craven's penchant for intense and inventive horror cross-polinates with his love of meta and pop-culture referentiality in Scream, one of his best films and arguably one of the best horror movies ever made (edged out by its first sequel). From Ghostface's first phone call all the way up until the truly shocking final reveal, Scream is a twisting and winding murder mystery X slasher film X horror satire that never sacrifices effective scares for it's humor.

Neve Campbell is refreshingly authentic as Sidney, a teenager grappling with the death of her mother as well as traditional high school angst. The supporting cast is also great, particularly Courtney Cox as ambitious yet tasteless reporter Gale Weathers and David Arquette as the always loveable Dewey. Wes Craven's direction helps to craft one of the most iconic trios in all of horror.

And it takes an iconic trio to unmask an iconic villain, and Ghostface is exactly that. While I don't think that the first entry in the franchise is the best, I don't think it's a stretch to say that this incarnation of the famous killer is, and if you haven't seen this film I won't spoil the reveal for you because it's a twist for the ages. Surrounded by an aura of mystery but also vulnerability, Ghostface is everything the traditional slasher villain is not: clumsy, all-too human, and comedically witty.

And that wit reverberates through the entire film, due to a fantastic script by Kevin Williamson. The writing of the film maintains the same level of energy throughout, deftly juggling authentic teenage dialogue with clever and self-referential in-jokes that the sharpest of horror fans will appreciate.

At the end of the day, Scream is one of the most accessible horror films of all time, with a little bit of something for everyone, including people who aren't fans of horror. At the same time, it manages to be both a roast as well as an unabashed love letter to the genre, from one of the greatest directors to ever work in it.

RIP Wes Craven.

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