Movie Review: “Scream” – Nothing beats the original.

"I thought you didn't have a boyfriend?" "I lied. I do have a boyfriend... And he's big and plays football and will beat the shit of you."

“Scream” (****)

This is one of my all time favorite movies. And I don’t say that lightly. Scream was groundbreaking, the first to do a meta movie, then spawning a Scary Movie, and in turn a genre. It also is so unclassifiable in terms of its own genre. Is it a horror? Yeah. A Comedy? Certainly! What? It succeeds so admirably on both accounts I don’t know where to begin.

So the beginning is legendary. If you don’t know what happens in the first 10 minutes of this film, crawl out from under your rock and find this movie. One of the best scenes… period. I remember when I first watched that scene when I was pretty young… too young for this movie, I kept pausing every 10 seconds so I could tell myself it was just a movie. While nothing in the rest of the movie is as harrowing, all of the action and horror is expertly done by the master of terror himself (at the time), Wes Craven.

It’s actually a really tightly directed film. It’s style is unwavering, it’s tone unique, and all of the performances are definitely elevated. Neve Campbell, who I know from nothing else, is so good as the pouty ’90s teen. Skeet Ulrich nails his Johnny Depp look-a-like contest, Courteney Cox is brilliantly bitchy, Drew Barrymore turns out her best performance possibly ever, David Arquette is subtly dippy, Rose McGowan has boobs, and Jamie Kennedy aces film nerd. Each character has these great little moments all created within. My favorites being when Billy scratches his head with the gun, when Dewey picks up the phone that the killer just hung up on and says hello, or a line so deeply embedded in my daily vernacular from Tatum when she mocks Gail:

“I’ll send you a copy. BAM! Bitch went down. I’ll send you a copy. BAM! Sid. Superbitch.”

However, one performance stands above them all… Matthew Lillard. He balances the line between hilarious teen, douchy boyfriend, and crazy man so well. His actions are so lived in and he’s a completely original character. In a delightful character moment, there’s a line where he is threatening Sidney. And he adds the perfect ingredient. Instead of saying “pow” or “bam” he says, “And if you get it right, BOOGAH, you die.” His salivating woozy genius is the best part of this film. He brings the fun crazy while Skeet Ulrich brings the sexy crazy. I also lose my shit when Billy hits Stu with the phone.

It’s also fun to look at this film as ’90s time capsule. Besides the obvious fashion trends, songs, celebrities, and references, there are such things where she calls for help on her internet dial up modem. That’s right – because she does not have a cell phone. It was so rare to have a cell phone that it made Billy and instant suspect.

One of the best movies, and now it has spawned a true series that continues strong today. But nothing will reach the perfection and mastery of Wes Craven’s genre-defying wonder.


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