David Arquette as Deputy Dwight 'Dewey' Riley
Neve Campbell as Sidney Prescott
Courteney Cox as Gale Weathers
Skeet Ulrich as Billy Loomis
Rose McGowan as Tatum Riley
Matthew Lillard as Stuart Macher
Jamie Kennedy as Randy Meeks
What do you get when you cast a known television actress as a “tough as nails” horror heroine, include a cameo by a child star turned drug addict turned hottest Hollywood babe around, play on every horror formula there is as a plot line and create a new horror movie monster icon that is found in every costume shop from Beverly Hills to Wal-Mart? A whole bunch of whiney-ass, crabby, bitchy and ridiculous horror fans complaining, that’s what.
I am talking, of course, about Scream, the horror movie trilogy created by Wes Craven that had its first opening installment in 1996.
I will never forget seeing this one in the theaters during the opening week. Nobody prepared me for the fact that Drew Barrymore, child star from E.T. and one of the most famous “child star gone wrong” examples ever was going to be the one to start things off. Do they even make “Jiffy-Pop” anymore?
Then we meet the real star of the show, Sydney Prescott (Neve Campbell). The poor dear has had a rough life, mother being murdered by her adulterous lover and all – and when it comes out that Sydney had wrongly accused mother’s boyfriend Cotton of her mother’s murder she is considered both tragic and a liar by the press. As if that weren’t bad enough, she is now being targeted for murder herself.
Scream is an intricate who-dun-it that has lots of characters, creative kill scenes and twists and turns that make it difficult to tell who the killer really is. Nobody can be trusted.
I really love this one for a few reasons. First, it is highly entertaining. The plot unfolds on well-developed characters and complicated sub-plots that help you know what’s behind it all, much like a night-time soap opera with blood and guts in it. I wouldn’t mind a bit more of the blood and guts thing in The O.C. actually.
Second, Scream reduces the exhaustion of being highly formula by choosing to clearly and specifically define exactly what that formula is, and then create a movie to follow that formula exactly. This film did not create the formula for a teen slasher movie, but it does spell that formula out very well, like the big white elephant in the room that nobody talks about, and then had the audacity to not vary from it at all. Brilliant.
Finally, Scream brought the budget back to horror. Old school horror classics had large budgets for their times, but over the years horror became the low budget step-child with very few films actually making their way to a large scale cinematic release. All of a sudden Wes Craven comes along in the mid 90s with that actress from “Party of 5”, Drew Barrymore, David Arquette and that chick from “Friends” and spends an estimated $14 Million dollars on a horror movie! Oh My! This one grossed over $165 Million world wide! Hallelujah, it can be done after all!!
I still love the low budget independent horror, but I do like to see those well financed horror films at my local Cineplex – and Scream helped to make it so. For that reason, as well as all of the other fun aspects of this movie, Scream will remain one of my all-time favorites.