“Scream” is a 1996 American slasher film directed by Wes Craven and written by Kevin Williamson. Set in the fictional town of Woodsboro, California, it follows high school student Sidney Prescott and her group of acquaintances, who become the targets of a mysterious killer in a Halloween costume known as “Ghostface”. The score was composed by Marco Beltrami. 111 minutes.
“Scream” is an entertaining movie that can be enjoyed not only as a slasher film but also as a black comedy film.
It is not just a slasher film but a meta slasher film, which includes self-reference to the slasher genre itself and self-deprecating satire on its clichés.
It features numerous references to past slasher/horror/psychological thriller films, including John Carpenter’s “Halloween” (1978), Sean S. Cunningham’s “Friday the 13th” (1980), and Craven’s “A Nightmare on Elm Street” (1984).
When this film was released, slasher film was considered to be just an out-of-style subgenre of horror film. However, the film gained commercial and critical success, and it became a popular franchise with many sequels. Historically, it can be said that the success of “Scream” in the 1990s revitalized the slasher genre.
The film won Best Film in the 1996 International Horror Guild Award, Best Actress (Neve Campbell), Best Horror Film and Best Writing (Kevin Williamson) in the 1996 Saturn Awards, Best Movie in the 1997 MTV Movie Award, and Grand Prize in the 1997 Festival international du film fantastique de Gérardmer.
Synopsis (Spoiler Alert)
One night, when Woodsboro High School student Casey Becker (Drew Barrymore) is going to watch a horror movie on video, she receives a suspicious phone call.
The caller shows her that her boyfriend Steve Orth is tied to a chair and gagged on the patio at the back of her home, and he demands that she answer questions about horror films.
After Casey answers a question about “Friday the 13th” incorrectly, Steve is murdered in front of her.
Casey is stabbed and murdered by an unidentified person wearing a black robe and a Halloween ghost mask, and her parents find her disemboweled corpse hanging from a tree.
Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), who goes to the same high school as Casey, is going to stay at the house of her best friend Tatum Riley (Rose McGowan) because her father Neil is away on a business trip.
Sidney’s mother Maureen was raped and murdered one year ago. A suspect named Cotton Weary was arrested because of Sidney’s eyewitness testimony, and he was sentenced to death.
TV news reporter Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox) comes to Woodsboro to cover the case. She has claimed Cotton’s innocence in Maureen’s case.
Sidney is attacked by the killer at home after receiving a suspicious phone call. Her boyfriend Billy Loomis (Skeet Ulrich) comes to her home, and the killer disappears. Sidney suspects that Billy made the suspicious phone call because he has a cell-phone. Billy is detained by the police as a suspect.
When Sidney stays with Tatum, she receives a suspicious phone call again. Billy is released the next day.
Sidney’s father Neil goes missing.
Sidney is attacked by the killer in a bathroom at school, but she manages to avoid him.
In the wake of the murders, Woodsboro High School is temporarily closed, and a curfew is imposed on the town.
Principal Arthur Himbry is stabbed by the killer to death in his office in the school.
Tatum’s boyfriend and Billy’s best friend, Stuart “Stu” Macher (Matthew Lillard) holds a celebration party for the school closing at his home. Sidney is invited by Tatum to attend the party.
A horror film geek working part time at a video store, Randy Meeks (Jamie Kennedy) is also invited by Stu to attend the party. Randy suspects that Billy is the killer.
The police find out that suspicious phone calls came from Sidney’s father Neil’s cell-phone.
Gale enters Stu’s house with Tatum’s older brother, Deputy Sheriff Dewey Riley (David Arquette) and sets up a hidden camera to watch them.
Stu asks Tatum to bring the beer. Tatum goes to the garage and takes some bottles of beer from the fridge. The killer appears and murders Tatum by shutting the automatic garage door on her neck when she tries to get out through the pet door.
Billy comes to Stu’s house and says to Sidney that he has something to tell her.
When the party attendees are watching the scenes of “Halloween” and other slasher films on video, Randy explains his “Rules For Surviving a Horror Movie”.
Sidney and Billy make love in the bedroom after talking to each other.
Hearing that Principal Himbry is disemboweled and hung from the goal post of the football field, the party attendees go out to see the crime scene, leaving Sidney, Billy, Randy and Stu.
Gale and her cameraman Kenny Brown have been watching the hidden camera footage in an OB van.
Dewey invites Gale to walk around with him to check if there is a suspicious car. Walking with Gale, Dewey discovers Neil’s car.
When Sidney is talking with Billy, the killer appears and stabs Billy.
Sidney jumps out of an upstairs window and escapes. She discovers Tatum’s dead body at the garage door.
Sidney escapes into the OB van. The killer follows her, and he slashes Kenny’s throat. Sidney is also stabbed by the killer, but she manages to escape.
Gale tries to escape in her van, but crashes into a tree after swerving off the road while trying to avoid Sidney who jumped in front of her van.
Sidney finds Dewey coming out from Stu’s house with a knife on his back.
In the ending part of the film, startling facts behind the series of murders are revealed, and Sidney confronts the killer.