Scream is one of the most prolific slasher movies of the last decades even responsible for kick starting a whole new load of movies based on the simple premise of a killer stalking and killing his victims one by one. At the time of its release the slasher movie was practically dead and buried. Freddy was dead, even though New Nightmare was released two years earlier, Jason had gone to hell and Michael Meyers was stalking around in the truly dreadful Halloween 6 a year earlier putting a final nail in the coffin of that franchise. Then out of nowhere comes Scream, a movie that not only appealed to a large crowd by being more about scares and mystery than gore, but also turned the genre upside down by having the characters be familiar with scary movies and the rules of the genre. Topping it was the creation of Ghostface who not only spoke to the audience with his trivial questions, but also seemed to be flawed in his execution. This was a simple man under a mask who trips and falls during his fights with his victims. A big step away from the sometimes even supernatural entities who never have to run and who kill with efficiency.
In Scream a serial killer is active in the small town of Woodsburo. After losing two classmates the teenagers at Woodsburo High start speculating about the identity of the killer and discuss horror movies at the same time. While the police investigate the murders and put out curfews these kids do what they always do; go to a big secluded mansion to party. Mourning in horror movies always lasts up until the funeral and then everybody seems to forget about the victims.
Scream works on two levels. On the surface it’s an old fashioned slasher movie while at the same time it let’s the characters know they’re in a slasher movie. Next to that the world created in Scream is larger than in most slashers. Yes, this is a small town, nothing extraordinary there, but there are backstories put in and reporters from out of town come to cover the story. There is a world outside Woodsburo which gives the movie somewhat of a greater depth.
In its genre Scream is one of the best movies ever made, but considering this is a genre full of extremely bad movies that is not really saying much. But Scream transcends the slasher genre by making everything a human as possible. Ghostface is just a guy/girl in a mask. The movie is not so much about picking off teens one after another but neatly incorporates a whodunnit element in the story, with a really surprising revelation of the man behind the mask.
Scream is a movie about slasher movies and ironically was the inspiration for a whole new wave of slasher movies which looked better than their 80’s counterparts but other than that did nothing new expect use the whodunnit plot over and over again.