My at-home viewing is jumping from one trilogy to the next. I just finished the Matrix trilogy, and now it's time to start watching the Scream films. Yes, I know that there's a fourth Scream film, but it was released years after the third film and can be judged as a different entity.
It's almost 20 years since "Scream" was released. I'm not sure how well it's known, except among horror fans. A friend of mine calls anything made before 2000 an old film. I agree that we need some sort of dividing line between new and old, or maybe different lines to divide different eras of cinema, but I don't think that 2000 was a significant year, as far as cinema is considered. I would say that the new era began in 1996, because that was the year that DVDs first appeared on the market. By that definition "Scream" would qualify as a new film, since it appeared in the cinemas in December 1996.
The film is "new" in other ways. It revitalised the horror genre, which had grown stale since the 1980's due to repeated formulas and endless sequels. Wes Craven was partly responsible for this, after churning out six sequels to "Nightmare on Elm Street", each worse than the one before. He realised that both he and the industry in general needed a fresh start. This fresh start was "Scream". It's difficult to pin its success on any one reason. Unknown young actors? A light-hearted, almost humorous treatment of death?
What I like about it is that it's a clever parody of the whole horror film genre. The characters are all horror film fans, and they're living their lives as if they're living in a horror movie.
Sidney: "But this is life. This isn't a movie".
Billy: "Sure it is, Sid. It's all one great big movie. Only you can't pick your genre".
Randy describes the rules of horror films to his friends, the rules that need to follow in order to survive:
- Don't have sex.
- Don't drink or do drugs.
- Never say "I'll be right back".
If you like good horror films, you will enjoy "Scream". It relies on suspense, not gore, and it's intelligent enough to make you think.