Revisit ‘Scream’ on its 25th anniversary

By Olivia Rosenberg, buzz Assistant Editor

Wes Craven’s 1996 slasher film “Scream” was the beginning of an iconic horror franchise spanning over three decades. After 25 years, the film is still credited for returning popularity to ‘90s slasher movies and shaping the modern horror genre. Currently, three sequels and a television show exist as a continuation of the dark, satirical story. A fifth installment of “Scream” is set for release on Jan. 14 with actors Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette and Roger L. Jackson returning to their roles from the original. 

With one of the most iconic openings in horror film history, the film begins with a chilling phone call that leads to the murder of high schooler Casey, played by Drew Barrymore, and her boyfriend. In the aftermath of the two deaths, Sidney Prescott, played by Campell, is forced to remember her mother’s murder from exactly a year ago as the anonymous killer, Ghostface, continues on a killing spree in Sidney’s hometown. Dressed in a Halloween mask and black cloak, the mystery of the villain leads everyone in town to become a suspect, even the careless teenagers using other horror flicks as their survival guides. 

Filled with heavy amounts of gore, the film sets itself to be one of the bloodiest films in the horror genre, making it a perfect watch for Halloween. Fight sequences are choreographed to maximize surprise and intensity. The electrifying score written by Marco Beltrami orchestrates much of the suspense in the film and adds a horrifying element to the murder sequences.  

Characters in the film have awareness of the classic scary movies clichés and even point them out openly, as if making a commentary about the film itself. With references to Jaime Lee Curtis, the scream queen herself, and other flicks like “Nightmare on Elm Street” and “Friday the 13th,” the movie is a reflection of the stereotypes shown in that horror era. At the time of its release, “Scream” was an addition to the preexisting formula of a slasher killer that has a voice without a name and a figure without a face. 

The screenplay, written by Kevin Williamson, is complete with enough plot twists and reveals to keep the audience engaged throughout the duration. When viewers think the mystery is headed in one direction, another line of information is uncovered that spins it into a whole other direction. The unpredictable murder case takes a simple concept and expands it by leading the audience down a trail of diversions. 

The suspense of the film is driven by restricted narration that invites the audience to question anyone and everyone. Yet with each intense moment, there is an element of humor that diffuses the tension built in the murder mystery. It may be a violent, murderous film, but it does not take itself too seriously. With comedic actors like Matthew Lillard and Cox in the cast, the humorous components successfully accent the horror foundation the film is built on. 

The fifth installment of “Scream” will continue Sidney’s hunt for the succession of killers that all take on the title of Ghostface. The trailer teases an opening sequence with Jenna Ortega that is reminiscent of Barrymore’s scene in the original. Just as the original made references to older horror classics, there is no doubt the latest film will continue that pattern but also make references to the source material as well. 

“Scream” is a tribute to the iconic, teenage horror films that is unique in its self awareness. It is a perfect Halloween watch for horror lovers who would be excited to see references to other cult classics. The franchise will continue on in January, which leaves plenty of time to binge the original and its sequels in anticipation. 

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