Sunday, April 18, 2010
the countdown continues, a review for the movie Scream by the awesome writer Michael Varrati
Hello and welcome back to the Flaming Sneakers! this time we come with a spectacular guest post by the awesome writer Michael Varrati. Michael Varrati is a published author, journalist, and essayist. Often writing within and on the genre of horror, his works have appeared in such publications as Ultra Violent magazine, Open Thread, Messy Magazine, Luna Negra, and the web-based review site Fatally-Yours. Midnight Fright is his one and only official blog. Michael does not usually write for other blogs however he was generous enough to help me and allow me to post this review! please visit his blog if you like the review his blog is called midnight Fright, http://midnightfright.blogspot.com/.
here we go with the review!
Following an oversaturation of horror films on the market at the end of the ‘80s, most movie-goers had grown tired of the same old-same old at the multiplex. The genre, while occasionally having a gem here or there, had grown largely lazy and corporate, presenting very little material that was fresh and innovative.
But in 1996, something remarkable happened: One of the genre’s most famous names reemerged, reinvented himself, and blew the lid off of a whole new generation of fright.
That man was Wes Craven and that film was Scream.
…and love it or hate it, Scream changed everything.
The film tells the story of Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), an average teen girl whose life was ripped apart by the murder of her mother a year prior to the film’s opening. Although the (alleged) killer has been apprehended and Sidney has been allowed to return to the quiet mediocrities of high school existence, the peace is soon broken when a new killer begins stalking Sid and her classmates, systematically murdering them in the classic slasher formula. The deaths cause a sizeable panic, bringing the national media to town, and with them, Sidney’s old adversary, reporter Gail Weathers (Courtney Cox, in a masterful performance). With Gail in town, Sid’s friends dying, and a killer that seems to be targeting her specifically, the question is raised….did Sidney finger the wrong man for her mother’s murder or is there a new, more heinous killer on the loose?
With the stage set, the players brought together, and a clever murderer lurking in the shadows, Scream moves like a freight-train to its blood-soaked finale.
Of course, based on that description alone, one would assume that Scream was no different than a countless array of other slasher flicks, complete with final girl and disposable teens. That said, what makes this film so significant is not the basic plot but the minutia of its content. This is one of those flicks where the devil is in the details.
The film is fueled by a love of horror and all that has come before it…and not so discreetly. Loaded with blatant references to other horror films, Scream is a meta-filmic event of a monumentally postmodern level. From a character who teaches his fellow teens the “rules of surviving a horror movie” to a killer whose third act reveal gleefully acknowledges the whole murder spree was inspired by horror films, Scream keeps tongue firmly planted in cheek, giving the audience a knowing wink.
In essence, Scream is the ultimate love letter to horror cinema and its fans. It can be appreciated and embraced by those outside the genre, but also serves as a brilliantly constructed and knowing homage for those of us who have grown with horror over the years. The film took an industry that was floundering and gave it a kick in the balls. It reminded fans AND filmmakers that horror can be fun and fresh again, inspiring a whole generation to get up off their duffs and get to producing quality work.
These days, pale imitations of Scream are a dime-a-dozen, and while too many movies may contain that knowing wink that Craven used with such zest, it does not diminish the impact of this landmark motion picture.
Scream set the stage for the next decade, maybe beyond…and if it just seems that too many movies are like it now, it is only because it is the movie standard to which so many horror films aspire.
To make a long story short, Scream is one of those movies that is definitive of its genre. So, if you haven’t seen it…maybe it’s time you get defined.