I was totally inspired by Zoë at The Sporadic Chronicles of a Beginner Blogger to check out Scream films after she reviewed all four parts. And I continued by watching MTV’s and Netflix’s collaboration series based on the films. And I was kind of pleasantly surprised. All of them weren’t total waste of time.
Directed by Wes Craven
Written by Kevin Williamson
Starring Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, David Arquette, Skeet Ulrich, Rose McGowan & Matthew Lillard
Synopsis (provided by IMDb): “Attempting to cope with her mother’s murder, Sydney and her horror movie-obsessed friends are stalked by a murderer who seems to have a hard time letting the past go.”
If you haven’t seen Scream, you should watch it. It’s a classic. Craven and Williamson redefined horror genre with this flick. I remember when I saw it for the first time. It was the first day of the year and I guess I felt a bit hangovery and kind of relaxed because I remember laughing out loud a lot. Scream combines all cliches of horror genre and laughs at them. But it’s still a bit exciting. At least if you watch it alone.
“What’s your favorite scary movie?”
Scream has survived the time. It looks very much ’90’s but it’s as the new series (reviewed later in this post) shows it could as easily be happening now with a bunch on technological advances. Craven was a master horror director but to me Scream works because Williamson is an excellent writer (on and off though; do never see Cursed if you haven’t yet). He’s at his best in horror/high school genre, but I also love Dawson Creek where he made his characters much older dialogue-wise than annoying teens usually are. But Scream is his master work, I think. It’s also his first writing job. It’s funny as hell but still surprising and very interesting to follow. You sure don’t know what’s going to happen next. What I and I think the most of the viewers like the best is how Scream reminds us how horror flicks usually go and then shows it. Hilarious.
Of course all actors play nicely. Sidney is great example of good girl from neighbour and so are the usual characters from horror genre. I enjoyed how they are build and how they are played. It also helps that Skeet Ulrich was such a hottie back then.
I’m blabbing. Anyway, Scream works. I liked it even more this time around that I did the first time or in between. It might be a bit nostalgic but who cares?! Just enjoy the script, it’s a rare treat.
Rating: **** (out of 5)
SCREAM 2 (1997)
Directed & Written by same guys
Starring: same guys and some more
I just realised that the less you know who is in, the less spoilers there are in case you haven’t seen these films.
Scream 2 is by far not as good as the original. For some reason I found its beginning hugely annoying and supporting characters that are new just are not interesting enough to carry the story. And the biggest fail is the obvious one. According to the greatest film critic Robert Ebert “each film is only as good as its villain” and that is so true. Scream 2 (and actually 3 and 4 as well) forgets that. Or then they just wrote way too good villain to number one and the sequels just couldn’t compete with that one. Good thing is that all sequels make fun of that fact and the villain in number one is remembered thorough. But again, the dialogue clicks and there are some memorable moments in the second film too. Though I’m just trying to remember some and it’s a bit hard. So maybe not. At least there’s Sarah Michelle Gellar whom I love!
SCREAM 3 (2000)
Directed by Craven
Written by Ehren Kruger (characters obviously by Williamson)
Starring same folk and some
This part is made more like a comedy. And not very good one. And it feels much cheaper than the previous installments. Then again, if you look Scream 3 that it is intentionally made over-the-top like its tagline says “the final scream will be the loudest”, it works a bit better. I kind of hate all the characters, including Sidney the protagonist. She steps up her game quite a lot from the second part but she’s still a whiner. No Ellen Ripley there.
But the positive side is that I remembered this to be much worse. It actually wasn’t. I enjoyed it enough. I don’t really know what to say. Nothing new here. We go through the same cliches, how the film should go when it’s the final part of trilogy and then it’s rolling.
SCREAM 4 (2011)
Made by same folk plus some stars of today like Emma Roberts, Hayden Panittiere & Alison Brie plus bunch of cameos
11 years and several Courtney Cox’s plastic surgeries later we have the final Scream for now. And it’s back to its roots surpassing parts 2 and 3. Even the villain is almost there. But the scariest thing still is that modified face of Mrs. Cox. Kind of sorry about that as I like her. I watched parts three and four in a row last night and her face really popped out.
Anyway, Scream 4 is updated to suit the time and it suits quite nicely. The story is familiar from the original one and it works well. No one is particularly annoying but you don’t really care about them either. I’m trying to think of something more to say but I can’t really figure out anything original. Williamson writes better than he did in part two and there is a hint of originality in this installment and some relevant commenting of the world we are living right now with our obsessions of ourselves.
SCREAM – The series (2015)
Created by Jay Beattie, Jill E. Blotevogel & Dan Dworkin (Williamson wrote the pilot)
Starring Willa Fitzgerald, Bex Taylor-Klaus, John Karna, Carlson Young, Amadeus Serafini, Tracy Middendorf, Tom Maden, Amelia Rose Blaire, Connor Weil & Bobby Campo
First of all, I love the fact that this series Scream is paying serious respect to original movie. The mood is there, the dialogue is there, the characters are like they could be in the first film, everything is pure homage to original material and that works! It’s not a masterwork but it surely is entertaining pop culture piece.
Secondly, I love that they used (some very handsome ->) new faces in the series. When you don’t know the players, you never know who’s going to get it and how soon. That is a trend today (see Game of Thrones for example) and it is great! It is actually pointed out in the script how much it hurts when one of your favourite characters is killed after you started to love the character and root for her/him:
Noah Foster: Gotta remember that the whodunit may not be as important in our story… You need to figure that it’s a horror story, that someone might die at every turn. You have to care if the smokin’ hot lit teacher seems a little too interested in his female students. You have to care if the team wins the big game. You have to care if the smart, pretty girl forgives the dumb jock.
Riley Marra: Sounds like Friday Night Lights
Noah Foster: Exactly. You root for them, you love them, so when they are brutally murdered, it hurts.
And as you can see from that clip of dialogue, the series is full of references to other series and films. I love that! Make sure your up to your viewing though or you might get spoiled. Not badly, thankfully.
Unfortunately, Scream fizzles out of steam at some point between sixth and seventh episode (altogether 10) and fills in too much drama. That very annoying teenage girl kind of drama. Ugh. But it picks up again in the last episode. I did knew the killer though, so I hope they will be more inventive in the second season that I will be, for sure, watching.
Oh, and the soundtrack. They do make good music still! Yay for that. Listen to this nice playlist in YouTube from the first season. And the mask! Oh yeah, so much better than the original Ghostface’s.
Rating: ***½ (I would have given four without that annoying teenage girl drama.)