Whatever possessed me to re-watch Scream is beyond me, but for argument’s sake, let’s call it nostalgia. So when this “nostalgia” washed over me and I felt compelled to re-watch the first, I had a couple warning signs that I chose to pay no attention to. First of all, when a whole trilogy is under 15 bucks on Amazon? True, there are some of those movies that end up like that on Amazon because they’re misunderstood gems of their time. Scream is not such a case. If that wasn’t enough, we’re talking Neve Campbell here, okay? Aside from the occasional bi-curious threesome (thank you for that Wild Things) what other good things has she done in her life? These are the questions people, these are the questions to be asking.
As you can probably tell, I ignored good reason and common sense and watched anyway. It’s an interesting premise, the whole “play up the conventions of the scary movie to re-create a scary movie” thing, but somewhere along the way, I’m pretty sure Wes Craven stopped caring. Does anybody remember when Wes Craven did care? Last House on the Left? Original mind you, although the remake is pass-able. I’ll even accept the campiness of the Nightmare on Elm Street movies because at least then he knew what was meant to be scary to his audience and what was ment to be a joke. With Scream, that line is blurred. Things that I felt were meant to be scary ended up being laughable. I mean, was Rose McGowan’s death supposed to be funny? I couldn’t really tell you, but I laughed. Maybe that just means I’m going to hell. Adding to confusion is the existence of the whole Scary Movie franchise, which parodies various slashers, Scream being among them. But if Scream is a parody itself, what good is a parody of a parody? Does such a thing even exist? Well, I guess so because we’re up to Scary Movie 4, but that just begs the question, isn’t the existence of Scary Movie proves that Craven failed in objective of making a mockery of what the genre has become? I can’t say for sure, but it seems it.
What I am certain of is that Scream suffers for its lack of clear definition of just what it is. Sure, it’s enjoyable as an artifact of late 90s horror. It’s even better as a movie to watch with a group of folks as a reminder of how lame you were to think that this was a horrifying movie. All in all, Scream is dated, but remains enjoyable mostly as a childhood memory. But if you’re looking for something really scary and all you’ve got is Scream, check out Courtney Cox’s green pantsuit. As just about every horror trailer says “There are some things better left in the past…”. Let’s count Scream as one of them.