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Scream is a 1996 American slasher film written by Kevin Williamson and directed by Wes Craven. The film stars Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, Drew Barrymore, and David Arquette. Released on December 20, 1996, Scream follows the character of Sidney Prescott (Campbell), a high school student in the fictional town of Woodsboro, who becomes the target of a mysterious killer known as Ghostface. Other main characters include Sidney's best friend Tatum Riley (Rose McGowan), Sidney's boyfriend Billy Loomis (Skeet Ulrich), film geek Randy Meeks (Jamie Kennedy), deputy sheriff Dewey Riley (Arquette), and news reporter Gale Weathers (Cox). The film combined comedy and "whodunit" mystery with the violence of the slasher genre to satirize the cliché of the horror genre popularized in films such as Halloween and Friday the 13th. The film was considered unique at the time of its release for featuring characters who were aware of real world horror films and openly discussed the cliché that Scream attempted to subvert. Based partly on the real-life case of the Gainesville Ripper, Scream was inspired by Williamson's passion for horror films, especially Halloween (1978).
What has been billed as the first 'really scary' movie in a long time surprisingly lives up to its promise (due, in part, to the fact that there hasn't been a really scary movie since The Exorcist III in 1990), with plenty of screaming on the screen and in the audience. Wes Craven's Scream is a true exercise in the horror film -- an in-depth study of the genre that terrifies at the same time as it good-naturedly pokes a little fun at itself.
Anyway, Miramax is practically begging critics not to reveal the plot, so I'll just give you the starting point: an all-alone Drew Barrymore answers a phone call from a deranged killer, and it goes downhill from there. Be aware that the 'star' of the show is not Barrymore, but is actually Neve Campbell (The Craft). And the real stars are a couple of her character's friends, played by a now-blonde Rose McGowan (The Doom Generation) and Matthew Lillard (Hackers), who totally steal the show.
Of course, these are only two of the dozens of characters who serve as Fresh Meat for our killer, the most notable of which is probably Courteney Cox as a trashy tabloid TV reporter covering the story.
Thank God Craven has imbued Scream with witty dialogue, fine plot development, and an ending that actually seems remotely plausible. While he does let up with the terror in the final act (I won't be having any nightmares tonight), I left pleasantly surprised and a bit shaken up from so much jumping in my seat. I'm sure you'll agree. It's a... well... a scream.
She ain't ordering no pizza.