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Scott Ventura >> Movie Commentary >> February 2000 >> Scream


Movie Commentary by Scott Ventura


Scott's Rating:
4 / 5
Times Seen:
Viewing Date:
February 2000
IMDB Name:
Scream (1996)
Wes Craven
horror, mystery
MPAA Rating:
R for strong graphic horror violence and gore, and for language.

No Background

I'm one of those people whose movie knowledge is spotty at best when it comes to certain genres. Consider the classic horror movies I still haven't seen: The Exorcist, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Halloween, Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Silence of the Lambs, and forget about the sequels! I have finally caved, though, to see Scream, which at least featured some comedic promise. I found that I was the only one laughing, probably because of the non-horror related movie clichés like incorrect phone sounds or the cinematic uses of bathrooms. Why does Sidney go into the bathroom? She never does finish fishing around in her backpack to show us.

Anyway, even though I didn't have the normal prerequisites under my belt going in, I still really enjoyed Kevin Williamson's screenplay. It's the little things like combining Wes Craven and John Carpenter together to create "Wes Carpenter", a name any sufficiently knowledgeable audience member will recognize and chuckle at because they know exactly how it came to be. Of course, almost everything in Scream is funny because it plays off of audience knowledge of conventions. I must also say that the ending was quite nice, and largely devoid of predictability, although I did correctly guess one method of death at the end, and a few reanimations. Williamson and Craven also get points for having the killer not be terrifically invulnerable. It's fun to watch him get slowed down because he is, after all, human.


Horror is not a genre known for its acting. I don't think I was particularly impressed by any of the acting, but I still enjoyed some of the performances. Drew Barrymore got high billing for a relatively small amount of screen time, but she sinks her teeth into the part and plays it with great gusto. Regardless, of all the cast members, I'd have to say my favorite is Matthew Lillard. His expressions are always over the top, and he can pull them out with great speed. The pig in me says that Neve Campbell could've edged him out if it weren't for that darned no-nudity clause that also called for interesting camera angles in Wild Things. Rose McGowan gets special bonus points for walking into the garage as though she'd already been in a fridge. Does that count as a continuity error? I would also like to add an honorable mention for Henry Winkler as the tough school principal. He certainly wields those scissors with authority!


DVD Comments

The Scream DVD is certainly overflowing with goodies. There are two theatrical trailers (neither is widescreen), an astonishing seven TV commercials, a production featurette, a few minutes of one-question interviews of cast and crew, two behind-the-scenes making-of clips, stills of production sketches, some trivia notes, and biographies for the director, writer, and eight cast members. Having that many trailers and commercials makes it painfully obvious how absurdly frequently they made use of the shot of Rose McGowan entering the garage. The biography for one cast member has an asterisk through the title of a film. Granted, the title has the f-word in it, but this is an R movie, and presumably an R or beyond DVD.

For audio choices, there is a 5.1 track and the director/writer commentary. I haven't figured out why the audio is only switchable in the Bonus Features menu and not during the movie. The commentary, billed in the menus as only being Craven, features Craven and Williamson talking about the usual stuff. As a plus, they go through all but the last thirty seconds of the credits. English captions are also present, but they have some interesting transcription errors, indicating to me that they were either done as dictation, or perhaps from an earlier version of the script. Of course, when Drew Barrymore is sobbing I can understand having trouble distinguishing "Michael, Michael, Michael!" and "Michael, Michael Myers!". The commentary tips off some cast-improvised lines, and those are transcribed correctly, so they were probably done by dictation.

See the IMDB information on Scream's DVD or compare prices at DVD Price Search.

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Copyright 2000-2002 by Scott Ventura. All rights reserved.