The Scariest Things: ‘Scream’


Courtesy Netflix

Assistant Opinion Editor Jula Utzschneider writes that suspenseful scenes and superb acting compensate for the lacking cinematography and substance in “Scream”.

Jula Utzschneider, Assistant Opinion Editor

Are you ready for blood, gore and jump scares? This week, I watched “Scream” (1996), inspired by the true events of the Florida serial-killer, the Gainesville Ripper, and directed by Wes Craven.

This gory movie follows Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), a high school student in the fictional town of Woodsboro, California, whose mother had been killed the year before. After two of her classmates are murdered, Prescott becomes the target of a mysterious killer in a Halloween costume known as Ghostface, who taunts his victims on the phone before ultimately killing them. The story also involves Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox), a reporter who believes that the man on death row, accused of raping and murdering Prescott’s mother, may be innocent. 

Without further ado, let’s start the review.

Scream by Jula Utzschneider

Fright Factor: How scary is the movie?

Rating: 6/10

“Scream” is one of the few horror movies I’ve seen where the movie is intense right from the start. In the first scene, Casey Becker (Drew Barrymore) is home alone making popcorn when she gets a phone call from someone she doesn’t know. After hanging up, assuming they had the wrong number, the person keeps calling, even asking her on a date. At first, she finds it funny, until the person claims to be able to see her at that moment, after which she is extremely terrified. This opening scene and the climax were very successful in their scare-level and ability to create suspense. 

This movie was different from typical horror movies in that it didn’t have a lot of cheesy and unnecessary scares. That being said, I do think it would have been beneficial to add more in, because sometimes a few cheap scares are good for a movie instead of bad. Considering how much I liked the suspenseful scenes that were included, I have no doubt that a few more would have added to the film. 

Plot: Is the storyline/script interesting?

Rating: 8/10

When I first picked this film, I was expecting a cheesy-slasher movie but was pleasantly surprised. The unknown identity of the killer kept the town (and me) on edge the entire time, constantly wondering who the next victim would be. Every time I thought I knew who the murderer was, another character would start acting suspicious and have me questioning everything that had led up to that point. 

As for the script, it was fairly simple and easy to understand, with the dialogue containing a lot of humor. However, at some points, the visuals and background play more of a role than the words themselves. This especially plays a part in the principal’s office, when someone knocks on his door multiple times, and eerie music starts to play. He looks around outside, and upon seeing nothing he goes back to his office, where he faces a surprise.

Quality: How well is it produced? How good is the acting?

Rating: 6/10

This movie is produced fairly well and the production is pretty solid across the board, but nothing about the cinematography stood out to me. That being said, the movie was more about being fun and scary, rather than being a masterpiece of production. The acting in this movie was very good, especially by Skeet Ulrich, who played Sidney’s boyfriend Billy. The scene in the hallway with Sidney was particularly chilling, especially when he says “we all go a little mad” and shoots Randy (Jamie Kennedy).

Entertaining: How fun is it to watch?

Rating: 9/10

This movie is very fun to watch, especially with friends. It grabbed my attention from the very first scene until the big plot twist at the end. I especially love the constant humor and the characters referring to other horror movies (sometimes ironically) throughout.

Overall Rating: 7/10

While there isn’t much substance below the surface of “Scream,” its entertaining scenes and level of suspense make it an excellent way to let your brain relax and have a good time.

Have a frightful Friday everyone, and be sure to come back on December 18 for my review of “Halloween” (1978).