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In 1996, director Wes Craven introduced the world to a brand new horror classic in the shape of Scream. The movie is a post-modern delight, gleefully making fun of slasher tropes that had accumulated over the years... but it's hard to argue that it's a flawless movie. Need some proof? Give the video below a gander and open your eyes a little wider.
CinemaSins has gotten into the Halloween spirit this week by launching a Scream-themed episode of their Everything Wrong With... series, and as you can see from the final count, there are some pretty big problems with the way that the film functions narratively. Truth be told, once you look back on the movie with a full understanding of Billy and Stu's plan and execution, the whole thing doesn't really make a whole ton of sense.
The problems are present from the very beginning of the movie, as the iconic opening scene starring Drew Barrymore creates a good number of problems for the plot. As is pointed out in the video, the way the killer/killers move around Casey's house doesn't make a lot of sense in terms of reality, but the issues go much deeper than that. If Billy and Stu were always planning to frame Sidney's dad for Sidney's murder on the anniversary of her mother's death, how does killing Casey earlier in the week support their plan? And why does nobody look into the phone records of the first murder when the victim was clearly on the line at the time she was killed?
Of course, the conclusion has a number of significant problems as well - most notably the way that Billy and Stu act as they execute the final part of their plan. I can excuse monolog-ing and giving away their plan on behalf of craziness, but I've never understood why they would start stabbing each other before they took the opportunity to kill Sidney. That's something that has honestly bugged me since the first time I saw Scream at a young age.
Problematic as Kevin Williamson's script winds up being, a lot of it can be forgiven just because of the tremendous nature of the presentation. Looking at Scream in the context of all the ridiculous slasher movies that came out of the 1980s, the movie is a genius breath of fresh air that really wound up turning the genre on its ear. Even after you know how it all plays out, it's still rewarding just because of its true appreciation of what horror is and what it means within pop culture. I actually very recently re-watched Scream as part of my very own cinematic run-up to Halloween, and I know that I will continue that tradition for many more years into the future.