|Directed by||Wes Craven|
|Produced by||Cathy Konrad|
|Written by||Kevin Williamson|
|Music by||Marco Beltrami|
|Editing by||Patrick Lussier|
|Distributed by||Dimension Films|
|Release||December 20, 1996|
|Running time||111 minutes|
|Followed by||Scream 2|
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). The script, originally titled Scary Movie, was bought by Dimension Films and was retitled by the Weinstein Brothers just before filming was complete. The production faced censorship issues with the Motion Picture Association of America and obstacles from locals while filming on location. The film went on to financial and critical acclaim, earning $173 million worldwide, and became the highest-grossing slasher film in the US in unadjusted dollars. It received several awards and award nominations. The soundtrack by Marco Beltrami was also acclaimed, and was cited as "[one] of the most intriguing horror scores composed in years". It has since earned "cult status". Scream marked a change in the genre as it cast already-established and successful actors, which was considered to have helped it find a wider audience, including a significant female viewership.
Scream was credited with revitalizing the horror genre in the 1990s, which was considered to be almost dead following an influx of direct-to-video titles and numerous sequels to established horror franchises of the 1970s and 1980s. These sequels drew decreasing financial and critical success, as they exploited clichés that films in the genre had become reliant upon. Scream's success spawned a series of sequels, though only Scream 2, released in 1997, achieved a level of commercial and critical success equal to the original film. In the years following the release of Scream, the film was accused of inspiring and even inducing violent crimes and murders.
High school student Casey Becker receives a flirtatious phone call from an unknown person, asking her, "What's your favorite scary movie?" The situation quickly escalates out of control as the caller turns sadistic and threatens her life. He reveals that her boyfriend Steve is being held hostage. After failing to answer a question correctly about horror films, Steve is murdered. When Casey refuses to cooperate with the caller, she is attacked and murdered by a masked killer, and her body is hanged from a tree.
The following day, the news media descend on the town and a police investigation begins. Meanwhile, Sidney Prescott struggles with the impending one-year anniversary of her mother's murder by Cotton Weary. While waiting at home for her friend Tatum Riley, Sidney receives a threatening phone call. After she hangs up, she is attacked by the killer. Sidney's boyfriend Billy Loomis arrives and offers support, but after he drops his cell phone Sidney suspects him of making the call. She flees. Billy is arrested and Tatum takes Sidney to her house.
Billy is released the next day. Suspicion has shifted to Sidney's father Neil Prescott, as the calls have been traced to his phone. School is suspended in the wake of the murders. After the students have left the school, Principal Himbry is stabbed to death in his office. Billy's friend Stu Macher throws a party to celebrate the school closure. The party is attended by Sidney, Tatum, their friend Randy Meeks, and several other students. Reporter Gale Weathers attends uninvited to cover the situation, as she expects the killer to strike. Deputy sheriff Dewey Riley also looks out for murder at the party. Tatum is killed during the party after having her head crushed by a garage door. Billy arrives to speak to Sidney privately, and the two ultimately consummate their relationship. Dewey and Gale investigate a nearby abandoned car. Many party attendees are drawn away after hearing news of Himbry's death; Randy, Sidney, Billy, Stu, and Gale's cameraman Kenny remain.
After having sex, Sidney and Billy are attacked by the killer, who seemingly murders Billy. Sidney escapes the killer and seeks help from Kenny, but he gets his throat slit by the killer. Sidney again flees. Gale and Dewey, having discovered the car belongs to Neil Prescott, return to the house. They believe Neil is the killer and has come to the party to continue his spree. Gale attempts to leave the scene in her van but drives off-road and crashes to avoid hitting Sidney. Meanwhile, Dewey is stabbed in the back while investigating in the house. Sidney takes Dewey's gun. Stu and Randy appear and accuse each other of being the killer. Sidney retreats into the house, where she finds Billy, wounded but still alive. She gives Billy the gun; he lets Randy into the house and then shoots him. Billy has feigned his injuries and is actually the killer; Stu is his accomplice.
Billy and Stu discuss their plan to kill Sidney and frame her father—whom they have taken hostage—for their murder spree. The pair admit to being the killers of her mother, Maureen. Billy says he was motivated to seek revenge on Maureen because of an affair she was having with Billy's father, Hank, which drove his mother away. Gale, thought dead by the killers, intervenes. Sidney takes advantage of this to turn the tables on her attackers, killing Stu. Randy is revealed to be wounded but alive. Billy attacks Sidney but she shoots him through the head, killing him. As the sun rises and police arrive, a badly injured Dewey is taken away by ambulance and Gale makes an impromptu news report about the night's events.
- Drew Barrymore as Casey
- Roger Jackson as Phone Voice (voice)
- Kevin Patrick Walls as Steve
- David Booth as Casey's Father
- Carla Hatley as Casey's Mother
- Neve Campbell as Sidney
- Skeet Ulrich as Billy
- Lawrence Hecht as Mr. Prescott
- Courteney Cox as Gale Weathers
- W. Earl Brown as Kenny
- Scream at the Internet Movie Database
|Scream • Scream 2 • Scream 3 • Scream 4|
|Drew Barrymore films|
|Courteney Cox films|
|Neve Campbell films|