Wes Craven has to be my favorite horror director of all time. I started my journey into the genre when I was but a wee child, watching A Nightmare on Elm Street on VHS until the film sputtered out. The Hills Have Eyes gave me such horrendous nightmares, but that never stopped me from reliving the scares of cannibals murdering a family. But in the midst of all of his great films, there is one that stands out as my absolute favorite horror movie of all time. It asks the very question, “What’s your favorite scary movie?” And to that, I answer with Scream.
The first time I watched Scream was when I was much older than I was when I watched the aforementioned films. I might have been about fifteen, bored, scrolling through Netflix to see what useless entertainment I can watch to keep my brain busy. I saw Scream was on there, put it on, and I’ve seen it about a billion times since then. It has everything a great horror movie needs – a fun and tense opening scene, a strong female lead character that is not over-sexualized, great actors, and Matthew Lillard. That’s all you need in any movie really.
A lot of our favorite horror movies are fun, but they have that level of fantasy to them where they’re clearly not realistic and would (hopefully) never happen to anyone. That doesn’t diminish enjoyment of those movies, of course. But, for me anyway, that’s just what makes Scream ten times scarier than something like A Nightmare on Elm Street. There isn’t a killer trying to kill you via dream, or a young girl crawling out of your TV screen, or a murderer possessing a child’s toy, but rather it’s your own friends, people you thought you could trust, causing you unspeakable harm. Can you imagine Sidney’s therapy bill?
Scream is a movie I recommend to anyone and everyone. To me, it’s the perfect horror movie. Great actors, great story, keeps you guessing from beginning to end, and it’s a timeless classic. No matter when I watch it, it doesn’t seem to age. It has lighthearted self-awareness that is fun, clever, and never distracting. All the references are subtle, yet they’re essential parts of the story and don’t derail the narrative. There’s certainly something in the film for everyone, whether you’re an avid horror lover or if you just enjoy horror occasionally. Wes Craven put his whole pussy into this movie and it shows. Long live this fantastic movie, long live my favorite film director, and long live Matthew Lillard.
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