Scream (1996)

1h 51 / R / Horror

Dates and Times

Great ideas are only obvious in hindsight. Of course somebody should have made a movie like Scream, we all say, seated comfortably in 2017 when the whole idea of a horror movie about horror movies has been played out, lampooned, revived and reburied. But think about the horror movie landscape pre-Scream. From the revival of the slasher movie in 1978 to 1996, probably thousands of teenagers pretended to be murdered on film. Not once did any one of them wink to the audience or say “hey, this seems like a movie.” Are we expected to believe they lived in a universe without horror movies? Had Jason’s victims in Friday the 13th part VII never seen Halloween 4?

Scream’s premise is that they could have, but further than that, that the fact that horror movie victims might be familiar with horror movie tropes makes the movie itself scarier. It means no one is safe. It means the characters have to question what’s possible, what’s real. And that’s not something that horror movie characters get the chance to do very often. It’s metafictional in the best possible way, and yes it got aped too frequently and had too many sequels. But for at least a minute there, Scream was something that had never been done before.

Doors & bar opens a half-hour before show time

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