Even if you’ve never seen a slasher in your life, you know the formula. They’re so overplayed that just about anybody could make one, and it’s usually the first type of movie a filmmaker sets out to make. Enter director Wes Craven, who made his name creating one of the most prominent horror franchises of all time with A Nightmare on Elm Street. In the 90s he got the bright idea to make a pseudo-parody of the slasher genre, but in making Scream he ended up just making a slasher that is so lazy that it tells you how bad it’s going to be.
I don’t really know how to explain the plot of this movie because there really isn’t a plot to it. A killer comes in and starts killing a bunch of kids. It stars Neve Campbell, Skeet Ulrich, Rose McGowan, Matthew Lillard, Jamie Kennedy, Courtney Cox and David Arquette. The catch is that it is a completely self-aware film, with characters constantly referring to other movies and how cliché everything is in horror films. But the movie itself does a lot of these clichés. And I get that this is sort of the point, but why would you set out to make a bad movie? For nostalgia? Watch the old movie. Rerelease it. If you make a movie that is intentionally bad, you can’t possibly have a movie that is more than “bad.”
If the movie actually tried to break more rules than it does then it might have been more interesting. Instead they opt to only break some of the rules and keep others in tact, making it so you don’t know which ones are going to be broken and which ones aren’t. Okay, that could work, but then you throw in the other cliché where every actor is awful. I don’t know if this was intentional but it doesn’t feel like it. It feels like the actors really are just bad and it makes guessing who the killer is incredibly easy. Well, that and the fact that they basically explain it right out to you. They never make it hard to figure out what’s going on and seem to ignore a lot of rules of slashers. For instance, at one point a character labels himself a suspect. But because the scene is filmed in a way that doesn’t make him suspicious at all, you know it can’t be him now. That and they don’t really give you a whole lot of options on who it could be.
But maybe solving the mystery isn’t really the point. Maybe it’s all about the endgame and how things play out once you’ve had the big reveal. Once you get to this point, once the killer has revealed himself, the movie just stops caring. It explains straight up to you that it is lazy and that it’s taking the lazy way out. Ultimately there is no purpose to this film and it rubs this in your face at the end.It’s just Wes Craven’s smugness on screen for two hours (yeah, why did this have to be two hours again?). We get it, you like horror films. We don’t need you gloating about your knowledge of them on screen. And really I wouldn’t even have a problem with that if he had actually made a good horror film.
As far as the reasons you go to see a horror flick, the kills are lame, there is no nudity and everything plays out exactly as it complains about other movies doing. It’s an entire film based on the rule that you don’t reference a good movie in your bad movie.