The real legacy of “Scream” is the sense of obligation of the filmmakers, not only in the horror world, to let you know they know you’re on the cutting edge of the game – the familiar fashions, narrative rhythms, and genre conventions that a lifetime of watching movies has led audiences to expect. You see it in the way modern movie characters frequently discuss other movies, aware of the rules and traditions that govern similar stories and happy to explain them. And you see it in the pleasant, nodding demeanor of most modern superhero movies, whose irreverent humor aims to undermine any possible sense of seriousness and reassure the viewer that those responsible for this generic entertainment don’t take them too seriously. It is an insurance against the risk of criticism: It may be cliché, but we to know it’s cliché.
Five films to watch this winter
But the reason “Scream” endures – and the reason people still watch it – isn’t its humor or self-awareness. “Scream” is definitely a meta, but it’s also played straight out: it’s about horror movies, but most of all, it’s a real horror movie. Far from undermining the genre and simply satirizing convention, it exemplifies the genre and uses those conventions widely and masterfully, reminding audiences that even if you know the rules of a teen slasher movie, a slasher movie for well-done teens always have the ability to scare you. If “Scream” were just a lark, a feature film riff on horror tropes, it would be as boring and predictable as the movies it is satirical. But Craven understood that beyond all the winks, “Scream” must still be scary.
Craven’s latest film “Scream 4” (2011) is about a killer trying to “remake” the original “Scream” murders, and is itself a deconstruction of the conventions of horror remakes. Conceptually, it feels like he’s trying a little too hard to be smart. Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox), unraveling the plot, remarks: “How meta can you get?” Well, too meta, ultimately. While there have been more movies made in the “Scream” meta-horror lore, including “Cabin in the Woods” (2011) and “One Cut of the Dead” (2017), there were also which sounded like a backlash to the runaway hit style.
Many of the horror trends that flourished as a result of “Scream” – like the images found (“[REC]”,” Paranormal Activity “), J-horror (” The Ring “,” The Grudge “) and the so called” torture porn “(” Saw “,” Hostel “) – has strayed greatly from humor , irony and a whole sense of self-awareness, leaning more towards stark violence, graphic imagery and intense terror. It was almost as if, commenting on its own style and conventions, “Scream” both created a new kind of horror movie and immediately reached its logical conclusion. How do you do “Scream” after “Scream”? You can not. “Scream” was sui generis. Do not accept any imitation.