By the mid-90s, the horror genre was in a critical and commercial slump. Not content with already having rejuvenated the genre once before with 1984’s A Nightmare on Elm Street, horror maestro Wes Craven reinvented the horror film with this 1997 classic, adding another instantly iconic killer to the pantheon of great slasher villains in the process.
The residents of the picturesque small town of Woodsboro are being victimised by a masked killer with a twisted love for scary movies. After the iconic opening scene (in which Craven gleefully rips up the rule book by immediately offing his biggest star) we’re introduced to the film’s likable (and extremely ‘90s) cast; Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, Matthew Lillard, David Arquette. In a dazzling act of metatextual acrobatics, _Scream_’s true stroke of genius is that these youngsters all know the rules of the slasher genre just as well as we do. Can they somehow channel their knowledge of horror tropes to survive? With Scream, you can practically feel Craven’s delight at poking fun at the horror genre. Whip-smart, funny, and yes, very gory, it might just be the defining horror film of the 1990s.