Scream, a horror film from Kevin Williamson and Wes Craven, opened in theaters December 1996. It grossed more than six million dollars its opening weekend. Kevin Williamson, writer and developer of the teen dramas Dawson's Creek and The Vampire Diaries, penned Scream. Wes Craven, a horror film veteran and master (The Last House on the Left, Nightmare on Elm Street, My Soul to Take) directed Scream.
The original Scream movie cast features several of young Hollywood's up-and-coming actors from the mid 1990s. Neve Campbell stars as Sidney Prescott, the target of the horror film's killer. At the time of Scream's release, Campbell was known for her role as Julia Salinger on the television series Party of Five. Courtney Cox of television's Friends portrays reporter Gale Weathers, David Arquette is Deputy Dewey and movie actor Liev Scheiber is Cotton Weary.
Skeet Ulrich portrays Billy Loomis, Sidney's boyfriend and Matthew Lillard is Stu, Billy's best friend. Rose McGowan is Tatum, Deputy Dewey's little sister and Sidney's best friend while Jamie Kennedy is their movie-quoting sidekick, Randy. Drew Barrymore has a special cameo at the very beginning of the film as the first victim to receive a call from Ghostface-the masked killer of Scream.
The action takes place in Woodsboro, a small California town. As the movie opens, it is nearing the one year anniversary of the murder of Sidney Prescott's mother by Cotton Weary. It was Sidney's testimony that convicted Cotton, yet he claims he is innocent. Reporter Gale Weathers has written a tell-all report about the Prescott murder and supports Cotton's claim that he is innocent. Sidney does not like Gale.
As the movie opens, two of Sidney's classmates are brutally murdered by someone wearing a costume consisting of a long black robe and a ghost-face mask. The murders occurring so close to the anniversary of the Prescott murder brings Sidney unwanted attention. Unfortunately, she is on the killer's radar as well. She is attacked in her home by Ghostface. Scream at this point gives audiences several characters to suspect as the killer, Ghostface. Kevin Williamson's writing combined with Wes Craven's clever directing, keeps audiences on the edges of their seats as movie gears up.
A great teen horror film needs a party or event to gather the key players for murder and mayhem. Scream does not deviate from this part of basic horror film outlines. Movie-geek Randy actually explains it to the teens gathered at the party, detailing the unalterable rules of a good horror film, that is if you plan on being the lone survivor. These rules include things like never being the one to say 'I'll be right back,' because in a typical horror movie the person who says that always is the one killed next.
Scream continues to play with the typical horror film "rules," picking off the characters one by one in various gruesome manners. However, unlike many other horror or slasher films, Scream does provide multiple twists and surprises. Viewers also are given a strong female lead with Sidney-one who fights back. There are subplots as well, involving the wrongly incarcerated Cotton Weary. However, in the end, Scream is about revenge.
Scream 2, the sequel, was released in 1997 and Scream 3 was released in 2000. A fourth Scream movie hit the theaters in 2011, the storyline picking up ten years after the third movie's conclusion.