I have a TON of gaps when it comes to films and Scream is one of them. I was impressed though, mainly because it added another dimension to the slasher genre. Yes, it is filled with a high body count and tons of gore but within the first few minutes these aspects are secondary.
The film starts with a high school girl answering her phone and we find out that the person on the other end threatens her with violence if she does not answer various questions dealing with horror movie trivia. She gets a question wrong and ends up being brutally killed, along with her boyfriend.
That, I feel is the crux of the film. Scream is a homage to horror films. As the film proceeds, the protagonists try to apprehend the killers by applying the tropes found in horror movies, ironically Wes Craven was the one who started the slasher genre so the film is also a parody as well.
After the first murder the film evolves into a thriller/mystery as the teens hold a party and slowly the guests are getting killed and after clues start to appear the survivors try to single out the killer. After some clever red herrings the killer is revealed and Craven manages to both play to horror cliches and then subvert them at the same time.
Is scream scary? no. It is stuffed with suspense, the gore level borders on the comedic and the parody aspect is strong and there’s the horror in-jokes and cliches which the viewer can spot which makes the film playful.
However it is clever and considering that a good number of horror films rely on jump scares, I found Scream refreshing. I can understand its legacy even though it mocks other legacies in the process.