How ‘Scream’ Revitalized The Slasher-Horror Genre

By Julia Wilson, Edited by Anthony Peyton

Scream has become one of those classic horror franchises along with others such as Halloween, Friday the 13th, and Nightmare on Elm Street. However, Scream differs from the latter three in the sense that part of its purpose is to parody them.

In short, Scream is about a masked murderer who goes on a killing spree that is interspersed with creepy phone calls and centers around the murderer’s main target, Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell). As the series progresses you find out why Sidney is always targeted and more of the backstory.

The first Scream movie came out in 1996 and it proved to be a pivotal point for the horror genre. In the early 90’s the genre seemed to have hit a little bit of a lull, unable to find itself after the massive successes of the 70’s and 80’s including Halloween, Friday the 13th, and Nightmare on Elm Street. After those three the slasher genre seemed to be done with until the release and massive critical and financial success of Scream, which is still currently the highest grossing slasher film of all time.

Scream was able to revitalize slasher movies and bring the horror genre back to life due in part to its self awareness. Throughout the film – and every film in the series – the characters use common horror cliches to try and figure out who the killer (or killers) is and how to survive the killing spree. This includes the character Randy’s (Jamie Kennedy)  infamous three rules on how to survive a horror movie: don’t have sex, don’t drink, and never say “you’ll be right back”. The final scene of Halloween is even playing in the background of the last part of the film as though guiding the progression of it.

The film also was able to revitalize the slasher genre by doing something that the originals hadn’t – make it realistic. In Scream, Ghostface, as the killer is dubbed, isn’t superhuman, he doesn’t appear in your dreams, he’s just a real person going around killing people with a knife and playing with their emotions through phone calls. A premise based in reality as screenwriter Kevin Williamson was inspired by the real killings of the Gainesville Ripper.

The other thing this franchise did right is it knew when to stop, as there are only four films, which is much less than other big horror franchises, and each film had a distinct purpose.

The first film of course was just touching on horror cliches in general. Scream 2 talked specifically about the rules of horror sequels, and Scream 3 showed how horror trilogies often go off the rails and give you a “preponderance of backstory” as Randy says. Then, after the many horror remakes of the late 2000’s, they made one last movie, Scream 4, featuring a lot of new characters and touching on all the common trends seen in horror remakes.

The films were directed by Wes Craven, who also created the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, and wow did he do an amazing job. The dialogue in the film, written by Williamson, was also brilliantly done. It felt so real with the way the characters spoke and how they used what they knew, horror cliches, to try to figure out what was happening in their little town.

The combined use of self-aware humor and a killer that could actually exist, not only made this movie scarier, but gave the slasher genre the refreshment it needed to continue. Scream remains one of the most well done horror franchises and is still referenced and talked about even over 20 years after the first film was released.

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‘Skyscraper’ Is The Worst Of The Rock

By Julia Wilson, Edited by Anthony Peyton

Skyscraper is about a man named Will Sawyer (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) who is called to assess the safety and security of the world’s new tallest building in Hong Kong. When the building gets set on fire, Will must fight his way inside to save his wife Sarah, played by Neve Campbell AKA Sidney Prescott from Scream, and their two kids from the burning building.

This movie was pretty typical. There really was nothing special about it. I mean just picture any action movie that The Rock has been in and you pretty much know what this movie is. Although this movie would be pretty scary if you’re afraid of heights because of all the high rise jumping.

I do have to say that I actually really like The Rock. He really is my guilty pleasure. I will see literally any movie he is in which is why I went and saw this one, but this was definitely my least favorite movie he has been in. Partly because his acting was not very good in this one, especially in dialogue scenes with his wife.

Every time they would have a conversation it was so obvious that he was acting (and not very well). His relationship with her just didn’t feel as genuine from his side as it could have, and since the movie is about him trying to save her and their kids, his lackluster acting really took away from the main point of the movie.

Campbell however, killed it as always. You could feel the love and the worry pouring out of her character in every scene she was in. I absolutely loved her in this, and my favorite scenes in the movie were the ones with her and the kids trying to stay alive and escape from the burning skyscraper.

One particularly bad aspect of this movie was the effects which were a little cringy at times. Obviously fire is a big part of this movie and a lot of the fire effects were just not good. In most scenes the fire looked very fake.

Overall, I have to say the best part of Skyscraper was Neve Campbell. The Rock was lacking a little bit in this one which was disappointing to see. And coupled with the predictable story and bad special effects, it made this movie my least favorite of the summer so far.


My Rating: 63%

Acting: 2.7/4

Cinematography: 2/4

Story: 2.5/4

Enjoyability: 2.8/4

 

Top 10 Movies For A Girls’ Night

There’s nothing better than a night in with your girls watching movies, eating snacks, and hanging out in your PJ’s. That’s why today we are counting down our top 10 movies to watch for your next girls’ night!

1.Mamma Mia!

It’s nearly impossible to watch this movie without singing and dancing along. That’s what makes it a fun and energetic choice for girls’ night.

2. Mean Girls

Honestly, one of the most iconic movies there is which also happens to feature a slew of strong female characters. What more could you want from a girls’ night movie pick?

3. Bridesmaids

Bridesmaids has so many qualities that make it perfect for girls’ night. For starters, it centers around a wedding, and I don’t know about you but anything that deals with weddings is my weakness. And this movie features some of the best female comedians there are!

4. Girls Trip

This one is great because whether it gives you and your girls an idea for your next girls trip, or it reminds you all of your girl group, it is bound to have all of you laughing and even closer by the end.

5. 10 Things I Hate About You

This movie is not only a classic, but it’s positively adorable. And who better to swoon over Heath Ledger and cry about Kat’s poem at the end with than your best friends?

6. Chicago

Chicago features one strong female cast. That also makes it so much fun to sing along to with your girls. Between the badass ladies and the iconic music you can’t go wrong with this pick.

7. Clueless

Funny, charming, and iconic. This one will have you and your girls laughing and maybe even planning your next group Halloween costume!

8. Easy A

I absolutely love this movie. It’s funny, different, and features the stunningly talented Emma Stone. Also, the fact that it acts as a commentary on female expression of sexuality, makes it a perfect movie for girls’ night.

9. Bring It On

First off, I just have to say that Jesse Bradford is beautiful and I am forever grateful that he graced our screens as Cliff in Bring It On. But luckily, that’s not all this movie has to offer. You have entertaining cheer routines, brilliant comedy, and a great load of nostalgia.

10. Crazy, Stupid, Love

One of my favorite Rom-Coms and honestly such an interesting take on the genre. With an intricate story, brilliant cast, and lots of hilarity it is the perfect movie to watch in the most perfect genre for a girls’ night.

‘Bao’: A Brutally Meaningful Showstarter

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Julia Wilson

If you like movies and aren’t completely ignorant, you’ve definitely heard of the seamless Incredibles 2. But we aren’t here to talk about that movie – we are here to talk about what comes before it.

Prior to the Disney Pixar sequel, a short film titled Bao was featured. It was a short with no talking and very minimal sound, but brilliant animation. This, of course, can be expected of the mega animation company behind it.

The creator was a woman by the name of Domee Shi, who wrote and directed the entirety of it. This was the only produced piece on her filmography, but still made her the first woman to direct and create a Pixar short.

The story itself revolves around a woman who is making dinner for her husband – dumplings, specifically – and as her husband leaves for work, the woman is left alone. That is, except for one dumpling that sprouts arms and legs. Don’t worry, it’s not creepy, it’s cute.

It zooms through the life of the woman and her dumpling as he grows up into a bigger dumpling and eventually wants to leave home. This leads to the tragedy of the woman *SPOILER ALERT* eating her child dumpling. Once again, it’s not creepy. Seconds after, it’s revealed that, all along, the dumpling was her son. A son that abandoned her and distanced himself, creating tension when he comes back. It all ends happily when the love of a mother overpowers the fear of him leaving again.

This short film had me in tears before the main attraction even started. I was left shook and half-tempted to leave the theatre to call my own mom. Shi knew how to tug at the heart strings with a self-understood passion that she clearly demonstrated, telling a story with a moral that can only be described as undebatable and astounding. Family is around for a reason, and you shouldn’t cut that unless it’s necessary and healthier.

Even leaving Incredibles 2, I was thinking about this short. The story, the metaphors within, and all the thought that Shi must’ve put into the – for a lack of a better word – incredible journey of a mother and her child.


My Rating: 97.5%

Animation: 3.9/4

Direction: 3.9/4

Story: 3.9/4

Enjoyability: 3.9/4

Film Forecast Friday: July 13th

On July 13th we have…

  1. Skyscraper
  2. Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation
  3. Sorry To Bother You
  4. Eighth Grade
  5. Don’t worry, He Won’t Get Far On Foot

Julia’s predictions:

The two biggest movies this week will definitely be Skyscraper and Hotel Transylvania 3. Skyscraper stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson who always seems to draw large audiences, and Hotel Transylvania 3 is the third installment in an adequately successful movie series so should draw a decent sized audience as well.

However, the movie I am most excited for this week is one hundred percent Eighth Grade. It is written and directed by my favorite comedian, Bo Burnham, and looks like a relatable commentary on technology, social anxiety, growing up, and so much more. It also has a 99% on Rotten Tomatoes right now so the critics seem to be loving it!

I am also pretty excited for Sorry To Bother You and Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far On Foot which I expect to be hits among indie movie goers but not on a larger scale. Both have really good trailers and seem to be receiving a pretty positive reception so far.

Anthony’s predictions:

It’s going to prove very difficult to choose whether Hotel Transylvania 3 and Skyscraper will make more at the box office this weekend. Both have all-star cast, and Hotel Transylvania 3 is a sequel. If there’s anything to know about the general audience, it’s that they love sequels. Meanwhile the latter has Dwayne Johnson, which could be a good thing if you’re not completely tired of him after his last couple movies.

Sorry To Bother You has Armie Hammer in it, which makes it sold for me because I adore his acting. It’s pretty comptable to Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far On Foot as far as box office is concerned.

Eighth Grade is a new Bo Burnham movie and it’s inevitably going to be hilarious and hopefully a hit, as all of Burnham’s work are so genuine and hysterical while being generally astounding. The only thing that will hinder its box office profit is the unfortunate fact that it does not by any means have a wide release.

‘Damsel’ Should Be Called ‘Marry Me Penelope’

By Olivia Norwood, Edited by Julia Wilson

Of all of the dramas and dark comedies I have seen this year, Damsel may be the most confusing.

The reason why is because it has, what it seems to be, two different plots.

Good Time actor Robert Pattinson portrays a young man named Samuel who picks up a drunk preacher, Parson (director David Zellner), on his way to rescuing his “kidnapped” fiancée, Penelope (Mia Wasikowska), so that he can marry her on the spot. Upon finding her and killing her captor, Parson quickly finds out that Penelope was never kidnapped but married to the supposed captor, Anton, in their small cabin in the woods.

But that is just the first half of the movie. The other half is just Penelope and Parson traveling out of the wilderness and stumbling upon native Zacharia (Joseph Billingiere) and Anton’s brother, Rufus (director Nathan Zellner).

Now, here’s why I titled this “Marry Me Penelope”: every male that Penelope comes in contact with will eventually propose to her. She’s already married to Anton, Samuel’s entire objective is to marry her, Rufus demands to marriage after the death of his brother, and Parson randomly proposes to her in the middle of the desert.

After the film, I wondered if the multiple proposals to Penelope was the actual plot. Then I found the written synopsis given to us by the film and it states, “the once-simple journey grows treacherous, blurring the lines between hero, villain and damsel”. And I guess I understand that, too.

It mocks the old western genre where women were the ‘damsels in distress’ and the men were either heroes or villains. People are always trying to save Penelope but, in the end, she was the one saving herself (i.e. strapping dynamite to Parson’s chest and taking all of his belongings when he proposes).

Aside from its wishy-washy plot, Damsel was quite hilarious as it seems more like a western comedy than a complete parody of the western genre that films like A Million Ways to Die in the West have done. It was confusing throughout but, nonetheless, an entertaining watch.


My Rating: 73%

Acting: 3/4

Cinematography: 3/4

Story: 2.8/4

Enjoyability: 3/4

‘Black Swan’: When the Pretty Became the Paranoid

By Olivia Norwood, Edited by Julia Wilson

Remember when Natalie Portman won an Oscar for playing a deranged ballerina? It was for the Darren Aronofsky film, Black Swan, that may or may not should’ve won for Best Picture and Best Cinematography at the 83rd Academy Awards. But we’re not here to talk about The Academy, we’re here to give this unique and insane story the attention it deserves.

Based in the hustle of a New York ballet company, the fragile Nina (Natalie Portman) strives to prove that she is the best dancer to be the new Swan Queen in their upcoming production of Swan Lake. She soon finds out that envy and wrath comes with the territory of the role. In her journey to achieving her dream, she feels the pressures of being perfect and develops paranoia in the scariest of ways.

The plot is interesting, but what really made this film special was its cinematography, colors, and overall art direction. They’re the aspects that draw a viewer in and make them appreciate its beauty. In Black Swan’s case, the cinematography was done in a cinema veritè style, the colors were pinks, whites, grays and blacks, and the art direction was light contrasting the dark.

Not only is it ‘light vs. dark’ but it’s also ‘innocence vs. temptation’ and ‘perfection vs. imperfection’. Nina represents purity and she rejects anything with impurities. Her life is pretty, pink, and childlike whereas her environment is cutthroat, edgy, and adult. Without making stark contrasts, the cinematography blends the two to allude to Nina’s transformation from White Swan to Black Swan.

But its prettiness doesn’t cloud the horror aspect. It’s still dark and sticks to the theme of paranoia and the hallucinations that Nina experiences. Her competition is her own inner darkness and it’s shown as her alter ego tries to kill her and actual black feathers start to grow out of her skin.

Its scare factor lies in the horrors of mental illness and the fact that all of these nightmarish events are happening inside of her head. The pressures of her passion result in her own madness. Nina is no longer in her right mind and ultimately gives into the dark side of herself.

Black Swan is not a modern retelling of Swan Lake. Instead, it utilizes the themes of the play to create a story about a woman who loses herself and her mind in the midst of maintaining perfection.