Scream is a 1996 American slasher film directed by Wes Craven. The film stars David Arquette, Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and Drew Barrymore. Released on December 20, it follows the character of Sidney Prescott, a high school student in the fictional town of Woodsboro, California, who becomes the target of a mysterious killer in a Halloween costume known as Ghostface.
The film combines black comedy and mystery with the violence of the slasher genre to satirize the clichés of low budget horror movies.
Scream received positive reviews and was a financial success, earning $173 million worldwide, becoming the highest-grossing slasher film until the release of Halloween (2018). It still remains the highest-grossing slasher film in adjusted dollars. It received several awards and award nominations. The soundtrack by Marco Beltrami was also acclaimed, and was cited as one of the most intriguing horror scores composed in years, earning a “cult status”.
Scream was credited with revitalizing the slasher genre in the 1990s, which was considered to be almost dead following an influx of direct-to-video titles and numerous sequels to established horror franchises of the 1970s and 1980s. These sequels drew decreasing financial and critical success, as they exploited clichés upon which films in the genre had become reliant. Scream’s success spawned a series of sequels, though only Scream 2, released the following year, achieved an equal level of commercial and critical success.