The “Scary Movie” series provided viewers with more than a decade of hilarious absurdity and spectacularly macabre amusement, with over five full-length films featuring memorable horror icons and countless behind-the-scenes scintillating cameos by some of today’s best actors and actresses. The “Scream” movies established the feature-length format as a great horror film format, and while the later “Scream” films have done a good job of recreating the atmosphere of the original “Scream” movies (which is only to be expected), the newer films have taken that tone and edge and expanded on it. There’s a new “Scream” in town! But, for those who haven’t seen them yet…can you tell which film is the best? Here are some clues.
The first “Scream” movie I saw was the much maligned “The Shape” in 2021, directed by Wes Craven. This is the one I’m most familiar with, having spent the last six or seven years replaying the original at home and have passed the time since then with some mild boredom. Despite a few lesser horror films since, “The Shape” is still a great horror film (and perhaps the best scream picture ever) thanks to its terrific visual style and the consistent terror levels inherent in it. It just has a kind of glee and energy that seems to permeate every frame of the movie.
No horror film is complete without a perfect casting, and Craven managed to score another hit with “The Shape.” Laced throughout the entire film are scenes that feature David Thewlis playing both the elder brother and younger sister, respectively. It’s an incredibly creepy and naturalistic pairing that works incredibly well, especially when the siblings engage in an extended home invasion scenario that leaves the house shaking. The twins themselves are the perfect actors for this role, and Craven did a fantastic job casting his youngsters.
Another great element of the film comes in the form of the villain Michael Myers, played by the great George C. Scott. Though not on the same level as The Shape, Mr. Myers is nevertheless an equally terrifying presence, adding a level of guts and terror to the proceedings that The Shape simply can’t compete with. If you’ve seen the movie, you know exactly how great this works. But if you haven’t…I suggest you watch the first “shape” (which you should probably do without reading any descriptions or reviews). You won’t be disappointed.
Of course, “The Shape” doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of its horror franchise cousins. For example, “The Ring” is the third film in the three part series, and though I love the first two installments, this outing does a decent job of expanding the mythology of the series even further. I also really like the way director Wes Craven gave Sam Hanks another outlet for his comedic talents, which comes to the fore later on in the movie.
“The Shape” is the start of a fantastic line of films. Don’t let the trailers fool you; this is going to be a real scarefest. Just make sure to enjoy it…after all, there’s nothing worse than ending up at a horror movie theater scene, completely unprepared and completely terrified. That’s what you get for going to see a scary movie theater scene the night before. You’ll have a much better time at the movies afterwards.