Plot: Attempting to cope with her mother's murder, Sydney and her horror movie-obsessed friends are stalked by a murderer who seems to have a hard time letting the past go.
AKA, Shout Out: The movie.
You know sometimes when you call someone, but you have the wrong number? And then you call back to flirt with the girl? And she kind of thinks it is cute, but is also grossed out? And then she makes popcorn while you keep calling back like a creep. "Do you like scary movies?" Casey's favorite is Halloween. "It was scary." "Well, the first one was, but the rest sucked." -in reference to ANOES. Lol. Wes dropping daggers 2 minutes in. Oh fuck, the creep on the phone is watching Casey. He told you not to hang up on him, breh. You shouldn't have done it. Creepy phone guy starts listing off horror movie cliches. As it turns out, her boyfriend is tied up on the patio. He'll be killed if Casey doesn't play a game with the Phantom Caller. TRIVIA TIME! YAY! She gets tripped up when she says Jason is the killer in Friday The 13th. IT WAS HIS MOTHER, YOU DUMB FUCK. Yer fuckin' out, Steve. As it turns out, so is Casey, who is attacked by someone in in a black costume with a ghostly mask, reminiscent of Edvard Munch's " The Scream". I shall call him, Ghostface. What a great opener. It directly references the biggest horror series (Halloween, F13th, ANOES), with subtle references to Italian horror and exploitation films, while at the same time paying homage to Psycho (top star killed early on to move the story to a lesser known actor). All while setting up the tone and purpose of the movie: A scary movie about kids who grew up watching scary movies. It's really just wonderful. It's a scene around 20 minutes that is basically just Drew Barrymore on the phone. It's perfect. It still feels fresh and modern, despite VHS tapes and landlines.
The movie then jumps to Neve Campbell in her room. Her boyfriend, who happens to look like bootleg Johnny Depp, climbs in through her window, in a scene that evokes the relationship of Glenn and Nancy from ANOES. The Exorcist is brought up, which somehow made him think of their relationship. Basically, he's frustrated that they aren't fucking. They get some PG level stuff. Listen to that dope Don't Fear The Reaper cover, itself another shout out to Halloween.
News of murders has made the rounds in the city, with news media picking up on it. Police are interviewing students to see if they can get any information on the murders. The Fonz is the principal. Ayyyyy. We're introduced to some of Sidney's friends, two of whom are real fucks. "Hey, it's called tact you fuckrag." Lol. These two seem to be awfully jokey about the whole subject, which makes Sidney very uncomfortable. Probably because a year ago, Sydney's mom was raped and killed, left for dead in the town square.
A familiar voice calls Sidney, who destroys the slasher genre in about 15 seconds. "If you hang up on me you'll die just like your mother!" Well god damn, that escalated in a hurry. The killer is in the house! Throwing headbutts. Sid is able to fight him off and run to her room, where she connects to 911 via her computer. Shortly thereafter, Billy shows up in the window, concerned over the screams he heard. OH SHIT HE DROPPED A CELL PHONE. She runs away from him and to the front door, where the mask is right there...being held by Deputy Dewey. Billy Loomis (shout out to Psycho and Halloween) is arrested. Gale Weathers (essentially Nancy Grace) is on the scene almost immediately. She's got the SCOOPZ. She also is writing a book about Sidney's mom, of which she'll send a copy to Sidney. Who punches that bitch right in the face.
OH SHIT, the caller is back. It wasn't Billy! "Looks like you fingered the wrong guy...again." Oh shit, did Sidney pick the wrong guy in her mom's murder case? Is that what this is all about? Yes. It appears that is what it is about. The man convicted for her mother's death is currently waiting appeal on his death sentence. Oh shit, Linda Blair pops up as a reporter. You see, what Gale's book is really about is that she believes the man who was convicted for the murder is actually innocent. She believes that Sidney misidentified the man. They discuss this. Sydney is now starting to question if that theory is right.
Wow, these kids are fucking pieces of shit, dressing up like Ghostface and running around the school. What the fuck. And Sydney's friend thinks it's funny. Wow. Cunts. Sydney runs into Billy. Billy is still being cunty about sex. Wow. The fuck. And he also thinks she should just get over her mom getting killed...a year ago almost to the day. Because he got over his mom leaving his dad. Look at all these cunts. Garbage people in this movie.
Principle Fonz goes IN on the two kids, and not just them, but their entire generation. Also, note how the scissors he uses to cut up the masks makes the "knife in a movie" sound. Every time. Even just moving them. Lol. Oh wow, and then he threatens to kill them. Yo damn, the REAL KILLER IS IN THE SCHOOL. Mother fucker. Classes are suspended. Indefinitely. Dewey and Gail start flirting, and Dewey unknowingly gave her a story.
Oh fuck, Fonz is the killer? No. THE REAL KILLER KILLED HIM!!! Fuck, WHO IS THE THIRD MAN?!?! SHIT! So now, we've had three red herrings, with Sydney's missing father also being a possible suspect.
The suspension of classes leads to a big party at Stu's house. All the cool kids are there. And it's here where shit gets really crazy. Not only are we told outright the rules of horror movies, but we find out that there isn't just one killer. It's actually Stu and Billy together. And the man convicted for the murder of Sidney's mother? That's Billy's dad. He and Stu killed Sidney's mom a year ago because she was having an affair with his dad, which led to Billy's mother leaving. And now, a year later, the plan is to kill Sid, her friends, Gale's cameraman, Sid's dad, and anyone else that gets in the way, all using tips and tricks they picked up from watching horror movies. But SWERVE, despite having lost her virginity that night (to Billy, before he revealed he's fucking crazy), Sid not only survives, but shoots Billy in the head to end the movie.
This movie is still amazing. As sharp and relevant as ever. Great editing, great pacing, great effects, great references, just great everything. Pretty much any horror series worth its salt got name dropped at some point (except Child's Play), and instead of being grating or annoying, all the references directly tie into the movie itself. The whole movie is at once a tribute, finale, satire, and rebirth of the slasher genre. It spends its time reminding you of great movies, reminding you of the cliches and how dumb they are, only to use them so well you remember why you liked all those great movies growing up. It reinvented the genre by paying homage to the classics and showing how the cliches and tropes are always valid. A true classic. This is really Wes Craven's masterpiece.
I have compiled most (but not all, since seemingly every other line is a reference to some obscure horror/exploitation/porn movie from the 30s on) of the references into one video. Please enjoy: