Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes
Scream may be a cut above the gore fests that line the dimly lit back wall at your video store, but it is a far cry from genre classics like Halloween or Craven's own Nightmare On Elm Street.
Los Angeles Times:
A bravura, provocative sendup of horror pictures that's also scary and gruesome yet too swift-moving to lapse into morbidity.
By the time Scream arrives at its final twist, Craven has done too many contortions of his own to give the finale much shock value.
The picture is so full of cross-references, self-mockery and movies within movies (including a stalking that's recorded on video) that it can't help turning into a precious two-hour in-joke.
New York Times:
Not even horror fans who can answer all this film's knowing trivia questions may be fully comfortable with such an exploitative mix.
Craven has expressed a desire to get out of the horror business. Maybe that's why he's set out to make more than a horror movie. He's contributing to a long tradition of reflexive films, going back as far as the turn of the century.
The assumption that there's something inherently clever about a slasher movie making reference to both its genre and the filmmaking process is a fundamental flaw of this tiresome, blood-filled comedy.
Poised on the knife edge between parody and homage, Wes Craven's Scream is a deft, funny, shrewdly unsettling tribute to such slasher-exploitation thrillers as Terror Train, New Year's Evil, and Craven's own A Nightmare on Elm Street.
New York Daily News:
Scream builds to a splattering finale that should leave genre fans highly satisfied. Here's one of the year's better thrillers.
Scream is a rarity: a horror movie spoof that succeeds almost as well at provoking scares as laughs.
I liked it. I liked the in-jokes and the self-aware characters. At the same time, I was aware of the incredible level of gore in this film.
Minneapolis Star Tribune:
If the people who made Scream were half as clever as they seem to think they are, this would be a much smarter movie.
The pic's chills are top-notch, but its underlying mockish tone won't please die-hard fans.