Textual Analysis on ScreamOpening
(1996, Wes Craven)
By Alex Davies
The genre in the film is shown by the unsettling conversation that Becky has
with the person on the phone.This makes the audience sense that this is a
cliché beginning scene in horror films where the pretty girl dies.
When Becky is on the phone touching the knives, it foreshadows how she will
get stabbed by one later in the scene. As well, her naivety when talking on the
phone with the stranger makes it inevitable that she will not be killed.
The music in the background does increase in sound when the person on the
phone seems creepy. When the man is getting angry at Becky on the phone
the music becomes more obvious.The audience assumes that the man on the
phone will attack her, due to the music increasing.
When Becky and the man on the phone are talking about past horror and
slasher films, they tend to joke around when talking about it making the film
seem real and satirical on slasher films.
The main title of the film is shown quickly, by being a flash of the word
SCREAM. In the background, there is a phone ring which leads into the opening
scene of the film.There is then a screaming sound in the background as the
main title, turns from the colour white to red, indicating blood. From the title
screen, it flashes to the scene. In the opening, or the rest of
the film, there are titles of the actors or the producers, but are
only shown at the end.
The production company shown in the Scream opening is Dimension films.The
ident of the production company is quiet and ominous, which reflects on the
opening of the film.
When we see the exterior view of Becky’s house, it is isolated and seems very
quiet, due to the clichéd cricket sounds.This makes the scene feel unsteady.
As well, the tree swing is slightly moving, which shows that someone has been
outside, which makes us assume (since this is a slasher/horror film) that this is
Inside the Becky’s house the colours are calm and seem normal. Becky is
wearing a cream jumper, which fits with the rest of the house which consist of
white and beige colours.This makes the house seem ordinary and makes the
audience not expect what is about to happen, which makes it even more
The period of the film is clearly shown by the opening scene that this is a
slasher film, as the girl, Becky is brutally murdered by the masked killer.This
sets off how the rest of the film will be similar to this setting and how people
will be killed off and will have death scenes comparable to the opening.
After the main title, it flashes directly to the phone ringing which indicates that
the person ringing is important.As well, the second time of the phone rings,
the camera zooms in on the phone ringing and gets a close-up shot.
In the opening when Becky is walking around the house, a tracking shot is used
to follow her.This makes the audience feel that something is going to happen
When the deep-voiced stranger says something intruding to Casey, the camera
zooms in on her face which is a reaction shot, from what he just said.This
makes the audience feel tense, since they began having a playful conversation,
which turned threatening quickly.
When the killer suddenly stabs Casey in the chest it is in slow motion for the
effect of the stab and makes it more dramatic.
In the opening of Scream, the audience sees a teenage girl, Casey played by
Drew Barrymore, alone in an upscale suburban house, making herself popcorn
for a movie night.Casey begins to receive phone calls from a deep-voiced
stranger, who seems to take an interest in her, since he calls various times.This
makes the audience feel that the caller is the antagonist of the film.
But the calls transition into something more sinister when the caller asks Casey
questions such as “Do you like scary movies?”, and making creepy statements
as if he is looking at her from outside.
It’s revealed that the unseen caller is playing a cruel game with Casey, since he
asks her to play a game to save her boyfriend’s life. Before the scene is over,
the masked killer has stabbed her boyfriend and in an attempt to run away
from the killer and signal her parents who have just arrived to the house, she is
When the parents come home to a smoky house they are worried where Casey
is.When the mother walks outside she screams, which is due to Casey’s bloody
body hanging from a tree.This opening lays out the main agenda of the killer.