Analysis of scream

Summary In Scream, a teenage girl named Sidney is targeted by a mysterious and violent killer who has been harassing her with threatening phone calls. She narrowly escapes several attacks, and as the body count rises, she becomes more and more determined to uncover the killer's identity. With the help of her boyfriend Billy, her best friend Tatum, and a police officer named Dewey, Sidney tries to stay one step ahead of the killer while navigating the trauma that the attacks have caused for her and her community. Ultimately, she is forced to confront two of her own friends, who are revealed to be the killers, and with the help of Gale, a news reporter, she is able to capture them and free her father from captivity. The movie ends with the suggestion of a potential romance between Sidney and her friend Randy.

Screenplay Story Analysis

Story Critique While the movie appears to be a horror-comedy, the plot can be confusing and hard to follow. The twist at the end is surprising but feels contrived and rushed. The characters are one-dimensional and lack depth. The dialogue is clunky and unnatural, making it hard to connect with the characters.
Suggestions: To improve the screenplay, the writer should focus on developing the characters' motivations and backstories. The dialogue needs to be more natural and better reflect the characters' personalities. The twist at the end needs to be set up better and have more foreshadowing. The overall story needs to have a more cohesive plot and focus on building tension and suspense throughout.

Note: This is the overall critique. For scene by scene critique click here

Characters in the screenplay, and their arcs:


Sidney is a smart, cautious, and relatable protagonist who has been through immense trauma and is struggling to come to terms with it. Despite her vulnerability, she is resourceful, brave, and determined to survive and bring the killer to justice. She has a strong sense of humor, quick-thinking abilities, and is fiercely independent. Her traumatic past makes it difficult for her to trust others, but she cares deeply about her friends and family.


Tatum is a fun-loving, confident, and outspoken friend of Sidney's. She acts as a foil to Sidney throughout the film, and their relationship is an important part of the plot. Tatum is fiercely protective of Sidney, caring towards her, but also sometimes tactless and sarcastic. She is loyal and supportive of her friends, but also has a rebellious streak that sometimes gets her into trouble. Despite her lightheartedness and tendency to make crude jokes, Tatum is also shown to be brave and willing to stand up to the Ghost Masked Figure when necessary.


Dewey is a young and handsome police officer who takes his job seriously and is dedicated to protecting the town. He can be easily distracted by a beautiful woman but remains professional and serious when it comes to his duties. He is portrayed as somewhat naive and bumbling at times, but has a kind-hearted nature and cares deeply about the safety of those around him.


Billy is a charming, confident and mysterious individual who initially seems interested in his girlfriend, Sidney. However, as the story progresses, his actions and motives become increasingly unclear, raising suspicions about his potential involvement in the murders. He has a difficult relationship with his domineering and overbearing father, Hank Loomis, and shows hints of violence and sadism. Despite this, Billy is capable of moments of vulnerability and self-reflection.


Randy is a film buff and horror movie enthusiast with a sarcastic and quick-witted personality. He enjoys teasing others and stirring up drama but is also outgoing and makes friends easily. He is often distracted by his love of movies, which can be both a strength and a weakness.


Gale is an ambitious and driven journalist who will stop at nothing to get the story. She is confident, self-assured, and uses her charm to get the information she wants.


Stu is a playful and carefree friend of Billy's, who also has a dark side. He is somewhat naive but loyal to his friends. Stu is prone to making jokes and goofing off, but is also fascinated by Gale and wants to garner her attention. He is eventually revealed to be a sadistic killer, who delights in causing pain and suffering. Stu is Billy's lackey and is easily influenced by him.

Character Arc Critique Suggestions
Sidney Throughout the film, Sidney's character arc involves her journey to confront and overcome her traumas. She begins as a cautious and vulnerable survivor who is still struggling to cope with the violence and devastation around her. As the film progresses, she becomes more resourceful and confident in herself and her abilities. She takes charge in dangerous situations and learns to trust some of the people around her, ultimately finding the strength to confront and defeat the killer. Her arc ends with a renewed sense of resilience and purpose, as she comes out of the experience stronger and more determined than ever. While Sidney's character arc is well-layered and compelling, it may benefit from more explicit exploration of her emotional struggles in facing her traumas. There are moments where her responses to traumatic events can feel muted or underplayed, which can diminish the deeper impact of her character's arc. Additionally, some of the exposition around her past trauma and its effects could be made more explicit to help viewers better understand and empathize with her character.
To improve Sidney's character arc, the script might consider adding more moments of intense emotional conflict or breakthrough for her, to really explore the depths of her traumas. This could involve more explicit exposition of her past or more insightful views into her inner thoughts and feelings. Additionally, it may benefit from a stronger focus on her relationships with other characters, both good and bad, to really showcase her character's resilience and determination in the face of these obstacles.
Tatum Tatum starts off as a carefree, sassy character who is protective of Sidney but also preoccupied with her own problems. As the film progresses, Tatum becomes increasingly aware of the danger surrounding them and the seriousness of the situation. She becomes more supportive and caring towards Sidney, showing a tough exterior when dealing with the police and the media. However, Tatum's rebellious streak ultimately leads to her tragic death at the hands of the Ghost Masked Figure. Through her death, Tatum serves as a motivation for Sidney to confront the killer and take charge of her own safety. While Tatum's arc is well-developed, it is somewhat predictable and relies heavily on her death as a plot device. Additionally, Tatum's rebellious streak is not fully explored and could be further developed to add more depth to her character.
To improve Tatum's arc, her rebellious streak could be more fully explored, perhaps leading to more conflict between her and Sidney as she becomes more aware of the danger they are in. Additionally, her death could be used as a turning point for Sidney to not only confront the killer but also rely more on her own strength and agency rather than just seeking protection from others.
Dewey Dewey starts off as a simple and somewhat naive police officer who is easily distracted by Tatum. As the murders intensify, he becomes more protective of Sidney and eager to do his job well. He starts to take more initiative in solving the case, especially after his own near-death experience, and becomes more confident in his capabilities. However, he is also influenced by Gale and makes some questionable decisions that put him and others in danger. In the end, he sacrifices himself to save the others and shows a true bravery that was previously unseen. The character arc for Dewey is well-done and adds depth to his otherwise quirky personality. However, it would be even stronger if there were more consistent development throughout the movie instead of sudden changes in behavior.
For improvement, it would be helpful to see more of Dewey's internal struggles and emotions that contribute to his changing behavior. Additionally, giving him more agency in solving the case instead of solely relying on the actions of others would make him a stronger character.
Billy Billy experiences a narrative arc that transforms him from a potential love interest to a psychotic killer. Initially presented as supportive and innocent, his actions become increasingly suspicious and his true motives come into question. He is eventually arrested for the murders, but his attempts to reconcile with Sidney and clear his name are futile. As the story progresses, his true identity as the killer is revealed, and he becomes increasingly manipulative and sadistic, relishing in the power he holds over Sidney and her father. Through the course of the film, Billy transforms from a charming and likable character to a villainous and violent one, culminating in his demise. The overall character arc is well-executed, with Billy's gradual descent into villainy and eventual downfall being appropriately foreshadowed and developed throughout the film. However, there could be a greater emphasis on exploring the root causes of his sadism and violent tendencies, as well as the impact of his difficult relationship with his father on his actions. Additionally, there could be a deeper exploration of the psychological toll that his actions and eventual demise have on Sidney and other characters in the film.
To improve the character arc, there could be more emphasis on exploring Billy's backstory and the root causes of his violent tendencies. This could include flashbacks or other scenes that provide insight into his relationship with his father and any traumatic experiences he may have had. Additionally, there could be greater emphasis on the psychological impact of his actions on Sidney and her father, including scenes that show their struggle to cope with the trauma and pain that he has caused. Finally, the film could benefit from more explicit commentary on the nature of violence and its impact on individuals and society.
Randy Throughout the movie, Randy grows from being a jokester and rule maker to someone who tries to be a hero but ultimately ends up being a victim of the killer. He becomes one of Sidney's few allies and provides a heartfelt moment by asking her out despite the chaos around them. The character arc for Randy is believable and well-paced, but it would have been more impactful if Randy had been given more agency in the plot. He is a victim of circumstance rather than actively taking control of his fate.
To improve Randy's character arc, give him more opportunities to take action and make choices that directly impact the plot. This will make his growth more compelling and satisfying.
Gale Throughout the movie, Gale's character arc involves a transition from a self-centered, opportunistic journalist to an empathetic and determined ally to the film's protagonist, Sidney. At the beginning of the film, Gale is a ruthless reporter who prioritizes her ambition over the truth and the well-being of others. However, as she becomes more involved in the murders in Woodsboro, Gale's motivations shift, and she begins to prioritize discovering the truth and helping Sid. In the film's final moments, Gale exhibits selflessness and quick-witted thinking as she captures the killer's identity on camera and saves Sidney's life. The character arc for Gale is compelling, and her growth as a character is well-done. However, some of her actions and motives could have been better explained, especially in the beginning. It's unclear why she prioritizes her ambition over the truth and other people's safety, and her change in motivation could have been more gradual and believable.
To improve Gale's character arc, the filmmakers could provide more backstory or exposition to explain her initial ruthlessness and ambition. Additionally, they could show more moments of Gale struggling with her morals and priorities as she becomes more involved in the murders. Lastly, the final moments of the film could have been better set up and executed, with more tension and emotional stakes leading up to the climactic reveal.
Stu Stu starts off as a playful and somewhat insensitive friend of Billy's, not taking the recent violence seriously. He then becomes more layered as his darker side is hinted at with his reference to his 'hurricane bash' from the previous year and he tries to process whether Billy could be the killer. As the murders continue, Stu becomes more prone to making jokes and goofing off and is fascinated by Gale, wanting her attention. He is eventually revealed to be a sadistic killer, who is consumed by feelings of inadequacy. He is ultimately killed in the final showdown with Sidney. Stu's arc is interesting and adds depth to his character, but the motivations for his actions as a killer are not entirely clear. It would have been beneficial to explore his character more in-depth and provide clearer reasoning for his sadistic tendencies. Additionally, his lack of agency and reliance on Billy as his lackey could be seen as a weakness in his character development.
To improve Stu's character arc, it would have been useful to delve deeper into his motivations and explore his insecurities and experiences that led him to be consumed by feelings of inadequacy. It would have also been beneficial to observe the power dynamic between Billy and Stu and how their friendship contributed to Stu's decision to become a killer. In addition, giving Stu more agency and developing his character outside of his relationship with Billy could have added more depth to his character.