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Ghostface’s True Identity Was Revealed Right From the First Scene


  • Scream revolutionized the horror genre with its innovative storytelling and cleverly placed hints, particularly in the iconic opening scene.
  • Unlike its successors, Scream plays fair with its audience, laying out all the necessary clues for astute viewers to solve the mystery.
  • Scream’s enduring appeal lies in its unique blend of horror, comedy, and mystery, setting a high bar for storytelling and character development in the genre.

The 1996 slasher film, Scream, hid the central mystery of the Ghostface killer in plain sight in the opening scene. And you probably didn’t notice. Scream distinguishes itself in modern cinema not only through its innovative take on the horror genre but also due to the ingeniously devised mystery that lies at its heart. Wes Craven’s direction and Kevin Williamson’s writing combined to transform the slasher genre in Scream, introducing a self-aware, suspenseful narrative personified by Ghostface, a mysterious killer at the film’s heart.

Scream is set in the fictional town of Woodsboro, where Sidney Prescott, a high school student, becomes the target of a mysterious killer in a Ghostface mask. With each new victim, Sidney and her peers find themselves ensnared in a lethal cat and mouse chase, desperate to reveal the identity of the murderer. The film’s climax delivers a shocking twist: not one, but two killers are behind the Ghostface mask – Sidney’s boyfriend, Billy Loomis, and his friend Stu Macher.

What makes Scream exceptional is not just its climactic twist, but the cleverly placed hints throughout the movie, especially noticeable in the first scene. This scene, now iconic in the horror genre, features a chilling phone conversation between Casey Becker (portrayed by Drew Barrymore) and the killer. The killer asks Casey to guess whether he is behind her front door or patio door, a question that, in retrospect, hints at the presence of two killers. This subtle clue is a testament to Williamson’s skillful writing, embedding hints in plain sight yet skillfully concealed by the film’s suspenseful narrative.

Scream’s approach to its mystery element is a key factor in its enduring appeal. Unlike its successors and many contemporary thrillers, Scream plays fair with its audience. The film lays out all the necessary clues for an astute viewer to solve the mystery, maintaining a balance between suspense and transparency that few films manage to achieve. This quality not only made Scream a hit upon its release but also ensures its status as a classic, rewarding repeated viewings with new insights and appreciation for its craftsmanship.

RELATED: Why Wes Craven is One of the Greatest Horror Movie Directors

Scream Legacy: Redefining Horror with a Mix of Comedy & Mystery


Release Date
December 20, 1996

Wes Craven

Drew Barrymore, Kevin Patrick Walls, David Booth, Carla Hatley, Neve Campbell, Skeet Ulrich

Crime, Horror, Mystery

While the Scream franchise continued with several sequels, none have quite matched the original in terms of the effectiveness of their scares, the sharpness of their meta-commentary, or the impact of their Ghostface reveals. Each sequel attempted to reinvent the formula with different motivations, connections, and twists on the multiple-killer theme. Yet, they often fell short in recapturing the original’s blend of horror and whodunnit intrigue. This shortcoming highlights the original film’s unique place in the horror genre, setting a high bar for storytelling and character development.

Retrospectively, Scream isn’t just a cinematic work; it’s a defining juncture in the horror genre’s evolution. Its influence can be seen in numerous films and TV shows that followed, which adopted its blend of self-referential humor and genuine terror. By defying slasher genre norms, the film revolutionized the horror movie landscape. This showcases Craven and Williamson’s creative prowess, illustrating the rejuvenating power of innovative storytelling in familiar genres. This showcases Craven and Williamson’s creative prowess, illustrating the rejuvenating power of innovative storytelling in familiar genres.

As we reflect on Scream nearly three decades later, its legacy is evident in its continued relevance and popularity. The film masterfully intertwined horror, comedy, and mystery, providing entertainment and stirring dialogue about the horror genre’s place in society.

Watch Scream (1996) opening scene below:


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