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Dumb things in Scream everyone just ignores

Modern horror would not be where it is today if it weren't for Scream. The 1996 slasher flick — penned by Kevin Williamson (who would later go on to create Dawson's Creek and The Vampire Diaries) and directed by horror master Wes Craven — reinvigorated the genre. It was the perfection of meta horror, a concept that Craven had played with previously, albeit to a less effective degree. And without Scream, we would've never gotten I Know What You Did Last Summer, The Faculty, Urban Legend, and every other teen ensemble horror movie of the late '90s and early '00s.

Scream defied the horror odds and became both a critical and commercial success. It's the second highest-grossing slasher of all time, only losing the top spot in 2018 to the half-reboot/half-sequel Halloween. However, for as much as the film likes to poke fun at the horror genre it resides in, Scream can itself at times be completely laughable. So pull down your Ghostface mask, grab a voice changer, and reacquaint yourself with the rules, because we're going to slash through the dumb stuff in Scream that everyone usually ignores.

Just hang up

Today, Scream's opening sequence is considered to be one of horror's most shocking. Part of that was because at the time of the movie's release, Drew Barrymore had been marketed as its star. Her image is the standout on the poster, and indeed, at the time, Barrymore was the biggest name in the cast. So to have her bite it before the title credits ever appeared came as something of a surprise. The other shocking thing about the sequence? Just how stupid Barrymore's character, Casey, is.

When Ghostface first calls Casey, she, like many others, initially suspects it's a prank. There's some playful back and forth between the two, and Casey hangs up a number of times — four, if we're keeping count — before Ghostface threatens to gut her if she does it again. At that point, Casey stays on the phone and plays horror movie trivia at the expense of her boyfriend and, ultimately, herself. What Casey could (and should) have done is just not answer the phone. Or call the police. Instead, she walks into a trap with open arms.

Billy is a terrible boyfriend

Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) is not having a great year. By the time the Ghostface killing spree begins, she's still mourning the loss of her mother, who was killed (and presumably raped) a year prior. The man thought to be responsible is in prison, but that doesn't stop Sidney's classmates from calling her mom a slut behind her back and insinuating that Sidney is following in her footsteps. She isn't, but it isn't for lack of trying on her boyfriend, Billy's (Skeet Ulrich) part.

Billy's go-to method for getting into his girlfriend's panties is to basically tell her that a year is more than enough time to mourn, and she should just sort of get over her mom's brutal murder. Keep in mind that Sidney is still a virgin, so essentially, her boyfriend is not only trying to convince her to have sex with him because she's been sad about her dead mom long enough, but he's trying to use her mom as leverage to guilt her into losing her virginity. In other words, this is a major jerk move, and it should've tipped us off long before the twist that Billy was a secret psychopath.

Gale Weathers would never be taken seriously

Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox) kind of vacillates between being a good guy and being a self-serving, degrading, obnoxious pain. At the onset of the film, Gale's only interest is in furthering her news career. She's written an exposé on Sidney's mom and the man who was wrongly convicted of her murder, and she somehow always happens to be on the scene when a good story breaks. Gale approaches the news the same way a tabloid reporter would, only she expects to be taken seriously as a journalist.

And she eventually is. By Scream's end, Gale is the reporter responsible for breaking the Ghostface killing spree story, and further along into the series, she has a couple more books under her belt, and she moonlights as a guest lecturer for a college journalism course. But the idea that Gale would somehow make the leap from the 1996 TMZ newsroom equivalent to highly sought-after journalist is a little far fetched. Her idea of an interview involves pushing someone's buttons until they punch her in the face, and that highlighter yellow ensemble doesn't exactly scream legitimate news reporter.

Police force standards are pretty lax in the world of Scream

Woodsboro is about as far removed from big city life as any California city could be. Homes sit on large lots, every single teenager goes to the same high school, and there are maybe three places in town to actually hang out at. The idea that the Woodsboro police department would be a small operation isn't really far-fetched. But seriously, who runs this place?

Aside from Deputy Dewey (David Arquette) and Sheriff Burke (Jospeh Whipp), who make an appearance at every crime scene in town, there are maybe six other officers who work for the department. And surely, at least one of them has to be better at their job than Dewey is. He mostly spends his time bumbling through crime scenes, trying to act tougher than he really is, and getting himself stabbed the second he attempts to be an actual hero. The fact that he also allows a reporter to tag along with him while he keeps tabs on a serial killer's target because he thinks she's cute is just completely unprofessional.

Why does everyone suspect Randy in Scream?

The teens who reside in Woodsboro must really have a twisted sense of humor. Every time one of them has a run-in with Ghostface, their immediate assumption is that it's another one of their friends — and more often than not, they think it's Randy (Jamie Kennedy). When Sidney gets her first call from the killer, she's convinced it's him. And the same thing goes for Tatum (Rose McGowan) when she runs into him in the garage. But why?

Sure, Randy has something of a horror movie obsession. He certainly knows all the rules required to survive one. But Randy only likes to talk about horror movies with his friends. He's never set up as the guy who's always pranking the people around him. If anything, they should assume it's Stu (Matthew Lillard). It's established early on that out of the entire friend group, Stu's the one with the most twisted sense of humor. Why wouldn't he be at the top of their list?

A serial killer rave

Two murders and a couple of attacks in, Woodsboro effectively shuts down. The school suspends classes until further notice, and the police department issues a city-wide curfew beginning at 9 pm. But only Sidney seems to be taking any of this whole "murderer on the loose" thing seriously. For everyone else at Woodsboro High, it's the perfect opportunity for a massive party.

Stu decides to throw an impromptu get-together at his place to celebrate the city coming to a stand-still, and although he pitches it to Sidney as an intimate gathering, word gets out, and half the school shows up. It makes for the perfect murder spree opportunity, but where exactly are everyone's parents in all of this, and do none of them realize the gravity of the situation? Both Sidney's dad and Stu's parents are out of town. While we know the reason Sidney's father hasn't returned from his business trip is because he's been kidnapped, why would Stu's parents leave knowing there's a killer out there, targeting teens that their son is close to?

Randy is kind of an idiot

Poor Randy. As if it weren't bad enough that he finds himself in the unenviable friend group position of being the butt of everyone's joke, he winds up being at the top of everyone's list of potential murder suspects, as well. What does Randy do in the midst of having all of his friends think he could be a cold-blooded killer? He decides it's the perfect time to make a play for Sidney.

Randy is convinced the killer is Sidney's boyfriend, Billy (he isn't wrong). His first instinct is to share this suspicion with Billy's best friend, Stu, thinking somehow his opinion of Billy won't get back to him. But then Randy asks Stu if he thinks Sidney would go out with him, now that her boyfriend has tried to kill her. Randy doesn't just have poor timing — he has poor judgment. Getting dating advice from the best friend of someone he thinks is an actual killer isn't the smartest move on Randy's part.

Human through a doggy door

In the middle of Stu's party, Tatum leaves the main group to grab more beer from the refrigerator in the garage. It's there that she's confronted by Ghostface, and she assumes (of course) that it's Randy playing games with her. It isn't until he slices her arm with a hunting knife that Tatum fully realizes the gravity of her situation. After some evasive maneuvering, which includes using both a freezer door and beer bottles as defensive weapons, Tatum attempts to escape via the doggy door.

We already know at this point that the garage door works. Tatum initially tried to go out that way when she realized she'd been locked out of the house. And up until the point where she goes for the doggy door, she's managed to do a pretty decent job of subduing the killer. If she'd just grabbed any number of potential weapons leaning against the wall, Tatum could've knocked Ghostface out cold, opened the garage door completely, and run outside.

Instead, she tries to wriggle through a tiny hole at the bottom of the garage door that any normal person could see is too small for a human body. And yeah, this doesn't end well for poor Tatum.

Surviving a second story fall

Once Sidney breaks the cardinal horror movie final girl rule, she still isn't quite convinced of Billy's innocence (which is weird in itself, only because she literally just had sex with a guy she thinks might still be a killer). Billy asks Sidney what he needs to do to convince her that he isn't a murderer, and in a perfectly timed movie moment, Ghostface shows up behind him and stabs him the second he turns around. The killer then goes after Sidney, who falls backwards out of a second story window and onto a tarped boat in the driveway.

First of all, it's extremely lucky that this boat just happened to be parked directly underneath the window Sidney falls from. But if you know anything about the inside of a boat, it's set up kind of like the inside of a car, in that there are seats, a wheel, and not a whole lot else. So unless this particular boat was covered by something more than a tarp, Sidney would've likely fallen in between the chairs and onto the hard deck — or worse, she would have snapped her spine on the back of one of the chairs themselves. But she definitely wouldn't have just dusted herself off and headed on her way.

How many times can one girl get away?

Sidney is one of the best examples of a final girl ever portrayed in horror. She's smart, resilient, and not afraid to fight back. At some point, though, her luck should've run out. After all, she's being pursued by two killers — not just one.

Sidney manages to get away from the two Ghostfaces a number of times throughout the film before she's finally able to defeat them, with a little help from her friends. But when you consider how many times they square off against each other, no one seems to come out of their battles all that damaged (until the finale, obviously). It's like they spend an hour and a half play-fighting. It seems like Sidney should've at least had a broken bone or two. And if Billy and Stu are tag-teaming and still haven't been able to kill Sidney, that makes them some of the worst examples of serial killers ever portrayed in horror.

Billy is really committed

When Billy is "stabbed" by Ghostface, he really commits to the role. Before he reveals himself to be the second killer, Billy plays up the blood and gore, and he genuinely makes it look as though he's on the brink of death. But part of his act doesn't feel very necessary, especially if he's only a minute or two away from coming out as a serial killer.

Right before Billy reveals his true nature to Sidney, he appears at the top of the stairs — wounded but alive. Sidney is shocked to see he's survived, but what's truly shocking is that Billy then falls down a flight of stairs and is somehow still okay. Did Billy need to throw himself down the stairs to sell his wounded but alive bit? Definitely not. He could've just as easily stumbled his way down while holding on to the banister. Perhaps Billy is something of a daredevil, though, and stairs are his medium of choice. Whatever was behind his decision, at least he got the delivery on point.

A wasted getaway at the end of Scream

In the film's bloody showdown, Sidney is full aware that both Billy and Stu — trusted friends — aren't only responsible for her mother's brutal murder, but they've also been planning her bloody demise for over a year. They've gone after some of Sidney's closest friends, and they plan on framing her father for the entire thing. They mean business. And if that wasn't already abundantly clear, Billy and Stu go the extra step of stabbing each other so they'll be able to sell their survivor story to the cops.

However, this would've been the perfect time to bail on the whole scene. Billy and Stu are busy playing with knives and arguing with each other over how serious a stab wound is too serious a stab wound, and Sidney could've taken the opportunity to grab something off the kitchen counter and overpower them while they're weak. It's not like she knew she'd have another opening when the two went outside to shoot Gale (which, why leave Sidney alone?), so mid-stab fest would've been as good a time as any.