7 Life Lessons Sidney Prescott Learns From The ‘Scream’ Movies
Spoiler warning: The following article contains spoilers for “Scream” (2022)
the Scream The series is back with a vengeance in light of the fifth entry’s opening weekend box office, boosted by positive reviews and a warm fan response. The graphically violent comedic thriller honors the story of one of horror’s most beloved franchises while taking it in engaging and interesting new directions. It is an exploit.
As has been the case with every entry since Wes Craventhe original from 1996, neve campbellSidney Prescott’s performance is perhaps the film’s greatest asset. Sidney is one of horror’s finest Final Girls, a tough survivor who has always grounded the gory, fun series in genuine emotion. The reviews and Scream fans praised Campbell for reimagining Sidney in the latest Scream; she is older, tougher and wiser. She is now a wife and mother and therefore more assertive, less patient with adversaries, and quicker to act, even lethal. It’s an understated yet dazzling and picture-perfect performance that reminds fans why they fell so hard for Sidney over a quarter century ago. During her time in Woodsboro, Sidney learned some crucial and universal life lessons.
Be careful who you trust
Sidney comes from a grieving background, with roots long before the events of the original film even took place. For years, the brutal assault and murder of Sidney’s mother was Woodsboro’s most infamous unsolved crime. Sidney’s testimony and suspicions contributed to the innocent (admittedly unkind) Cotton Weary (Liev Schreiber) until, thanks in part to the persistence of Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox), the killers turn out to be Sidney’s boyfriend, Billy Loomis (Skeet Ulrich) and accomplice Stu Macher (Matthew Lillard). Sidney narrowly survives the experience, and it has a resounding impact on her friendships and relationships going forward. Campbell’s flawless performance evolves, quietly, as the series progresses.
To be clear, this lesson is not “never trust anyone”. If Sidney lived entirely in a bubble, she wouldn’t be so relatable. Over time and through shared experiences, Sidney has learned to let people in again: including Dewey Riley (David Arquette), and of course Gale. Sidney and Gale’s friendship is perhaps especially touching because they start out as enemies at best.
At some point you have to let go of the past and move on
Cinema’s greatest action and thriller heroines are called to action in extreme ways, in dire and unsustainable circumstances. Campbell’s Sidney truly belongs in the pantheon of greats like Jamie Lee Curtis” Laurie Strode, Sigourney Weaveris Ellen Ripley, and Linda Hamiltonit’s Sarah Connor. These characters discover themselves and their strength in life and death scenarios that are foreign to most people who watch the movies. Credit solid writing and excellent acting to keep fans relating.
However, what really sets Sidney apart from other Final Girls and action heroines is her refusal to let her traumatic and haunted past define her. In contrast to the so-so of 2018 Halloween reboot where Laurie (admittedly, played to perfection by Curtis) ostracized her family and retired to a life of hidden target practice, the Sidney of 2022 Scream is first seen pushing a double stroller on a morning jog. The show’s most dedicated fans will notice the subtle reference that Sidney’s husband, and father of her children, is Mark Kincaid (Patrick Dempsey). Sidney is now married to the charming cop of Cry 3. Motherhood and a happy new life outside of Woodsboro give Sidney new motivation. “I won’t sleep until he’s underground,” she said. Chills.
Never succumb to bullying
A sharp move from the original Scream the storyline is Sidney’s haunted and murky past and the grim details surrounding her mother’s violent death. This makes her an outcast in her small town. There’s a very sad moment in this photo when two high school girls cruelly laugh at Sidney’s backstory, unaware that she’s listening from a bathroom stall. Details like this make his agency and arc more thought-provoking.
One of the many reasons why Jill’s twist (Emma Roberts) being the killer in Cry 4 (this is probably the best Scream sequel, always) is his distorted perspective of Cousin Sidney’s hard-earned positive image in the media. Jill wants what Sidney has, or thinks she has, but she doesn’t want to be a real fighter to work for it.
Resourcefulness is the key
One of the most vital traits of a Final Girl is ingenuity. For example, one of the greatest horror moments occurs Halloween, the film most responsible for Scream’s existence. The infamous closet scene in the 1978 thriller sees Sidney’s predecessor, Laurie Strode, incapacitate the enormous “Shape” with an improvised suspension weapon. It’s a brilliant moment that has the audience applauding, cementing Laurie’s status as a force to be reckoned with, using intellect instead of force. Sidney echoes this ability to think on his feet, among myriad notable examples are his surprise, then the impalement of an armed Billy with an umbrella in the original film, and his ingenuity with a defibrillator towards the end of Cry 4.
One of the most touching examples of Sid’s ingenuity is found at the end of the big bloody Cry 2, where Killer Mickey (Timothy Olyphant) shoots her innocent boyfriend Derek (Jerry O’Connell) and holds her at gunpoint. Sid cuts Mickey with Derek’s Greek letters (a recent sign of affection), gaining the upper hand.
Sidney isn’t a fan of horror movies, but she’s been living there for decades and she knows the rules, including double tapping. Jamie Kennedy‘s Randy spells out many of horror’s most practical rules for the uninitiated at the start of the first Scream (no sex, no booze, never say “I’ll be right back”), and it’s only towards the end that he informs Sidney of the importance of the double tap. As Billy Loomis is seemingly dead in front of our surviving heroes, Randy whispers to Sidney that it’s time for our killer to return for one last jumpscare. Sidney ends this with a slug at Billy’s crown, joking, “Not in my movie.”
The tradition continues. In Cry 2, Sidney shoots Mrs. Loomis (Laurie Metcalf) twice, “just in case”. She tells Dewey to shoot Roman (Scott Foley) in the head Cry 3 after unloading seemingly countless rounds into the chest. Then, gratifyingly, Sidney gets the final headshot from a Terminator-like Jill Roberts in the underrated Cry 4. It may not be the most universally applicable life lesson Sidney has learned, but for her, it’s one of the most practical.
It’s okay to swear sometimes
Sidney Prescott is a good person who radiates kindness; we see that she is often the first to help a vulnerable person, even at their own risk. She was never a Mary Sue either; she has hardened features and rough edges that make her more recognizable as human, more sympathetic. Among these traits is surely his salty language under stress. Sidney is no stranger to a four letter word. One of his most quoted moments is in the bloody finale of the original film. She tells killers Billy and Stu, “You sick people have seen too many movies.”
In the final film, moments after her reintroduction to the screen, Dewey asks if she has a gun. “I’m Sidney f**king Prescott,” she said. “Of course I have a gun.” It’s pure Sydney. It’s perfect.
Never give up
The final girls are forever in the hearts of horror fans, characterized by their ingenuity, intelligence, and kindness that overcomes evil. Of true innovation Kevin Williamson storyline brought to life with the hard-hitting, terrorizing touch of Craven, the original Scream had some very original hooks like movie-literate characters and meta-humor balanced with gory, visceral scares and swashbuckling mystery. Backed by strong writing that never delves into caricature, Campbell’s naturalistic performance as Sidney was as crucial to the film’s appeal as anything. Sidney grows stronger and never backs down, despite moments of overwhelmed fear and self-doubt that make her more human and approachable. The events of a Scream the movie are extreme, but Sid still feels real.
The sweet and intelligent Sidney introduced in 1996 gradually evolved and never gave up, becoming perhaps the toughest Final Girl in horror history. It’s almost impossible to imagine the series without her.
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