In this section of our Colossus Movie Guide for Scream, we will explain the film’s ending.
- Sidney Prescott – Neve Campbell
- Billy Loomis – Skeet Ulrich
- Stu Macher – Matthew Lillard
- Gale Weathers – Courteney Cox
- Dewey Riley – David Arquete
- Randy Meeks – Jamie Kennedy
- Tatum Riley – Rose McGowan
- Casey Becker – Drew Barrymore
- Ghostface (voice) – Roger Jackson
- Principal Himbry – Henry Winkler
- Written by – Kevin Williamson
- Directed by – Wes Craven
The end of Scream explained
The ending of Scream takes place at a house party thrown by Stu Macher. Sidney attends the party, as do her friends Tatum, Randy, and others. While the party is happening, news reporter Gale Weathers plants a hidden camera to record the events. As the party progresses, the killer, known as Ghostface, begins to murder the guests one by one. Eventually, the partygoers leave, and only a few characters remain in the house.
Sidney discovers that her boyfriend, Billy Loomis, and his best friend, Stu, are the two people behind the Ghostface killings. They reveal their motives: Billy is driven by revenge because Sidney’s mother had an affair with his father, which led to his parents’ divorce, while Stu is mainly following Billy’s lead. The duo plans to frame Sidney’s father for the murders, making it appear as if he went on a killing spree due to the affair.
In the climactic sequence, Sidney manages to turn the tables on Billy and Stu, fighting back and outsmarting them. The film ends with the surviving characters—Sidney, Gale, and Dewey—reflecting on the harrowing events they’ve just experienced.
The big reveal
The ending of Scream serves to subvert the expectations of the audience and the conventions of the horror genre. The revelation that two characters are behind the killings is unexpected, as most slasher films feature a single antagonist. This twist not only adds a layer of complexity to the story but also highlights the theme of deception and hidden motives that runs throughout the movie.
Billy and Stu’s motives for the killings are rooted in their personal lives and relationships, which adds a psychological dimension to the story. The film explores how feelings of betrayal, anger, and a desire for revenge can drive people to commit horrific acts. This focus on the characters’ emotions and motivations sets Scream apart from other horror films that often feature more supernatural or inexplicable antagonists.
The final girl
In traditional slasher films, the final girl is often portrayed as innocent, morally pure, and more cautious in her behavior compared to other characters. She usually avoids engaging in activities like drug use, excessive drinking, or premarital sex, which are deemed transgressions in the genre and often lead to other characters’ deaths.
Scream subverts this aspect of the trope through Sidney Prescott’s characterization. Sidney is a more complex and layered character than many traditional final girls. While she is cautious and resourceful, she is also flawed and emotionally vulnerable due to her mother’s death and the subsequent events that unfold. Moreover, Sidney engages in premarital sex with her boyfriend, Billy, which would typically be a fatal transgression in a traditional slasher film. Instead, Sidney survives and outsmarts her attackers, demonstrating that she doesn’t need to adhere to the strict moral code often associated with the final girl trope.
Additionally, Scream subverts the final girl trope by making Sidney aware of the conventions of horror movies, which is an unusual trait for a final girl. Sidney’s awareness of the genre’s rules and her ability to use this knowledge to her advantage adds a meta layer to her character and further distinguishes her from the traditional final girl archetype.
Scream explores the blurred line between reality and fiction and the impact of media and pop culture. The 90s saw a big debate about violent media based on a fear it would inspire kids and teens to commit the brutal acts they saw in games and movies. At first, one might think that’s what happened with Billy. But Billy himself says, “Movies don’t create psychos; movies make psychos more creative.”
While Scream does absolve cinema of blame, it absolutely points the finger at news media. Gale Weathers embodies the way in which the entire news industry not only profits off true crime but often plays a role in events. Whether in the aftermath and the perception of who is guilty and who is innocent. Or actually inspiring others to seek fame, infamy, and legacy through media coverage. It’s supposed to be painful that Gale goes from a life-or-death situation to reporting on the situation. Someone might argue that it’s empowering. Like, “Wow, look how strong she is.” Gale is strong. But she’s also the problem. A concept that’s explored more explicitly in Scream 2, Scream 3, Scream 4, Scream (2022), and I’m guessing Scream 6.
This is an evergreen theme that’s probably even more relevant in the 21st century than it was in the mid 90s. With the rise of social media amplifying every detail of every story, news media has more power than ever before. And there are countless instances of what happens when the media gets it wrong. Or, even worse, actively spreads sensationalism and misinformation for the sake of ratings.
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