Scream is a 1996 American slasher film directed by Wes Craven and written by Kevin Williamson. The film stars David Arquette, Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, Matthew Lillard, Rose McGowan, Skeet Ulrich, and Drew Barrymore. Released on December 20, 1996, it follows the character of Sidney Prescott (Campbell), a high school student in the fictional town of Woodsboro, California, who becomes the target of a mysterious killer in a Halloween costume known as Ghostface. The film combines black comedy and "whodunit" mystery with the violence of the slasher genre to satirize the clichés of the horror movie genre popularized in films such as Halloween (1978), Friday the 13th (1980) and Craven's own A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984). Scream was considered unique at the time of its release for featuring characters who were aware of real-world horror films and openly discussed the clichés that the film attempted to subvert.