Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


SCREAM (1996). Director: Wes Craven.

About a year after her mother was raped and murdered, high school student Sidney (Neve Campbell) discovers that the horror isn't over when there are more murders in the town of Woodsboro, California seemingly tied in with her mother's death. The first victim is a classmate named Casey (Drew Barrymore, pictured) with whom the killer plays mind games about horror movies over the phone. Sidney's boyfriend, Billy (Skeet Ulrich), becomes the first suspect, and there are other weirdoes, such as the perpetually grinning and obnoxious, spittle-faced Stuart (Matthew Lillard), and horror movie-obsessed Randy (Jamie Kennedy). Deputy Dewey (David Arquette) is attracted to the aggressive reporter, Gail Weathers (Courteney Cox), who has come to report on the murders and is convinced that Sidney fingered the wrong man for the original crime. Perhaps the most interesting murder sequence involves the deputy's sister Tatum (Rose McGowan) and an inconvenient garage door. This is a reasonably entertaining horror-thriller with an air of tongue-in-cheek flippancy, although it's certainly not an out and out comedy and not quite a spoof of slasher films. Scream is not that well directed or edited, and in fact the energetic musical score [Marco Beltrami] seems to be doing most of the work. Arquette and Cox [who later married] give perhaps the most memorable performances among the leads, although Ulrich and Lillard are also noteworthy. One real problem with the film is that it isn't especially scary nor atmospheric. Followed by Scream 2.

Verdict: At least it's miles ahead of stuff like Prom Night. **1/2.

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