Scream (1996) / Horror-Comedy

MPAA Rated: R for strong graphic horror violence and gore, and for language
Running Time: 111 min.

Cast: Neve Campbell, Skeet Ulrich, Lawrence Hecht, Courtney Cox, Rose McGowan
Director: Wes Craven
Screenplay: Kevin Williamson
Review published December 17, 1997

A suburban town is terrorized by a series of grisly murders committed by a crazed psycho in a ghoul outfit who like to call his victims before pulling out their entrails.  Neve Campbell (The Craft, Wild Things) plays Sidney Prescott, who sent a man to death row after testifying against him in the case involving the rape and murder of her mother the year before.  She may have implicated the wrong man as she becomes the focal point for the "ghoul's" obsession, who soon stalks her, leaving an endless trail of bodies in pursuit.

The film is a slasher movie lover's dream as there are countless references to other films of the same ilk (Halloween, Friday the 13th, and even director Craven's A Nightmare on Elm Street).  It's more of a film made for fun than for terror.  The only truly horrific scene is the first which features Drew Barrymore (Everyone Says I Love You, Batman Forever) being harassed by a mysterious voice claiming to want to "see her insides."  The film later becomes more comical, albeit extremely violent, and plays more for ironic laughs than for stomach-turning gore.  The cast is likeable (with the exception of Depp-leganger Ulrich (Boys, As Good as it Gets) as Neve's blue-balled boyfriend and his annoying friend Stuart, played by the actor who was equally irritating in Hackers, Matthew Lillard.)

This is the kind of movie one should see with a large group of rowdy friends.  It's guaranteed for thrills and chills without feeling demeaned for having spent time and money on schlock.  The only drawback is that the film is mired with the same clichés it ridicules other films for, and it also requires you not to think too much about plot holes and motivations.  You may feel a guilt hangover afterward, but while the film is showing your eyes will be glued to the screen.

-- Followed by Scream 2, Scream 3 and Scream 4  

Qwipster's rating:

©1997 Vince Leo