|SCREAM (director: Wes Craven; screenwriter: Kevin Williamson; cinematographer: Mark Irwin; editor: Patrick Lussier; music: Marco Beltrami; cast: Drew Barrymore (Casey), Neve Campbell (Sidney), Skeet Ulrich (Billy), Rose McGowan (Tatum Riley), Matthew Lillard (Stuart), Jamie Kennedy (Randy), Henry Winkler (Principal Himbry), Lawrence Hecht (Mr. Prescott), Courteney Cox (Gale Weathers), (Jamie Kennedy), David Arquette (Deputy Dewey Riley), Joseph Whipp (Sheriff Burke), W. Earle Brown (Kenny), Kevin Patrick Walls (Steve), Liev Schrieber (Cotton Weary); Runtime: 100; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Cary Woods/Cathy Konrad; Miramax; 1996)|
by Dennis Schwartz
One of the better Wes Craven ("Nightmare
on Elm Street"/"Shocker"/"The Hills Have Eyes") fright
flicks. It's cleverly penned by first-timer Kevin
Williamson. While acting as a homage to the
slasher films of the 1970s, it runs down for the
viewer the slasher movie conventions. It mixes lewd
comedy, in-jokes, decrepit satire, social commentary
on the debasement of society and the usual slasher
film scares. It also brings on a surprisingly nutty
but appealing denouement, in a film that maybe I'm
giving too much credit for pulling off some sicko
jolts without apologizing for being an exploitation
film. It goes out of its way to tell us in no
uncertain terms that "Movies don't make
psychos; movies make psychos more creative."
set in the suburban California small town of
Woodsboro. It opens with high school coed
Casey (Drew Barrymore) confronted by a psycho killer
who, previously made a threatening crank call on a
cell phone. The psycho quizzes her on details from
Carpenter's Halloween before he brutally hangs Casey
by her intestines and her boyfriend is disemboweled.
The town virgin, Sydney Prescott (Neve Campbell), is
bummed out because her mom was brutally murdered a
year ago and her dad (Lawrence Hecht) has
left town on business and can't be located. Sydney's
further startled when right after a crank call her
slippery boyfriend Billy (Skeet Ulrich)
climbs into her bedroom window looking for some action
and she responds by necking with him. When learning of
the murders, Sydney thinks it might be the same one
who killed her mom and wonders if the one convicted of
mom's murder might in fact be innocent. Sleazy tabloid
TV news reporter Gale Weathers ( Courteney
Cox) is all over the murders, hoping it will
increase sales of the book she just released on the
murder of Mrs. Prescott.
perky best friend Tatum (Rose McGowan),
whose naive brother Dewey (David Arquette)
is the deputy sheriff, is dating the school weirdo,
the hyperactive Stuart (Matthew Lillard).
Other town characters of note include the high-strung
high school principal (Henry Winkler), who hates
teenagers; Randy (Jamie Kennedy), the nerdy video
store clerk, whose expertise is in horror movies; and
the no-nonsense Sheriff (Joseph Whipp).
The killer is being hunted by the local cops. But while donning a Halloween costume and wielding a large hunter's knife, the psycho goes on a killing spree, which culminates in a bloodbath in the house of Stuart's parents--where the students are partying.
REVIEWED ON 4/16/2016 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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