It’s the Halloween season again. I decided to grab some drinks have some friends over the apartment and watch the 1996 film Scream. I have lost count how many times I’ve seen this movie. Although, it has been about 10 years and I’ve never seen it while intoxicated. So this could get interesting.
Drew Barrymore (Casey Becker) is making popcorn in a house that has waaay to many windows. The phone rings. She picks up. It’s an anonymous caller. He messes with her a bit asking playful questions like “do you have a boyfriend.” Casey says ‘no’ the conversation starts getting heated. I’m talking Mel Gibson yelling at his wife heated. Casey threatens the caller by saying her boyfriend will be over any minute to kick his ass, even though she just denied having a boyfriend moments ago. The killer points out her boyfriends name is Steve. She turns on the back patio lights. Steve is tied up in a chair. Do you think Steve heard the first part of the conversation where she denied having a boyfriend? That would suck. Not only are you about to die, now you know your girlfriend really didn’t like you anyway since she is lying to a stranger on the phone about your existence. That’s a shot at the ego. WTF?!
The killer wants to play a game where Steve’s life can be spared if she answers a horror movie question correctly. Ok Casey! This is your moment of redemption. Time to shine and show you give a damn about Steve……. Awww Damnt! She got a little over confident about her answer and was wrong. Now Steve is dead because of you. Good job Stacy! Now in exchange for her life, she needs to answer a question correctly. This time its “what door am I at?” This killer plays by shitty rules. She never gives an answer before a chair crashes though a window and gets confronted by the killer.
A scuffle breaks out. Damnt, everything is ruined! The popcorn is burnt. Windows are breaking and boyfriends are dead. From the backyard she attempts to run to the front of the house and catches a glimpse of her parents entering the front door but can’t speak up. Smoke is all over the place as the parents call for there daughter. The mom picks up the phone to hear her daughter on the other end in agony. At this point, I hear something odd on the other end of the phone as her mom is listening right before the phone cuts out. After you hear Casey making “clinging to life” noises as she is dragged across the yard, I hear something that sounds like the voice of someone doing Kung Fu. I’m not kidding. Go back and listen. The second before the phone disconnects you hear the noise of what sounds like someone doing a karate kick grunt. Just an odd choice of random sound effect noises I guess. Anyway, the killer hangs Casey’s body out on display from a tree. The mom steps outside to see her daughter hanging there like a Pinata. I must say, someone has some serious holstering skills to pull all that off in a short amount of time.
Meanwhile, at the Prescott residents Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) is in her room typing away on a computer without a care in the world. Billy (Skeet Ulrich) crawls in through her window. Remember Skeet Ulrich? Every now and then an actor comes along and Hollywood tries to make a star out of them and it doesn’t work. I think of Skeet as the Gerard Butler of the late 90’s. One or two good films then everything else sucks after that. He had parts in As Good As It Gets, The Craft, Scream, The Newton Boys. Then he had that TV show Jericho. Some pegged him as being the next Johnny Depp. Why? because they were both in a Wes Craven movie and they have the same kind of features? That’s about all they shared. He also did a movie with Cuba Gooding Jr (Chill Factor). That equals career death.
I’m getting off track. Billy crawls through her room looking for a little ‘nookie’ (if I am doing this for a 90’s movie, I reserve the right to use 90’s words like ‘nookie’) He gets denied. Her dad pops in and explains he is going away for a while. Do we ever find out in the history of this franchise what the hell her dad does for a living? I thought it was hilarious how in the parody film Scary Movie they made him a drug dealer. The dad leaves. Billy crawls out from his hiding spot then gets a PG-13 relationship speech and slinks out of her window with blue balls. No Skeeting for Skeet tonight!
Alright, its the next day at Woodsboro High. Classes are suspended due to the murder. We are introduced to the majority of the cast. Stu (Matthew Lillard) Tatum (Rose McGowan) Randy (Jamie Kennedy) Gosh, everyone in this movie is now washed up. Sidney plans to stay with Tatum since her dad is away. It’s also the eve of her moms death. Why the hell would you go away and leave your daughter alone on the one year anniversary of your wife / her mothers death? Then again, she did cheat on him, but still it’s Sidney’s mom. Show some respect! Your daughter might need you! (SUSPECT!)
It’s now later that same day and getting darker. Sidney is home and Tatum is running late picking her up. (SUSPECT!) The killer calls Sydney but she thinks its Randy messing with her. She gets startled when the killer brings up her dead mom who was presumably killed by a man named Cotton Weary (Liev Schreiber) almost exactly one year ago. The killer pops up behind her. We have another scuffle. The killer chases her up the stairs. She locks the door and calls 911. The killer disappears. Billy magically appears entering through her bedroom window and drops a cell phone. (SUSPECT!) Sydney freaks and runs downstairs and almost gives herself a brain aneurysm when she opens the downstairs door and is greeted by the killers mask which is being held in front of her face by deputy Dewey (David Arquette) who is also Tatum’s older brother.
Time for a field trip to the police station. Billy is questioned.
Cop: What are you doing with a cellular telephone son?
Billy: Everyone’s got one sheriff!
Ya sheriff! Get with the times. What year do you think this is? I mean texting, sexting and sending dick pics wasn’t main stream yet in 1996 -1997 but we had cell phones. Sidney won’t even look at Billy and they can’t get a hold of her father. What a bummer. (SUSPECT!) Sidney & Tatum are escorted out the side of the police station in an attempt to dodge the media out front but it fails horribly. Gail Weathers (Courtney Cox) along with the rest of the media horde follow and start asking questions. Gail covered Cotton Weary’s murder trial. She believed he was innocent. She was so sure of it that she wrote a book about it. You can imagine that Sidney won’t exactly be calling Gail to hang out any time soon. Sidney ends up clocking Gail in the face with an impressive hook.
Finally we get to Tatum’s house so they can have a slumber party and pillow fight. Whats up with Tatum’s PJ’s? Do girls over 10 still wear PJ’s like that and also sleep with a stuffed bunny rabbit? Tatum’s mom barges into the room telling Sidney she has a phone call. The mom doesn’t know who it is. Wouldn’t any normal person ask “who may I ask is calling?” especially given the events of the night? Of course, its the killer who tells Sidney that Billy wasn’t the guy.
The next day they are back in school. Her classmates seem supportive by running up and down the halls with the ghost face mask on. Damn kids! Although, any school that has Fonzie from the hit show Happy Days, as it’s principal sounds like a pretty awesome school to me. Billy talks to Sidney in the hallway. We start to feel sorry for the asshole. Then his blue balls get the best of him again and he tells Sidney that she needs to get over her mothers death so he can get laid. She should have thrown him a right hook! Instead, Sidney leaves her “bubble butt boyfriend Billy” in the dust and goes to the bathroom where she hides out in the stall and listens to girls talk smack about her mom who was a little on the promiscuous side. The casting of Sidney’s mom always bothered me. I know we all only see a small photo of her, but couldn’t they make her a little more I dunno MILF like? I mean, she didn’t need to be a “Sharon Stone” and I suppose she looks more like an average women who might have an affair, but still! I’m just not feeling it.
So Sidney gets attacked again in the school bathroom. This scene always confused me. Was this a real attack or some other asshole prankster? Oh! I almost forgot, Sidney apologizes to Gail about clocking her in the face. Gail thinks the person who really killed Sidney’s mom is still on the loose & sees the potential to write a book about it in the future.
With all the Shenanigans going on, everyone needs to go home. Rather than everyone staying in with there families, the teens decide to throw a party at Stews house. What could possibly go wrong right? Why not just put a big giant neon sign up that reads “Teen buffet! Please strike here!” With nobody in the school and the writer of the film (Kevin Williamson) realizing its been a while since someone got killed, principal Fonzie gets killed off in his office.
Sidney and Tatum are grabbing snacks for the party. Reflecting in the glass we catch a glimpse of the killer (in full ghost face costume) stalking Sidney. Great protection Woodsboro Police Department! Nice to know he can get that close in broad daylight.
The sheriff and deputy Dewey have a brief meeting where the sheriff reveals that the phone calls came from Sidney’s dads cellphone. (SUSPECT!) We then get a camera shot of the sheriff stomping out his cigarette to reveal he has the same type of boots as the killer. (SUSPECT!)
At the video store, Randy is putting away videotapes while conversing with Stew. I miss video stores. I miss the feeling I got when I wanted a popular new release and there was only a few left on the display. I felt like I had struck gold. I don’t miss the late fees and penalties for not rewinding a tape though. Those sucked! I also don’t miss the feeling of disappointed when the movie I wanted was out of stock! So, horror movie buff Randy tells Stew that he still thinks Billy is the killer. Billy just happens to be in the store and overheard Randy’s conversation and points out that Randy could very well be the killer also. (SUSPECT! SUSPECT!)
So its late 90’s horror movie party time. This translates to lots of flannel wearing people who are well over 20 in real life playing teenagers. I’m pumped! Now that I think about it, not much has changed since then. Most of the gang is present and hanging out in the living room with a handful of extras scattered around. Judging by the movie options in the living room, it’s clear to me that nobody gives a shit about Sidney’s feelings. If one of my good friends was just recently attacked and almost killed and the anniversary of her mothers death was creeping up, I think the last thing I would suggest we watch together are teen slasher flicks. In fact, why show up at all? Oh that’s right, nobody can find your shitty father who left you behind. Gail and Dewey show up to check on things. Gail strategically places a camera in the living room when nobody is looking. It’s not like they had micro video cameras yet. How the hell could anyone not see this thing right below the TV?
Tatum goes to get more booze from the garage. She comes in contact with the killer. She thinks its Randy. The killer grabs her & cuts her arm. She throws glass beer bottles at him. One of them smashes into his head. I don’t know about you but I’ve had a glass bottle thrown at me that didn’t break and it hurt like hell. This killer is still standing upright. Tatum pulls off some impressive moves and gets the killer to flip over her and onto the staircase. Then all that bravery goes down the drain. She tries to fit though the doggy door flap in the automatic garage door. Clearly this is a girl who is delusional about her waist line.
She gets stuck. The killer simply hits the button for the garage door to open (I will suspend my disbelief that the garage would support her weight) and bye bye Tatum.
Gail and her cameraman (Kenny) are sitting in the news van outside the house watching the teens party. Dewey knocks on the van door and convinces Gail to go for a walk with him to check something out.(SUSPECT!)
Horny and desperate Billy shows up wanting to talk to Sidney. Stew lets them go upstairs and “talk.” Word spreads throughout the party that principal Fonzie was killed and hung…. or is it hanged? Anyway, he can be found hanging from the goal post on the football field. That’s some team spirit! The people are the party are convinced this the new “it” place to be. Most of the teens quickly clear out of the house and ride off to go check it out.
Down the road Gail and Dewey almost get run over by the drunk teenagers who have sped off. They quickly dive into the woods with Gail ending up on top of him. They kiss and notice a car that has been placed in the woods. Dewey recognizes it as Neil Prescott’s! car (SUSPECT!) Apparently, Neil drives a station wagon? Is that the only car they could use? Were they filming and someone said “shit um we need a car to put in the woods.” Then they grabbed a random person off the street and asked if they could use there car? Maybe money is tight but I certainly can’t picture Sidney’s dad driving a station wagon. I don’t know why that bothers me, but it does. Also, why doesn’t Dewey have a radio on him to call for backup while he is on this walk with Gail? They did go check something out. So there was a possibility they could find something. Maybe the police department can only afford radios in the car?
Back at the house, Billy and Sidney finally get it on. The killer barges in and stabs Billy. More chasing that ends in Sidney being pushed out of a window. She lands on the boat in the driveway. She notices Tatum hanging lifeless from the garage door. Meanwhile, drunk Randy who is oblivious to everything that is going on in the house, is watching the film Halloween. He must be really smashed not to hear anything. Hell, I’m pretty trashed and I can hear the band that practices two houses over from me. As Randy continues watching from the couch, the killer creeps up behind him. Just as ghost face is about to do me a favor by ending this character, he hesitates at the sound of Sidney in the driveway screaming and leaves Randy unnoticed.
Sidney runs toward the news fan where inside she encounters a napping Kenny clinging to a bag of basked Tostitos as if his life depended on it. Sidney pounds on the news van door. Kenny wakes up startled and opens it. On the video feed, they witness the killer standing right behind Randy in the house but the video feed from Gail’s “hidden camera” is on a 30 second delay. Kenny steps out of the van like he is actually thinking of doing something about it. Kenny to save the day! Ya, your more than just a character with a couple lines of dialogue. Time to prove it! Nope, he gets his throat slashed. Damnt, they killed Kenny! Sidney eludes the killer by crawling out through a little hole of sort in the back of the news van. I don’t know why the killer tried to follow her through the hole and not just exit the van then run to the back.
Gail and Dewey return thinking they have cracked the case but its obvious shit has gone wrong. Dewey goes into the house. Gail goes to call the sheriff for backup. Gail notices blood in the news van but she gets in it anyway. While sitting in the driver seat, she grabs her Zack Morris cell phone and dials 911. Randy just pops up in the driver side window to say hi. Gail freaks and hits him with the phone. In a panic, Gail starts the car to notice the windshield is covered in blood. After kicking it in reverse and breaking, Camera man Kenny’s body flaps forward from the hood of the news van. Gail drives off with Kenny on the windshield. She then swerves enough to kick his lifeless body off the windshield and onto the ground. Sidney who I guess has been running around in circles for these last couple minutes outside like a confused cow just jumps out of nowhere. Gail swerves and looses control of the van. The news van then goes down a hill and crashes into a tree. Gail might be dead.
Sidney runs back to the house because fuck Gail! She encounters Dewey coming out the front door. She quickly realizes something isn’t right as he staggers and falls to the ground with a knife stuck in his back. The killer follows from behind and pulls the knife from Dewey’s back. Sidney jumps in the cop car and quickly locks the doors but the killer has the keys. Ghost Face somehow pops the passenger side lock then crawls in through the back. Sidney yells for help on the police radio. Ok, this is the second time someone managed to call for help. Granted, they didn’t get a chance to speak with the operator but it’s 911 when Gail called and a police radio when Sidney yelled into it. Wouldn’t they have known where these calls or transmissions are coming from? Or is the whole Woodsboro police department on vacation? Again, Sidney gets away. She turns around to notice the killer used his magical stealth powers to disappear again. As she approaches the front door, both Stew and Randy appear out of nowhere and start pointing fingers and accusing each other of being the killer. (SUSPECTS!!!)
Sidney makes one of few smart decisions by basically telling both of them to go screw and slamming the door behind her. A covered in blood Billy tumbles down the stairs. All the sudden Billy seems ok and asks Sidney for the gun she is holding. She hands it to him and Billy opens the door. Randy comes bolting in. Billy shoots him! Ladies and gentlemen we have our killer! Sidney tries to make a dash through the kitchen but bumps into Stew who is holding the voice changer device! I remember the first time I saw this and was like “Wha! Wha! What! Two killers?!” Now, don’t tell me that you the viewer can honestly sit there and say “Well Adam, the first time I watched this I knew all along.” You are full of shit and you know it! What it basically boils down to is Billy wants to kill Sidney because her mom banged his dad and as a result Billy’s mom abandoned him. So he killed Sidney’s mom and a year later wants to kill her. That’s no excuse to abandon you child, but whatever. Damn, both sides have shitty parents. They also kidnapped Sidney’s dad and had him stashed in the closet next to the kitchen the entire time? Really? I don’t think that was smart. You were just having a party. Granted teenagers are loud so I give a free pass for not hearing any murmuring yelps that might have come from his taped shut mouth but putting him in the closet there is still a risky move. What if one of these drunk teen morons discovered him by simply opening that door thinking it might be the bathroom? So, they pull dad out of the closet and plan to make everything look like a rampage murder suicide. Billy and Stew start stabbing each other to make it look like they were left for dead. Billy goes a little overboard knife happy on Stew. Stew goes for the gun that was placed on the counter so they can finish with Sidney and her dad, but it’s gone. They look up to see Gail pointing it at them but she was stupid and left the safety on. Billy knocks her onto the porch where she hits her head and is knocked unconscious as she lands on top of Dewey. Billy now has the gun and moments before he is about to put a bullet in Gail, Stew somehow managed to lose focus of Sidney and her dad which allowed them time to flee the kitchen. Stew isn’t very bright. Sidney then calls the two idiots on the phone to taunt them from wherever she is hiding & tells them she just called the police. So that’s another police call. Hopefully, this time they send someone! Instead of fleeing the house to escape, Billy starts ripping apart the downstairs area in search of Sidney. Ya, rip up those pillows Billy. I’m sure she could be hiding in them. Meanwhile, Stew is starting to lose a lot of blood as he whines into the phone. This is where Sidney asks him what his motive is. Stew says “peer pressure” I get that this is funny, but what was his motive really? That’s very thin. Sidney emerges from the hallway closet with a ghost face mask on and stabs Billy in the chest with an umbrella. Why did she feel the need to put the ghost face mask on? We know it’s Sidney. Stew races out of the kitchen to defend Billy’s honor. After a scuffle in the living room, Stew gets on top of her and starts to choke her. Right before Sidney is about to bite it Stew admits that he always had a thing for her. Sooo is Stew’s real motive that he never got to be with her!? We still truly have no real idea what his motive is? Sidney manages to get out from under him and drops a TV on his head. I have trouble with this also. Would that really kill him? I mean, ya it would probably do some serious damage, but kill him? I don’t think so. Then, all the sudden, this is where literally almost everyone that was in this scene decides to regain consciousness. It’s very annoying. First Randy who I guess was unconscious the entire time after being shot by Billy wakes up. Billy wakes up after he was unconscious after getting struck with an umbrella and clocks Randy in the face. Then as Billy is about to kill Sidney, Gail just happens to wake up and shoot Billy. Seriously? Then Sidney’s dad barges out of the closet and Billy tries one last scare but is shot in the head. Dewey lives. -The End-
Overall 8 / 10
+ A new spin (for its time) on teen horror flicks.
+ Mixing murder mystery with horror is fun. It’s a great guessing game
+ Movie doesn’t need a ton of gore.
– No real motive established for Stew
– To many 911 / emergency call outs that go unregistered
– Ghost face gets kicked, punched and shit thrown at him quite a bit throughout the course of the movie. He isn’t a super natural killer so shouldn’t some of these bumps and bruises be noticeable on Billy or Stews face?
– I know Sidney is the main character but a little more info on Sidney’s dad would have been nice.
By Adam Mallett Follow Me on twitter: https://twitter.com/whirlwindreport