HTTP/1.1 404 Object Not Found Server: Microsoft-IIS/5.0 Date: Sat, 23 Feb 2002 20:39:04 GMT Content-Type: text/html

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HTTP/1.1 404 Object Not Found Server: Microsoft-IIS/5.0 Date: Sat, 23 Feb 2002 20:39:04 GMT Content-Type: text/html

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12/01/98- Updated 05:02 PM ET

 

Something to 'Scream' about

Scream ( out of four): A nubile missy who's home alone (Drew Barrymore) is hounded by a phantom phone caller. He threatens to gut her like a fish if she fails his pop quiz: Who was the killer in Friday the 13th? Her guess is Jason. Wrong, says the psycho. It was his mom. Oops. Can you say fillet o' flounder?

That's the slam-bang opener to this overly self-referential twist on teen-slasher flicks. Too bad it's a genre that decomposed years ago. But that hasn't kept Wes Craven, the big-screen bogeyman who first led us down the nightmarish Elm Street, from taking this post-modern path to terror that blurs the distinction between reality and art (if you consider Jamie Lee Curtis' Halloween-Prom Night years to be art).

The high schoolers in the sleepy burg of Woodsboro major in horror films and think the idea of a mad stabber on the loose is, like, totally cool. They quote from movies constantly. Pouty-pussed Neve Campbell (TV's Party of Five) is otherwise preoccupied. Her mom, rumored to be the town slut, was slain exactly a year ago. Is she next?

And who is the psycho? The principal (Fonzie himself, Henry Winkler)? The aw-shucks deputy (David Arquette)? Campbell's sexually frustrated boyfriend (Skeet Ulrich)? Her missing father? The geeky video-store clerk? The overzealous tabloid-TV reporter Courteney Cox of Friends in a surprisingly sharp turn)?

Linda Blair has a drive-by cameo, a janitor dresses like Freddy Krueger and Ulrich looks like Johnny Depp (whose film debut was the first Nightmare on Elm Street). But while Scream has its frights, it feels more like one of those solve-the-mystery jigsaw puzzles than a real movie. And the too-clever-for-its-own-good ending is a blood-splattered reminder that sometimes parody comes awfully close to what it is mocking. (R: violence, profanity, sexual situations)

By Susan Wloszczyna, USA TODAY



HTTP/1.1 404 Object Not Found Server: Microsoft-IIS/5.0 Date: Sat, 23 Feb 2002 20:39:04 GMT Content-Type: text/html

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