movie film review | chris tookey


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Tookey's Rating
8 /10
Average Rating
7.60 /10
Dewey .............. David Arquette (pictured right), Casey .............. Drew Barrymore (pictured left), Sidney ............. Neve Campbell
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Directed by: Wes Craven
Written by: Kevin Williamson

Released: 1997
Origin: US
Colour: C
Length: 100

Yet another slasher threatens teenagers - but this time they're cine-literate.
Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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That near-contradiction in terms, a thinking person’s slasher movie. Director Wes Craven - the auteur behind Nightmare on Elm Street - revisits the clapped-out theme of high-school kids threatened by a mysterious, masked killer. However, he’s chosen an unusually literate script and shot it with flair. The opening scene, where Drew Barrymore plays a girl who’s being stalked in her own home, is terrifying.

Kevin Williamson’s screenplay is heartlessly inventive when devising new ways for teenagers to perish, and makes clever use of the fact that they have all seen horror movies, so they are over-confident about what to expect. The solution to the central mystery of the slasher's identity manages to be a genuine - and satisfying - surprise.

Dialogue and acting are way above average for the genre, with funny lines and nice touches such as the school principal (Henry “The Fonz” Winkler) bemoaning the fact that his pupils have become desensitised by movies such as the very one we are watching.

Behind its facade of sophistication, the plot, behaviour and motivation of the characters are quite as idiotic as in any of the movies it mocks. And there’s something depressing about seeing such obvious talent expended on sadistic voyeurism. The film is exceptionally bloody and violent, even by slasher-film standards, and as facetious about human suffering as the twisted serial-killers it affects to condemn.

All the same, I admired the film’s ingenuity and enjoyed it as horror entertainment. I wish I could be more enthusiastic about its effect on society.

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