Horror Franchise – Scream (1996) Revisited

 

 

Director: Wes Craven

Writer: Kevin Williamson (Screenplay)

Starring: David Arquette, Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, Matthew Lillard, Rose McGowan, Skeet Ulrich, Drew Barrymore

 

Plot: A year after the murder of her mother, a teenage girl is terrorized by a new killer, who targets the girl and her friends by using horror films as part of a deadly game.


Tagline – I’ll Be Right Back.

Runtime: 1 Hour 51 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Perfect Modern Slasher

 

Story: Scream starts when Casey Becker (Barrymore) who is getting ready to settle down to watch a scary movie, when she gets a phone call which soon turns nasty when a psychopath starts trying to test her horror movie knowledge and we get the first look at the killer for the film, Ghostface who claims his first victims.

The next day the talk of the school is the murder, Sidney (Campbell) is still holding Billy (Ulrich) from sex, Tatum (McGowan), Stuart (Lillard) and Randy (Kennedy) go through the reactions of losing a classmate, which is the worst crime in the town since the murder of Sidney’s mother.

It isn’t long before Ghostface starts staking the friends targeting Sidney, Deputy Dewey (Arquette) tries to help stop the killer, while ambitious reporter Gail Weathers (Cox) is trying to put her name on the map by getting the big break reporting the story. the question is who is Ghostface and what are their motives?

 

Thoughts on Scream

 

Characters – Sidney Prescott is our strong teenage lead, she is still recovering emotionally from her mother’s rape and murder one year ago. She has close friends, a boyfriend in Billy and knows how to handle herself in a tight corner. Sidney does fill the final girl traits while being the main target for the killer. Tatum is the best friend, she is the one that is more sexually active of the two girls not being afraid to drink and show affection in public. Billy is the boyfriend of Sidney, he is becoming frustrated being with her and not getting sex, he soon becomes a suspect because of his strange behaviour around the group of friends. Stuart is the loose cannon practical joker of the group he always goes too far with his jokes and plays on that. Deputy Dewey is the rookie cop and brother of Tatum, he seems to be the only one keeping an eye of the girls during the time the killer is on the loose. Gail Weathers is the ambitious reporter looking for her next big story after reporting on the murder the year before, she doesn’t give us any reason to like her as the film unfolds and treats her cameraman even worse.

PerformancesNeve Campbell taking the lead role is great, she fits the final girl perfectly with her innocence while showing the strength required. David Arquette in the cop role works very well because he gets to play on the idea that he might not be ready to deal with a killer. Courteney Cox breaks her nice character in Friends to be one of the characters you simply don’t like through the film. with Skeet Ulrich and Matthew Lillard working as the boyfriends on edge who shine in the important moments in the film.

StoryThe story here follows a group high school students who have become the target of a deranged killer in a Ghostface mask. The slasher genre has been reborn with this idea because we get to see the rules of horror explained and of course we get references from horror films left right and centre. The story manages to almost parody the horror genre while remaining serious with how everything is told, it gets to poke fun at genre as only the audience could. We are kept guessing to who the killer is which is everything we want in the film with the big plus coming from the fact we are not dealing with supernatural forces.

Horror/MysteryThe horror side of the film focuses on the idea of the slasher genre with a killer picking people off when they break the horror rules. The mystery is the highlight of the film because we are left guessing to who the killer is going to be.

SettingsThe film keeps us in the small-town setting with most of the horror taking place in a home or around a school. It brings everything back home for the victims giving it a personal feeling.

Special EffectsThe effects are good showing real body injuries through film over going full CGI like most do.


Scene of the Movie –
Referencing the horror movies so smoothly.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The fact the school kids are celebrating after a death of a classmate.

Final ThoughtsThis is the stand out horror of the 90’s it brings the slasher into the modern world accepting the idea that horror films exist, one that must be watched.

 

Overall: Must Watch Horror.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Horror – E – Escape Room (2017)

Director: Peter Dukes

Writer: Peter Dukes (Screenplay)

Starring: Skeet Ulrich, Sean Young, Christine Donlon, Randy Wayne, Matt McVay, Ashley Gallegos, Hayley Goldstein

 

Plot: Six friends test their intelligence in a game that takes a dark turn.


Tagline – Four friends. One room. One hour. One killer.

Runtime: 1 Hour 26 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Could be Better

 

Story: Escape Room starts as four friends Jess (Donlon), Jeff (Wayne), Ben (McVay) and Angie (Gallegos) are taking part in an escape room run by Brice (Ulrich), an experience which will revolve around horror.

As the hour long experience starts, it seems to be going well until the mysterious killer in the room turns out to be a real killer, leaving the friends needing to figure out how to escape before the time runs out.

 

Thoughts on Escape Room

 

Characters – Brice is the owner of the escape rooms, he has been struggling of recent times, but with this latest player he hopes to improve his rating. When the camera goes out he is left wondering what will happen to his reputation if he opens the door early or what is going on. Ramona is the owner of the mysterious box which opens the doors for the nightmare. Jess is one of the reluctant contestants in the game because of her boyfriend’s eagerness to play, she must use her own puzzle solving skills to make it out alive.

PerformancesSkeet Ulrich became a horror icon with his performance in Scream, here he just looked mostly lost in the leading role, because he is meant to be on edge and you never feel it. Sean Young is more of a cameo performance which could have been done by anyone. The younger stars do there best to make an impact and due to the basic characters we never see their performance skills.

StoryThe story here shows us what would happen is an escape room experience went terribly wrong, with possession being a key part of this. The problem here is that, this real-time experience doesn’t feel real time and having to watch someone on the outside just makes us think lawsuit. The supernatural side is never that believable and by the end this does feel like an easy escape room to get out off.

HorrorBeing locked in a room with a killer is always going to throw horror in our faces, this movie shines from that idea, but then it also holds back too much.

SettingsThe film is mostly set in the one location, the escape room and if it was only set there I would say this is an excellent use of setting, but seeing events outside just drags us down.

Special EffectsThe effects are god enough for the film, we get the basic blood and gore working for the film.


Scene of the Movie –
First kill.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not enough focus on the real-time events.

Final ThoughtsThis would be a good enough late night movie, it is short and sweet which will feed the horror fans enough.

 

Overall: Late night movie

Rating

 

 

As Good as It Gets (1997)

Director: James L Brooks

Writer: Mark Andrus, James L Brooks (Screenplay)

Starring: Jack Nicholson, Helen Hunt, Greg Kinnear, Cuba Gooding Jr, Skeet Ulrich,, Shirley Knight, Yeardley Smith

 

Plot: A single mother and waitress, a misanthropic author, and a gay artist form an unlikely friendship after the artist is assaulted in a robbery.


Tagline – Brace yourself for Melvin.

Runtime: 2 Hours 19 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wonderfully Charming Drama

 

Story: As Good as It Gets starts as we meet arrogant obsessive disordered ridden author Melvin Udall (Nicholson) who hates his gay neighbour artist Simon (Kinnear) and his dog Verdell, he goes to the same diner needing to keep the same seat with the same waitress Carol Connelly (Hunt) who has her own problems with money and her sick son.

After Simon gets brutally attacked by burglars Melvin is forced into looking after Verdell which opens up his life to being nice to other people including Simon and Carol.

 

Thoughts on As Good as It Gets

 

Characters – Melvin Udall is an author that has a perfect routine to keep him happy, he OCD is clear with how he enters rooms, lock doors, he doesn’t get on with his neighbours and drives the people in his life crazy. Once he is forced to look after his neighbour’s dog he starts being nice to those important in his life, learning that there is more to life. Carol Connelly is a waitress in a Manhattan diner she has waited on Melvin for years even with his difficult behaviour, she has a sick son at home that she has never been able to get proper medical care for him, leaving her constantly worrying about him instead of focusing on her own life. Simon Bishop is the gay artist neighbour that clashes with Melvin on a daily basis, he gets brutally attacked in his own apartment leading to him facing financial ruin and needs to try and make up with his parents.

PerformancesJack Nicholson won an Oscar for his performance here and clearly show why he is such a talented actor, he takes on a performance unlike most of his normal performance we know him for. Helen Hunt shines and with her Oscar winning performance that showed her at the very top of her game. Greg Kinnear is also fantastic in the supporting role, he might have missed out on the Oscar he shows us just the talent he has.

StoryThe story here shows us how three people from different lives can meet and help each other with their problems. We mostly focus on Melvin and how he hates everybody not in his normal routine, we get to see the arc for him to become more open while still dealing and learning to overcome his own problems. We get a woman that has never been give help offered a lifeline which could help save her son and a staving artist learn about the risks he must take to become the artist the world will remember. This is a story that shows you can change people’s life by just listening to their stories, it has charm about how things unfold and just leaves you with a smile on your face by the end.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy in this film works with you getting plenty of laughs through the film and it does give us a good romantic angle about needing to learn to take a chance with love.

SettingsNew York city, well how often do I say this is a wonderful setting for anything to do with inter-connecting lives, this delights with seeing people in different backgrounds coming together.


Scene of the Movie –
The dog walk.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not taking the dog on the trip for extra laughs.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful movie that can be enjoyed by everyone, it has brilliant performances from the three leads and hits the comedy romance throughout.

 

Overall: Brilliant film.

Rating

 

 

Scream (1996)

Director: Wes Craven
Starring: Neve Campbell, Drew Barrymore, Skeet Ulrich, Courteney Cox, W. Earl Brown, Rose McGowen, David Arquette, Matthew Lillard, Jamie Kennedy, Liev Schreiber,

Starting with Casey (Drew Barrymore) home with her boyfriend Steve, Thinking their are alone Casey starts making popcorn when she gets a phone call. The voices on the other end starts asking film related questions being told if she is wrong she will die. She got the question wrong and Ghost Face starts trying to chase and kill her after already disposing of Steve.

The Next day we meet out heroine Sidney (Neve Campbell) a school friend of Casey and her group of friends. The friends are her sex deprived boyfriend Billy (Skeet Ulrich) best friend Tatum (Rose McGowen) and her boyfriend Stuart (Matthew Lillard) and horror fan Randy (Jamie Kennedy). The group learn about the murders the night before and as Sidney is home alone she arranges for Tatum to stay with her.

While waiting for Tatum Sidney gets her first visit from Ghost Face escaping once Billy sneaks in her window and drops a phone. Sidney thinks Billy is the killer and runs into the Ghost Face mask being held by Deputy Dewey (David Arquette) who is also Tatum brother.

Add into the mix a hungry report who already cashed in on the death of Sidney’s mother a year early. Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox) and her cameraman Kenny (W.Earl Brown) try to keep onto of all which is going on and defending the man found guilty of Sidney’s mother murder Cotton Weary (Liev Schreiber). We are now left to figure out who the killer is?

This is Wes Cravens version of a tongue in cheek look at horror slasher movies. Never taking itself too serious but keeping tension high through out the story. With endless movie references from Friday the 13Th, Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween and many other horror movies.

The story has twists keeping you guessing on who the killer is giving very few clues to who is actually is and question every characters motives. this is a must watch for any fans of the slasher genre giving a fresh take on what we have seen before.

My rating 83%