[Screen It]


(1996) (Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox) (R)

Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Tense Scenes
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Moderate Heavy Extreme None Extreme
Smoking Tense Family
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Moderate Minor Minor Mild Extreme

Horror: A teenager is stalked by an ominous figure intent on killing her.
The killings begin when a teenager, Casey Becker (DREW BARRYMORE), is terrorized and then killed by a phone caller with a penchant for horror movies. Sidney Prescott (NEVE CAMPBELL) becomes the next recipient of the calls and this spooks her since it's nearly the one year anniversary of her mother's brutal slaying. Her boyfriend Bill (SKEET ULRICH), thinks she's overreacting, but her friend Tatum Riley (Rose McGowan) and Deputy Dewey Riley (DAVID ARQUETTE) think differently. Intrigued by the possibility of a pending murder spree, tabloid TV reporter Gale Weathers (COURTENEY COX) jumps on the scene hoping to increase sales of her upcoming book about the man in prison for Sidney's mother's death. Sidney has no idea who the killer is, but several suspects loom about her as she tries to escape several encounters with the figure.
If they like horror films they will.
For strong graphic horror violence and gore, and for language.
  • NEVE CAMPBELL plays a normal teenage girl whose only real behavior is avoiding being killed by the stalker. She does, however, succumb to pressure from her boyfriend and sleeps with him.
  • SKEET ULRICH plays the boyfriend who pressures Sidney into having sex with him. He also turns out not to be the guy Sidney thought he was.
  • COURTENEY COX plays a tabloid TV reporter who doesn't care about the people she reports on, but instead only cares if the story will further her career.


    OUR TAKE: 4 out of 10
    This is a film that begins with a relatively scary scene but soon falls prey to its own design. Intended to be a horror movie about horror movies, the plot tries to balance itself on the fine line of being unique while mentioning movies from the past. By doing so, it runs the risk of suddenly not seeming original and paling in comparison to the other "superior" horror films it mentions. And that's what happens here. Soon the original scary elements are gone and we're left with another tired case of a stalker who offs his victims while they discuss those other horror movies. Indeed, when a scene is scary only because the music from the original "Halloween" movie is playing in the background, it's time to move on to another film. There are some "in" jokes such as when Drew Barrymore's character says the first "Nightmare on Elm Street" was good but the rest "sucked," that's because the director of this film, Wes Craven, directed that first "Nightmare" movie (and the seventh installment but who's counting). Eventually this film just falls in with the rest of the mediocre horror films where the characters do the wrong things (even though they all talk about how stupid people are in horror movies) and end up getting killed themselves. It's been such a long time since anyone made a truly scary movie. Has this genre disappeared into these slasher films? While this film had promise, it falls short and the scare factor disappears way before the end. We give it a 4 out of 10.
    This is your usual mad slasher horror film. Younger kids will be scared by it, but most teenagers will find it to be "cool" and think it's the greatest horror movie of all time. There are many scary scenes and several that will make you jump. Many people are killed and/or chased by the killer and the amounts of blood and profanity are extreme. There's some sexual activity, but no nudity is seen and the rest involves some making out on a bed with some groping hands. If you've seen any horror/slasher film in the past, then you've pretty much seen the content of this film. We do suggest, however, that you read the category listings to determine if this movie is appropriate for you or your kids.

  • High school students drink beer at a party.
  • A video buff says the number two rule to surviving a horror movie is "no drugs or drinking." The other drinking people at the party then cheer. Sometime later, this same guy is rather drunk.
  • Casey sees her boyfriend tied up outside on the patio and he's very bloody. Moments later, after being attacked herself, she's very bloody. Later it's mentioned that their bodies were "gutted."
  • Gale's cameraman is sliced across the throat and blood flows out. Later Gale gets into the van to drive away, but can't see through the blood-covered windshield.
  • Many other murder or attack victims are somewhat to extremely bloody and by the end nearly everyone is covered in their or someone else's blood.
  • Obviously the killer has both as he sees his stalking and murder of others as fun.
  • Gale doesn't care about the people in her stories, she only cares about the stories furthering her career (ie. She asks Sidney, "What's it feel like to almost be totally butchered" and she wants to save the killer on death row only because it will increase her book sales).
  • Billy tells Sidney that it's time she "got over" her mother's death and got on with her life. He says this because he hasn't been able to have sex with her for the year since it happened.
  • Some other girls talk about Sidney in the bathroom and say that maybe Sidney killed the other people and that "she's a slut like her mother."
  • Some students don a similar "death" mask to that worn by the killer and run through the school halls (and are later expelled).
  • The "death" mask that the killer wears will be scary to younger kids.
  • A girl is harassed by a caller who then shows up at her house, chases her through it, and attacks her.
  • Sidney is chased by the killer through her house and he nearly gets her several times.
  • The killer might be lurking in a bathroom Sidney's in and she keeps looking to see if anyone's in there with her.
  • The principal thinks someone might be in the room with him and looks for several minutes until he gets an unpleasant surprise.
  • Tatum encounters the killer in the garage, but thinks it's somebody pulling a prank on her. When she realizes who it is, she tries to get away.
  • The entire ending of the movie, where the killer attacks many people, will be very tense for some viewers.
  • Knives/Guns: Used to threaten and/or kill many people. See "Violence" for details.
  • Phrases: "Sucked," "Bitch" (toward women), "Dufus," "Pissed," "Slut," "Tramp," "Jerk," "Dork," "Beer wench," "Slut bag," and "Whore."
  • The driver of a news truck drops a potato chip bag onto the road (littering).
  • Two guys stab each other with knives to make it look like they were attacked.
  • A chair suddenly smashes through a glass patio door.
  • The cloaked figure grabs a girl.
  • Billy scares Sidney when he suddenly pops up at her window.
  • The cloaked figure jumps out of a closet and scares Sidney.
  • A cop scares Sidney at her door.
  • A cat scares Tatum in the garage.
  • There is an extreme amount of scary music throughout the movie, including that from the soundtrack of a scarier film, "Halloween."
  • None.
  • 25 "f" words (1 used sexually), 26 "s" words, 10 "ass" words, 6 damns, 2 slang terms for breasts (the "t" word), 2 hells, and 6 uses each of "Oh my God" and "Jesus," 4 uses of "God damn," 2 uses each of "Oh God," "Jesus Christ," and "God" and 1 use each of "My God" and "For Christ's sake" as exclamations.
  • Billy talks about how he and Sidney used to have a sexual relationship that was an "R" heading for an "NC-17," but now it's only "edited for TV." They then make out on her bed with him on top of her, but their clothes are on and she stops him from putting his hand up her nightgown. When he leaves, however, she flashes her breast at him (but we don't see it).
  • Sidney's girlfriend says that if you pause the Tom Cruise movie "All the Right Moves" "...just right, you can see his penis."
  • Gale tells Sidney that her mother's killer admited to having sex with her the night of the murder.
  • When Sidney says that she's "sexually anorexic," Tatum says "Billy and his penis don't deserve you."
  • When Sidney and Billy are alone in a bedroom he talks about how life's like a movie. Sidney then asks why her life can't be like a Meg Ryan movie and then says "Or a porno movie." This gets Billy excited and they make out on the bed. There's some sexual movement and he feels her clothed breast. She then takes her top off, but we don't see anything because Billy's standing in the way. It's implied, however, that they had sex as they're later seen getting dressed.
  • A video buff says that the number one rule to surviving a horror movie is not to have sex.
  • The sheriff smokes a cigarette.
  • Sidney still must deal with the loss of her mother.
  • Stalkers and murderers.
  • Scary movies.
  • There are many scenes where the killer attacks his victims, but he is also hit with fists, knees and feet as the victims defend themselves.
  • The caller threatens those he calls ("If you hang up on me again, I'll cut you like a fish" and "Do you want to see what your insides look like?")
  • The killer stabs a girl in the chest with a knife and then begins strangling her. She's stabbed several times again and later is seen hanging from a tree.
  • The fact that Sidney's mother was raped and murdered nearly a year ago is mentioned many times.
  • The killer attacks Sidney and head butts her. He then tries to stab her and then chases her through the house.
  • Sidney slugs Gale after she's had enough of her and her book about the death of Sidney's mother and the killer.
  • The principal is attacked and killed.
  • Tatum is attacked by the killer and he slices her arm with a knife. She then tries to get out through a pet opening in the garage door, but the door is opened and she's crushed at the top.
  • Billy is stabbed by the killer who then chases Sidney throughout the house. She gets out to the TV van, but the cameraman gets sliced across the throat.
  • Two guys stab each other with knives to make it look like they were attacked.
  • In the final sequence (not to spoil the ending too much), many people are wounded or killed, some by knife wounds, others by being shot (And one is killed when a TV falls on him and he's electrocuted).

  • Reviewed December 17, 1996

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