Film Reviews:


aka Shriek (UK)

(Victoria Sloan, US, 1997)

This forgettable 1997 horror film was recently repackaged in the UK with a sleeve that rips-off Scream - its title subtly truncated to emphasise a supposed similarity. "Will appeal to fans of Scream 1 & 2 and Halloween H20" said the press release. The only similarities however are that this is a horror film and there are attractive youngs kids in it slowly begin picked off. Can't say that about many horror films can you? From the PR you'd think this was a who-is-it loony on the loose entry. In fact, it is a 'hip' updating of MR James' "Casting of the Runes" - most famously filmed in 1958 as Night (aka Curse) of the Demon. Here, a cliched group of teenagers spout equally cliched dialogue as a demon (the 'shrieker' of the original title) from another dimension repeatedly slips in and out of walls and our realm to kill (off screen) one of our torch-carrying troops.

A black and white pre-credits sequence set in the 1940s sets up the back story, but that's about as far as the 'plot' goes. The running time is barely over 70 minutes but with the all-to-familiar running and screaming, this feels like the full 90. The scenes featuring the monster on screen are few and brief - which is just as well - the effects are bad even by this production's standards. Best moment is when the well-endowed babe displayed prominently on the sleeve takes her top off to show the runic symbols tattooed on her chest. Trivia fix: independent director J.R. Bookwalter (interviewed elsewhere on this site) was the editor.

Rob Dyer

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