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Scream Reviews

A meta-fright flick, directed by Wes Craven from a clever script by first-timer Kevin Williamson, that delivers a gratifyingly high scare quotient. Small-town virgin Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) is being stalked by a psycho-killer who's already slaughtered two of her classmates and also may have murdered her mom, exactly one year earlier. Is it the video store geek (Jamie Kennedy)? Sidney's hunky and too-good-to-be-true boyfriend Billy (Skeet Ulrich)? Her dad (Lawrence Hecht), who's supposedly away on business but can't be located? Class weirdo Stuart (Matthew Lillard), who's dating Sidney's perky best friend (Rose McGowan)? The high-strung, teen-hating school principal (Henry Winkler)? The janitor in the Freddy Krueger sweater? In-jokes -- some quite clever -- abound, everything from HALLOWEEN to TV's Millennium comes in for a tongue-in-cheek drubbing, and the requisite scenes of various girls being stalked by a killer in a dime-store Halloween costume are extremely well staged. The "but this isn't a movie, it's real life," dialogue wears a bit thin and the ending steps over the line into preposterousness, but compared with most of what passes for scary movies these days, this is golden: It's not stupid, it's not wussy and it pulls off a couple of pretty nasty jolts.