Ten years have passed since the bloody havoc of the original Scream, and Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), the surviving heroine of three previous run-ins with the so-called Ghostface Killer, has returned home to promote her new self-help book. Can she avoid another bloodbath, or is she doomed to relive the nightmare?
Need you ask? Arriving more than a decade after the lackluster Scream 3, in which Wes Craven’s second juggernaut franchise (after the Nightmare on Elm Street series) seemed to run out of gas, the director’s fourth entry – another collaboration with original screenwriter Kevin Williamson – once again tweaks the conventions of the genre, poking fun at the “rules” of reboots and the recent spate of Hollywood remakes.
Step into the surreal world of Wes Craven’s My Soul to Take if you must, but close the door behind you, lest sanity somehow slip in. Abandon all hope – or, at the very least, common sense – and prepare for a sensory experience that combines Craven’s best instincts with some of his most curiously ill-conceived.
Conceived 32 years ago as producer Roger Corman’s tongue-in-cheek spin on the Jaws formula, Piranha returns with a new 3-D gimmick courtesy of director Alexandre Aja, who resurrected Wes Craven’s The Hills Have Eyes in 2006 with passably nasty results.
Aja's latest requires little explanation. It’s spring break under siege, as busty coeds lose their tops and then their limbs in graphic enough detail that Piranha, deemed too raunchy for Comic-Con, earns its R rating the old-fashioned way. It helps that besides the engaging Elisabeth Shue, Adam Scott (TV’s Party Down) and Richard Dreyfuss, who starred in Jaws, several members of the supporting cast are porn stars.
It would be impossible to approach Samuel Bayer’s A Nightmare on Elm Street without some cynicism. Wes Craven’s 1984 original remains an imaginative cut above typical ’80s slasher fare, introducing audiences to a hideously deformed bogeyman who attacks his prey at their most defenseless, in the realm of their dreams. It is at once audacious, terrifying and darkly comical, and it even introduced the world to a fast-rising newcomer, Johnny Depp.
Samantha needs money. She’s putting a payment down on her first apartment and she’s got $84 in the bank. Bills are due Monday, and it’s already Wednesday night. What’s a girl to do?
She spots a wanted ad: “Baby$itter Needed.” Perfect, right? Well, not if the ad was placed by Satan worshippers looking for fresh flesh to sacrifice, but what are the chances of that?
Despite the movie’s early mixed reviews, the NFL is rolling out the red carpet for Denzel Washington’s latest thriller, The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3.
Here in the Bay Area, San Francisco 49ers stars Alex Smith and All-Pro linebacker Patrick Willis will be joined by Nnamdi Asomugha, Darrius Hayward-Bey and Michael Huff of the Oakland Raiders to host a special Wednesday night screening of the film at the Great Mall in Milpitas. The players will arrive to walk the carpet at 6:30 p.m., with the movie, a remake of Joseph Sargent’s 1974 subway heist, to follow.
If Wes Craven’s Last House on the Left was, as Roger Ebert put it, “a tough, bitter little sleeper of a movie that's about four times as good as you'd expect,” Dennis Iliadis’ no-frills remake is roughly the same – slicker, perhaps, but no less brutally effective. There are those who will find it repugnant, and others who will be stunned silent by its raw graphic violence. Nobody ever said going to the movies has to be fun.
While the low-budget original, which has become something of a cult favorite among hardened horror fans, has an air of disquieting authenticity thanks to its grainy, home movie-style footage and its shockingly intimate portrayals of depravity, this latest version is a far handsomer production. Is it more sanitized? Yes and no.
While director Alexandre Aja and longtime screenwriting collaborator Grégory Levasseur have proven themselves artful purveyors of fright, they too often squander their talents on stories that collapse beneath the weight of misplaced ambition.
Consider their singularly frustrating breakthrough, 2003’s High Tension. It’s a nasty slice of psychotic mayhem, straightforward and unsettling until, in its waning moments, Aja and Levasseur play fast and loose with the film’s internal logic. Their follow-up, a remake of Wes Craven’s The Hills Have Eyes, was little more than a technical exercise, but a mostly effective one, demonstrating that the French duo is quite capable of spinning nightmarish visions into tightly constructed yarns.