Tonight, two classic masters of horror return to the silver screen after significant breaks from the biz. Most of us will always remember them for their accomplishments in the 70’s and 80’s, but do they still have what it takes to scare us today?
Opens in theaters everywhere today
Sidney Prescott, now the author of a self-help book, returns home to Woodsboro on the last stop of her book tour. There she reconnects with Sheriff Dewey and Gale, who are now married, as well as her cousin Jill and her Aunt Kate. Unfortunately Sidney’s appearance also brings about the return of Ghostface, putting Sidney, Gale, and Dewey, along with Jill, her friends, and the whole town of Woodsboro in danger.
Whether you loved it or hated it, the original Scream helped to revitalize the flagging horror industry in 1996 and respect is due. With its amusing commentary on genre tropes and surprisingly effective scares, audiences were giggling and screaming in the theater seats again. (It also spawned the whole Scary Movie series, which is actually pretty sad for everyone. We’ll try to overlook that bit.)
Fifteen years since the original and eleven years since the last unfortunate sequel, Wes Craven returns to Scream. Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox and David Arquette reprise their key roles as Sidney, Gale and Dewey (a rarity in slasher sequels). In addition to this small band of survivors, the cast includes Anna Paquin (Trick ‘r Treat, True Blood), Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars, Heroes, Roman), Hayden Panettiere (Heroes), Marley Shelton (Grindhouse/Planet Terror, Sin City), Heather Graham (returning from Scream 2) and many more. I could go on and on with the cast list.This body count is going to be impressive.
Can we expect a fresh and exciting appraisal of the horror industry again? Or another cash-grab sequel? What do Craven and writer Kevin Williamson have to say about the evolution of horror since Ghostface’s last stabbing spree? Audience reactions are mixed, but the positive reviews outnumber the negative. I’ve been dismissive of this sequel since I heard about it. Even more so after the awful My Soul to Take. I’ll admit, though, that the positive reception has me intrigued. Worth a shot?
Limited theater release starting today
Kristen, early 20’s wakes to find herself bruised, cut, drugged and held against her will in a remote ward of Chamberlain Psychiatric Hospital . She is completely disorientated, with no idea why she was brought this place and no memory of her life.
The other patients in the ward, four equally troubled girls, offer no answers and Kristen quickly realizes things are not as they seem. The air is heavy with secrets and at night, when the hospital is dark and foreboding, she hears strange and disturbing sounds. It appears they are not alone.
One by one the girls disappear and Kristen must find a way out of this hellish place before the ghost comes for her too. As she struggles to escape, she will uncover a truth far more dangerous and horrifying than anyone could have imagined.
John Carpenter is the horror master responsible for genre classics like Halloween, The Thing, They Live and Prince of Darkness just to name a few. The Ward, starring Amber Heard (Drive Angry 3D, And Soon the Darkness remake), is his first feature film in 9 years. (Not counting his short works in the Masters of Horror series). I’m unable to dig up any hard facts about the release such as anticipated locations, but The Ward is scheduled to hit a limited run of theaters today.
We were lucky enough to see it last weekend thanks to the Philadelphia Cinefest. What did we think? Well… Since we have a lot of respect for Carpenter in this group, we’re heartbroken to admit our disappointment. Unless you are the most devoted of fans, I’d suggest waiting for rental. I won’t go into the unfortunate details now. StayFrosty, our Carpenter maven, will tell the sad story herself in an upcoming review.