Friday, April 23, 2010

'Shrieker' is nothing to shout about

Shrieker (aka "Shriek") (1998)
Starring: Tanya Dempsey, Jamie Gannon, Parry Allen, Roger Crowe, Alison Cuffe and Jenya Lano
Director: Victoria Sloan (aka David DeCotaeu)
Producers: Kirk Edward Hansen and Charles Band
Rating: Four of Ten Stars

College students squatting in a hospital that's been abandoned for over 50 years come under attack when one among them summons an extra-dimensional horror known as the Shrieker. Five must die so it's summoner can control it. Will mathmatics Freshman Clark (Dempsey) learn the secrets of the Shrieker in time to save herself and her "roommates"?


"Shrieker" is a straight-forward monster film with a "Ten Little Indians"-style who-dunnit element thrown in. It's so straight-forward that it almost feels like an outline of a movie instead of a full-fledged one. It's short on character development, short on logic, and short on suspense, because there's not enough time to include that sort of materal in its very brief running time of just over an hour.

The fact that it's so short is probably the best thing I can say about "Shrieker". The director had enough sense not to pad his film with a bunch of pointless "mood shots" or never-ending establishing shots. Although I probably wouldn't have been too annoyed if there had been a little gratioutous nudity to pad the film, particularly since Alison Cuffe and Jenya Layno at one point both wear outfits that could have been even skimpier.

In that vein, I should mention that "Shrieker" features a cast that seems to have been cast more for their good looks than their acting abilities, but with the breakneck pace at which the film unfolds, there's barely time to notice anything about the cast other than their good looks. (Everyone gives an adequate performance for a low-budget, direct-to-DVD film... no one embarrasses themselves but no one does a remarkable job, either.)

However, I would have liked to have seen SOME development of the creature in the movie, at least as far as a better explanation of the how, who and why of it being summoned. It's a cool looking beastie--one of the better efforts during the late 1990s as Full Moon beginning its decline--but it needed more of a backstory.

"Shrieker" isn't the worst film in the Full Moon catalogue, but it's far from the best. But it is a film you can safely ignore, even if you're the biggest Full Moon fan on planet Earth.

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Thanks for sharing your opinion. I love seeing what fellow fans have to say!