Scream for Help (1984)

Directed by Michael Winner [Other horror films: The Nightcomers (1971), The Sentinel (1977)]

Scream for Help is a movie that I’ve only seen once before, and honestly, a movie that I remembered very little of. Pretty much when it came to mind, I just thought of it as the spiritual prequel to The Stepfather (not unlike how I think of 1985’s Blackout). In truth, this really can stand up on its own, because while it’s not an amazing movie, I definitely think a lot was done well.

Problematically, much of the first half deals with a lot of melodrama, what with a step-father’s affair being found out by his step-daughter, and while I can get the emotional upheaval this would cause the family, it’s not always the most engrossing stuff.

Again, though, there’s still decent scenes here, such as the somewhat surprising and intense hit and run that happens quite early into the film. No doubt too there’s tension at different portions of the opening, and while things don’t really pick up until the final thirty minutes, there’s plenty of things going on that are likely to keep your interest.

What sort of interested me was how the story also largely dealt with a teen girl’s coming-of-age, in a way. Over the course of the film, she experiences her first love and experiences her first love-making, and of course love saves them all in the end. Of course, it also led to most of their problems in the first place, but like most teenagers, it’s a confusing time for us all.

Rachel Kelly was pretty convincing as a teenager naive in the ways of lust. I mean, no doubt was her character occasionally ridiculously melodramatic, but she was pretty fun, and she possessed quality strength. Her mother, played by Marie Masters, didn’t interest me as much, but she still did decent enough. Forgettable also was Corey Parker, but I loved how his character, the very day after his girlfriend dies, gets with the girlfriend’s best friend, so a quality example of man.

Speaking of which, while his girlfriend, played by Sandra Clark, didn’t last that long, she was still pretty decent, which was a bit of a surprise given that this was her sole role in anything. David Allen Brooks (who pops up much later in Jack Frost 2) was pretty good here, and Rocco Sisto was even better, but Lolita Lesheim (who provided a bit of nudity) was just okay. Still, decent performances from most of the central cast, especially Rachel Kelly.

While traditional horror scenes were a bit light at times (and the finale felt far more thriller than it did horror), there were a few here and there, and like I said, plenty of tension throughout the whole of the film. Also, there was a kick-ass explosion at the end, which was pretty cool, and while the electrocution wasn’t up to par, it was still fun given the character in question who was electrocuted deserved it.

A lot could be said for the idea that this movie feels far more like a coming-of-age thriller than it does the pure horror movie that you might hope it’d be, and I can certainly see it, to an extent, but no matter what Scream for Help is classified as, I think it’s a movie that has a decent amount going for it, and if you’ve not yet seen it, it may be worth it, even if it’s not amazing.

7/10

Author: Jiggy's Horror Corner

Fan of the horror genre, writer of mini-reviews, and lover of slashers.

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