NightScream (1997) starring Candace Cameron Bure, Casper Van Dien, Denis Arndt, Bobby Hosea directed by Noel Nosseck Movie Review

NightScream (1997)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Candace Cameron Bure in NightScream (1997)

Murder, Mystery and Misdirection

In the town of Steveston, Oregon Ray (Denis Arndt) and Julie Ordwell (Teri Garr) along with the rest of the community are dedicating an area to the memory of Laura (Candace Cameron Bure) who was murdered a year earlier and whose boyfriend Teddy Johnson (Casper Van Dien) is suspected of the murder except he disappeared. But in walks Drew Summers (Candace Cameron Bure) who is a dead ringer for Laura and has no idea how she managed to drive there. Curious by it all, local reporter, Charles Pendleton (Ned Vaughn) takes Drew to where Laura was found dead and witnesses her having a vision of what happened a year earlier. Whilst Julie can't make sense of any of it as Drew seems to be able to communicate with Laura, Ray puts pressure on the town's Sheriff to get Drew gone.

One of the issues of watching and reviewing a lot of movies is that you become more aware of story ideas and character traits than just a casual movie fan. As such movies like "NightScream" end up almost obvious and nothing special because for all the attempts at creating mystery and an edge of the supernatural it makes things too obvious. What that means is that "NightScream" rather than being a movie for those who enjoy supernatural movies becomes a movie for those who prefer TV movies as they know they won't be either taxed or offended by what goes on in the movie.

Teri Garr in NightScream (1997)

So to put that in to context with "NightScream" we have this mystery set up with Drew seemingly being possessed by the spirit of Laura, drawing her to Steveston. Her flicking between being Drew and supposedly being controlled by Laura gives us the movies ambiguity as when she has visions of Teddy we are initially never sure whether it is of a ghost or the real Teddy who has sneaked back in to town. But at the same time we have the mystery over Laura's death and Ray Ordwell's apparent unease at seeing Drew show up in town but hang around. So yes that means that whilst we have that supernatural side all it is is a vehicle for solving a year old crime which it sort of makes obvious or at least points you in a specific direction early on. It tires to toss in a twist and change what the movie is about but it isn't a great twist as if you read between the lines early on you can guess something else is coming.

Aside from the obviousness of "NightScream" well there isn't a great deal else; the acting is at best okay with Candace Cameron Bure doing a nice if forgettable job of playing the double character whilst she works well with Teri Garr. The trouble is that like so many made for TV movies from the 90s the bit parts, the actors who may only have a couple of scenes and lines end up letting it down as they are unable to make their parts sound natural.

What this all boils down to is that "NightScream" is one for the fans of TV movies as whilst it serves up a supernatural side the end product isn't that spooky or mysterious and is more a simple case of solving a murder through the spirit of the dead which doesn't do too well at keeping things subtle.