As joke-a-minute spoofs go, this surprisingly genial, cleverly constructed parody is one of the best of the genre without a Zucker brother or Jim Abrahams in the credits. Airplane!, Hot Shots!, The Naked Gun, even Mafia! have earned berths in the pop culture collective memory for their sporadic hilarity, and Shriek compares to those very well. The laugh quotient is very high -- and happily, the gore factor and sexual references (which dominated the similarly themed, inferior Scary Movie) are practically nil. Director John Blanchard has studied the Zucker-Abrahams body of work closely enough to know how to pack a scene with puns, both visual and literal, while moving along an actual story, in this case a perfect send-up of I Know What You Did Last Summer. Riotous pop references abound, keeping the viewer's brain chewing on every element entitled to screen time just in case it's a joke, and there are so many gags that the ones that don't work (the vending machine on the high school campus that sells automatic weapons -- this is funny?) quickly make room for jokes that do, often within the same shot. Oh yes, the laughs are cheap and easy, but they are fast and furious, and Shriek has piled on so many satiric jokes making fun of the horror genre of the late '90s that no sequel is possible. Besides, what could they possibly title it?
by Buzz McClain review