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Stab

Stab

By Patrick Samuel • December 5th, 2011
Static Mass Rating: 4/5
STAB (DVD)
Sunrise Studios

Certificate: 18
Year of production: 1997

Director: Robert Rodriquez
Producer: John Milton

Cast: Heather Graham, Tori Spelling, David Schwimmer, Jennifer Jolie and Luke Wilson

With six sequels and probably more to come, there’s no denying that the Stab movies have made a lasting mark on the horror genre. Yet with each subsequent film, we have to admit that the writers began to take liberties with the original story and tragic real-life deaths at the hands of the masked killers.

Based on The Woodsboro Murders, the book written by Gale Weathers, a survivor of the original killings that took place in northern California in 1996, the first Stab movie is a retelling of what began with a terrifying phone call and ended in a bloodbath.

Stab

When high school student Casey Becker (Heather Graham) receives a call one night, at first it appears to be a wrong number, but then the caller dials again. Soon what appears to be an innocent call quickly turns into a nightmare as he taunts her with a sinister questions about horror movies. Eventually Casey ends up outside in a final attempt to escape.

The next day, the town of Woodsboro is shocked by the news of the grisly murder, but it’s not the first time something like this has happened there. For Sidney Prescott (Tori Spelling) it’s a feeling of déjà vu. Her own mother was brutally murdered five years previously.

Stab

As the investigation gets underway, a media circus descends on the town, including television tabloid journalist Gale Weathers (Jennifer Jolie) who believes that Sidney sent the wrong man to prison for her mother’s murder and now he’s killing again. As the masked killer continues his spree, no one knows who’s behind it. Sidney and her friends try to obey the rules established in horror classics like Halloween (1978), Friday the 13th (1980), A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), When a Stranger Calls (1979), and Prom Night (1979), but they too will realise that terror is just a phone call away.

Fraught with tension and packed with jump scares, Stab makes a chilling comment on our society’s obsession with celebrity while at the same time analyzing the effect of horror movies on the younger generation. There’s no question that these factors played a huge part in the motivation for the real-life killers Billy Loomis and Stu Macher, but who can tell for sure what drove these two to butcher their friends. Luke Wilson captures Billy’s menacing tone, balancing it perfectly with teen angst and masking his passion for homicide just enough to throw off suspicion.

Stab

The casting of Tori Spelling as Sidney was something I wasn’t sure about at first. There are times when I believe her portrayal although not completely, there’s just something lacking there. As a victim she is compelling, but as a hero and survivor of these events, Spelling can’t hold a candle to the real Sidney. David Schwimmer adds some much needed comedy, without his nerdy approach to the role of Deputy Dewey, Stab would be far too tense to enjoy with nothing to relax us from the mounting hysteria, screams and ensuing bloodbaths.

Stab

In a twist of fate the movie based on the story of the real-life Woodsboro Murders went on to trigger another spree of killings. During a preview of Stab, college students Phil Stevens and Maureen Evans were stabbed to death while Casey’s murder played out on screen. As more killings followed, Sunrise Studios were happy to keep churning out more sequels, even after Stab 3’s original cast, director and producer were murdered.

Stab

With the series now on its 7th film and getting sillier with each stabbing (Stab 5: Clock Of Doom involves time travel), suffice to say, the original Stab is by far the most chilling, suspenseful and shocking. I would be tempted to say it’s the best, but knowing that it’s a retelling of what actually took place in Woodsboro, and that the film itself inspired more bloodshed, “best” seems the wrong word, but like they say, “the first cut is the deepest”.

Dear readers, please note this is a review for a film which only exists as a film-within-a-film and there is no actual DVD release.

Patrick Samuel

Patrick Samuel

The founder of Static Mass Emporium and one of its Editors in Chief is an emerging artist with a philosophy degree, working primarily with pastels and graphite pencils, but he also enjoys experimenting with water colours, acrylics, glass and oil paints.

Being on the autistic spectrum with Asperger’s Syndrome, he is stimulated by bold, contrasting colours, intricate details, multiple textures, and varying shades of light and dark. Patrick's work extends to sound and video, and when not drawing or painting, he can be found working on projects he shares online with his followers.

Patrick returned to drawing and painting after a prolonged break in December 2016 as part of his daily art therapy, and is now making the transition to being a full-time artist. As a spokesperson for autism awareness, he also gives talks and presentations on the benefits of creative therapy.

Static Mass is where he lives his passion for film and writing about it. A fan of film classics, documentaries and science fiction, Patrick prefers films with an impeccable way of storytelling that reflect on the human condition.

Patrick Samuel ¦ Asperger Artist

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