By Bruce Fretts
March 27, 1998 at 05:00 AM EST

Many critics skewered this slasher flick for lacking the self-satirical edge of Scream (also penned by Summer screenwriter Kevin Williamson). Yet if you leave any such expectations at the rental counter, you?ll have a screamingly good time. Even without the in-jokes, Summer?s a crisply efficient chiller. As North Carolina teens terrorized by a slicker-clad psycho-killer, TV-trained Hewitt (Party of Five) and Gellar (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) seem right at home on the small screen. Male companions Ryan Phillippe and Freddie Prinze Jr. are strictly stiffs, but Johnny Galecki (Roseanne) and Anne Heche provide lively turns as the town geek and a backwoods freak, respectively. One can only hope the impending Summer sequel is as much fun as Scream 2.

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