When it comes to Scream Queens, no one seems to be tougher than Sidney Prescott… erh… I mean Neve Campbell. She fits the definition of Scream Queen perfectly; she’s gorgeous, she’s tough and she can probably kick your butt from here to Timbuctoo. Move aside ladies. There’s a new Scream Queen in the spotlight this month.
Neve Adrianne Campbell was born in Guelph, Ontario on October 3, 1973. Her mother, Marnie (née Neve), a Dutch-born psychologist and a yoga instructor while her father, Gerry Campbell, immigrated to Canada from Glasgow, Scottland and taught drama classes at Westwood Secondary School, Lorne Park Secondary School and more recently at Erindale Secondary School.
Neve has three brothers, Christian, Alex and Damian. When she was two years old, her parents divorced. At the age of six, Neve saw a performance of The Nutcracker and decided she wanted to take up ballet, enrolling at the Erinvale School of Dance. She and her brother Christian lived mostly with their father, with regular periods at their mother’s home until Neve was nine. At the time, she moved into residence at the National Ballet School of Canada, training there and appearing in productions of The Nutcracker and Sleeping Beauty. After accumulating numerous dance-related injuries and a stress-induced nervous breakdown, she moved into acting at the age of 15, performing in The Phantom of the Opera at the Canon Theatre in Toronto while attending Guelph Collegiate Vocational Institute in Guelph.
She got her acting start in 1991 at the age of 18, playing a student in the TV series My Secret Identity alongside Jerry O’Connell. Playing simply a ‘student’ Neve got her taste of what it was like to act in front of cameras. The following year she appeared in two more TV series; The Kids In The Hall and Catwalk, in which she had a reoccurring role.
Her first steps into the horror genre came in 1993 with The Dark. Neve played the role of Officer Jesse Donovan. The storyline of The Dark is quite fitting for a late night movie and had quite a throwback to creature features of the 1950’s. The concept of the monster is original and rather intriguing, not to mention it is rather creepy looking.
Neve’s performance came as quite a surprise. For a rookie actor, she was a pleasant surprise, holding her own against a much more experienced cast including the late, great Brion James. It is worth the watch, so if you can find yourself a copy, check it out.
In 1994, Neve starred in two TV thrillers, I Know My Son Is Alive and The Forget-Me-Not Murders. That same year she began her stint of the popular TV show, Party Of Five in which she played the role of Julia Salinger.
Fast forwarding to 1996, Neve’s work within the horror genre became more apparent as she starred in not one, but two cult classic films. The first was everybody’s favourite scary movie, Scream. Working alongside Skeet Ulrich, Courtney Cox and Matthew Lillard, Neve played the main character, Sidney Prescott. If you don’t know the storyline for Scream then you’ve been living under a rock for the past twenty years but I’ll give you a brief rundown anyway. Sidney and her friends become the target of a Ghostfaced serial killer who doesn’t seem to really have a motive. At least, not until the end.
Despite the obvious flaws with the film (Sidney saying the word “No” but actually mouthing the word “Dewey”), Scream became a hit with audiences and became the unlikely source of a spin off film entitled Scary Movie. (Fun Fact: The original title for Scream was Scary Movie)
The second horror film for the year saw Neve reconnect with Skeet Ulrich. The Craft saw Neve play an outsider drawn to the dark arts, which apparently also halted production of the film as reports of strange goings on were happening.
The Craft has now become a must watch movie. Neve showcases her talents, providing a vast difference between the role of Sidney Prescott from Scream and Bonnie from The Craft. Even if you’re scared of witches, or the powers that be, The Craft is a must watch film. Just enjoy the cult status of the 90’s.
The following year, Neve returned to the role of Sidney Prescott for Scream 2. Leaving the sleepy town of Woodsboro behind, Sidney ventured to Windsor College. Thanks to Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox) a movie about the events of the first film has been made and Sidney is trying to dodge the hype surrounding opening weekend.
Unfortunately, Ghostface is right behind her, determined to kill her once and for all. But who could it possibly be? With guest stars like Sarah Michelle Gellar, Rebecca Gayheart and Jerry O’Connell, Scream 2 proved to be quite a success, though it wasn’t without controversy as a fan favourite character was killed off. While the critics and fans ripped into Wes Craven, they praised Neve’s strong performance, labelling her the next Scream Queen.
One year later, Neve turned the world on its head as she starred opposite Denise Richards, Matt Dillon and Kevin Bacon in Wild Things. Without a doubt my favourite performance of Neve’s thus far. Wild Things is such a conspiracy filled film, constantly keeping the audience guessing as to what’s happening next and who is really to blame. The ending certainly surprised some viewers, myself included. If you haven’t seen Wild Things, I recommend checking it out immediately. If you have seen it, watch it again.
The start of the millennium saw new roles for Neve. She turned more towards comedy with films like Three To Tango and Drowning Mona, in which she starred alongside the original Scream Queen, Jamie Lee Curtis. But it was the return to Woodsboro and the role of Sidney Prescott that had the horror genre talking.
Scream 3 came out in 2000, dividing the fans of the series. I personally found it to be the weakest of the three films, an unbefitting end to a trilogy. Not even the cameo of Jamie Kennedy could save the film in my eyes. But I also know some people who believe the opposite. (Fun Fact: The song “Red Right Hand” by Australian performer Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds has appeared in the first 3 Scream movies)
The film disappointed at box office but it did bring the Scream franchise to full circle. For a while it freed up Neve to pursue other films outside of the horror genre. (Fun Fact: In Scream 3, Gale Weathers mentions Jennifer’s relationship with Brad Pitt. Courtney Cox’s Friends co-star, Jennifer Aniston, was married to Brad Pitt. Ironically, the character Jennifer’s last name is Jolie – the last name of Angelina Jolie, who Pitt would later marry)
In 2003, Neve pursued the thriller genre. While there have been thrillers in the past that could be classed as potential horrors, Blind Horizon isn’t one of them. It is, however, a decent film. A year later Neve showcased her talents in another thriller, When Will I Be Loved? Neve performed her first nude scene for the film and chalked up an impressive four star review from Roger Ebert. Overall, it does have its moments of enjoyment, but lacks a special something that makes the film redeemable. Feel free to tune into it for the nudity, but the film itself is rather disappointing.
From 2004 to 2010, Neve was busy with television series as well as comedy, romantic and drama filled movies. While I’m not mentioning them, her performances alone prove her talents.
The horror genre didn’t come calling again until 2011 when Scream 4 hit production. That’s right, Ghostface was back and a trilogy for the modern era was over as another sequel hit the screen.
Scream 4 saw Sidney return to her home town of Woodsboro, the last stop on her book tour. She’s no longer a victim but rather a survivor. Gale and Dewey are back too, married and living in the town as Dewey is now sheriff.
But things are about to start rocking when a familiar voice calls. Ghostface is back.
I was initially excited for Scream 4. After the dismal efforts of Scream 3, I was excited to see the series end on a high. Instead, I was torn. On one hand I really enjoyed the characters and their development. With the characters of Robbie and Kirby, it felt like Randy had returned. Charlie and Trevor were rather odd and quite frankly I wanted to leap through the screen and punch both of them. That pleased me because it meant I actually cared about what was happening on screen.
On the other hand, I felt so disappointed by some of the story, the dialogue and when the motives and killer was revealed. It was a bullshit theory and honestly, I didn’t believe who they portrayed as the killer. It was an obvious choice and I had them picked from about twenty minutes in.
For those who haven’t seen Scream 4, I do recommend it. While it didn’t live up to the hype of the first two films, it was a worthy ending to the series. And if I may quote Sidney, “You forgot the first rule of remakes. Don’t fuck with the original!”
Compared to some of the previous Scream Queens, Neve hasn’t appeared in much. But what she has done have gone down in cinematic history making her one of the most bad-ass women the horror genre has. Should Scream 5 ever come to fruition, I depict that Sidney will snap and become the killer herself. Let’s face it, she has the body count.
Neve Campbell. TV sweetheart. Canadian beauty. Ghostface enemy number one. May she forever hold a place in the Horror Icon Hall of Fame.
Top Five Neve Campbell Movies
1) Wild Things (1998) – Seductive and sexy, this is sure to get your blood pumping.
2) Scream (1996) – A cult classic that created a parody, Scream will forever be cemented as everyone’s favourite “Scary Movie”
3) Call Waiting (2002) – This TV movie didn’t get a mention, but watching Neve hold her own against Jeremy Irons in this drama showcases just how talented she really is.
4) The Craft (1996) – A bad girl. An outsider. Someone who uses dark magic to get what she wants. Neve was outstanding as Bonnie.
5) Scream 4 (2011) – Ghostface, just give up. Sidney’s kicked your ass for fifteen years. Neve’s strongest performance in the Scream franchise.