Monday, September 28, 2020

Scare Me Review: A Spirited, Funny Story That Leaves The Scares Up To The Imagination

Release date: October 1, 2020
Running time: 104 minutes
Starring: Aya Cash, Rebecca Drysdale, Chris Redd, Josh Ruben 

During a power outage, two strangers tell scary stories. The more Fred (Ruben) and Fanny (Cash) commit to their tales, the more the stories come to life in their Catskills cabin. The horrors of reality manifest when Fred confronts his ultimate fear.

Scare me is going to have a very polarizing effect on horror fans due to the very different nature of this film.  It is not so much a horror movie, as it is a movie about people telling scary stories.  During these stories, little touches manifest in the cabin, like noises, or characters momentarily transforming into the horror subjects of the stories, but there is not anything like the effects, creatures, and terror that horror fans have come to expect.  The film requires fans to use their imagination--helped along by the spirited acting of Cash, Redd, and Ruben--to fill the stories for them.  Clever camera work, lighting, and some sounds help with this, but the viewer's ability to imagine a story will be crucial to their enjoyment.  

This is also helped by some clever writing.  Scare Me has a funny, serious writing style that makes good use of the main characters.  Cash's blunt, delivery and lines that are a little too honest make her perfect for this role.  And writer / director Ruben is just as excited to go all out for this film, as an awkward but willing participant in this game.  When Redd is introduced, he is an equally willing participant to this scary story game. The scary stories themselves are entertaining, with some serious parts but plenty of humorous interjections by the storytellers and their listening audience.  And the writing also contains plenty of horror and film references that are sure to please scary kids and film buffs alike.  

However, horror fans will likely be very split on this film.  The story takes a long time to develop and get to the scary stories themselves, and when it does, those are mostly up to the viewer's imagination to fill in the visuals.  There isn't a lot of traditional gore and supernatural elements and those that are in the tales and pantomimed for the viewers to see.  I imagine some of this was done for budgetary reasons, and the film makes the most of the limited resources it has by getting some great performances from its actors, but it just might not be what horror fans are looking for.  However, the film does conclude with a good, tense ending; one that had me holding my breath as I waited to see what would happen.  

Scare Me tells a spirited, funny story that will entertain viewers, but leaves it up to their imagination to really find the scares in these spooky stories.  

Rent it.

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Scare Me is available to stream on Shudder starting October 1, 2020. 

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