Scare Me follows a struggling writer, Fred (Josh Ruben), who finds a semi-remote cabin to work on his next story. When a power outage hits, a successful writer, Fanny (Aya Cash, The Boys), staying in another cabin nearby intrudes on his solitude to stage a game in which they must try and scare each other through a frightening tale. As they exchange stories, reenacting the horror along the way, Fred gradually becomes aware that the truly horrifying reality may not be the one they are improvising.
Scare Me Review
I must admit that I have been holding onto this review for some time...I just couldn't bring myself to put the words down. Scare Me is an incredibly clever concept executed deftly by its actors. The writing is light yet purposeful, and the characters peel like onions throughout the runtime in ways that respect the viewers' attention. The concept needed nothing more than a minimal budget to take its plot everywhere it needed to go, and that's exactly what it did. It went on an imaginative journey and took us with it. But...and these are the words I've struggled to admit publicly...I didn't like it.
Call me old fashioned, call me braindead, call me a hypocrite, or call me a child. All would likely be astute observations. This movie has everything I regularly hope for in a horror movie. It's fresh and original and unlike anything ever made in the genre, but it just doesn't hit any notes of entertainment for me. While I'm watching this film, I'm fully appreciating it and yet completely bored by it. There's something about two great actors reenacting improvised horror tales for an hour and a half in a cabin that just couldn't get me into it.
Maybe it is that it just felt too much like a play with use of multiple cameras. I'm not sophisticated enough for broadway, in particular musicals, and this film presents itself in a similar fashion...so perhaps my natural distaste for the format had me instinctually dismiss it. Or perhaps it is the child in me that, despite my desire for substance behind my favorite genre, I still need some semblance of horror beyond what I am supposed to picture in my head amidst the whacky mannerisms and monologues of two characters spouting off ideas at one another.
The film scratches a very particular itch. It is clearly made for horror fans, but it may struggle to satisfy fans looking for elements of the horror they love. It isn't devoid of atmosphere, of course...as it is sprinkled throughout...but the film's core is its humor and that dilutes any semblance of fear that may be trying to sneak in.
This movie is amazing. It's a piece of cinema that a lot of people can enjoy. It's a piece that any aspiring writer or other creative can appreciate through its exploration of the struggles of hopelessness, envy, selfishness, and self-awareness. It's essentially a horror movie for anyone trying to make it big and their greatest fear is the incapability to do so, that there is somebody always better and one step ahead. The reality behind such fears makes Scare Me terrifying on a different level, one that I can respect and appreciate. But, I can't bring myself to like it. I hope you do.
Horror Rating System
Horror Qualifier: 7/10 Horror Quality: 3/10 Film Quality: 8/10