Saturday, July 30, 2016
Scare Campaign (2016)
Josh Quong Tart
Scare Campaign is a hugely popular Australian prank show that's been a huge ratings hit for the past five years. The producers of Scare Campaign decide that they need to take the next season further and make it scarier when they have competition from a new 'Snuff' Prank web series that they assume is fake which is run by a group called the 'Masked Freaks'. Little do the Scare Campaign crew realise that their next series is being watched by the group and they have far more sinister plans in store.
Being Australian, I always love to go and watch our homegrown horror movies as it's pretty rare for us to produce and make solid entries in the genre. Lately, we've been on a great run with movies like The Babadook, Wolf Creek, Snowtown, and The Loved Ones. So I ate up the chance to give this latest Australian slasher a watch and while it's not as great as the movies that I mentioned above. It's still a fun and bloody little slasher that attempts to entertain.
The movie begins with an entertaining and scenery-chewing performance from The Loved Ones, John Brumpton. His scene is so over the top regarding performance that it almost comes across as Razzie worthy. However, once the scene delivers its payoff. It comes full circle and sets the films somewhat darkly comedic and vicious tone. The Australian 'sense of humour' is ripe in this film. I have to wonder if US audiences will take some of the performances in the film the wrong way and automatically assume they're dreadful.
The second act of Scare Campaign is where things get really entertaining. Once the movie begins setting up the latest episode where the Scare Campaign crew decide to prank a man who was actually the gardener of the location they plan to prank him in. This is where the story begins to get real bloody and the violence starts to unfold. All of the death scenes are some of the most entertaining and gruesome that I've seen in the horror genre this year. Gorehounds won't be disappointed.
Where this movie squanders several points is the incredibly predictable twist that gets thrown into the mix towards the middle of the movie. The twist isn't very original and has been done to some degree in other horror movies. Once the twist is revealed and the 'Masked Freaks' come into play, the violence starts back up, and the movie keeps entertaining. I believe that if you don't like this film, I can guarantee the gorehounds will find something to enjoy.
The final few minutes is where I think the movie lost me again. By the time that the ending rolls around, I have seen this type of ending before and done to a much better degree. I'm all for those bleak and dark endings but it sort of feels like a huge cop-out when it does the old cut to the credits. I'd have preferred the movie had it gone for an extra ten minutes with a final showdown between the Scare Campaign crew and the Masked Freaks. I think the low casualty rate on the Masked Freaks side of things could've used a few more brutal deaths.
The acting from the cast is somewhat solid for the most part. We have a cameo from the excellent Australian actress Sigrid Thornton. Meegan Warner and Ian Meadows as our two lead characters do a fine job of portraying a bickering couple who are thrown into a nightmarish situation that threatens their relationship. Cassandra Mcgrath from Wolf Creek also delivers a solid supporting turn. The best performance is delivered by Josh Quong Tart who plays our unstable gardener. He has a deliciously evil role that sees him having a lot of fun in his role.
When it comes to the suspense and tension, the movie has a few genuinely enjoyable chase and stalk scenes. This is probably where Scare Campaign gets most of its thrills and chills from. The movie also relies heavily on loud noises and sudden jump scares. The jump scares aren't always entirely satisfactory or land very successfully. But for all those horror fans who are easily freaked out, these scenes should make you jump out of your seat.
Lastly, I have to mention the gore and makeup effects in this movie. For a low-budget Australian horror film, Scare Campaign delivers gore by the bucket loads. The gore is also very well done and extremely impressive in this movie. Not since Brad Pitt having his head severed during The Counselor, have I seen a film use a metal wire tightening device for decapitation executed so well. We are also witness to one of the goriest and violent machete kills that I've seen in a film in a very long time.
DEATH TOLL: 7
BLOOD AND GORE:
- Someone's head is chopped off.
- Repeatedly stabbed with scissors.
- Hanged from a ladder by a noose.
- Throat cut open.
- People are attacked with an axe.
- Stabbed in hand with an ice pick.
- A machete through the face.
- Head ripped in half with a tightening wire device.
- People are stabbed in the chest.
- Someone is sliced down the chest with a chainsaw.
- Someone is buried alive.
While Scare Campaign contains a couple of dodgy performances, a rather predictable twist midway through the film and an ending that feels like a bit of a cop-out. These several fallbacks aren't enough to kill the overall film. If you're looking for a highly entertaining and violent slasher film, you'll walk out of Scare Campaign somewhat entertained. I think the movie should cater well to fans of gory Ozploitation-type slasher films. A guilty pleasure in the making.