Hey, hey, hey kids! We’ve got ourselves another horror film that is being touted as truly terrifying. Hailing from the land of Oz, it is being lumped together with Wolf Creek, Lake Mungo, Wyrmwood and The Babadook. Some of these bedfellows are justified and some are not.
Following the inner workings of a reality tv show titled ‘Scare Campaign’, a show that pulls pranks on unwitting people because society has gone down the toilet and we enjoy watching people be made fools of, the film aspires to be a fresh and clever slasher film that also happens to squeeze in a bit of social commentary. After a nice, paint by numbers horror movie open, we meet our main characters and learn that Emma (Meegan Warner), our token final girl, is no longer interested in scaring people silly for the sake of other people’s entertainment. She worries that one day, “They’re going to prank the wrong guy.” This is called foreshadowing.
Despite wanting to quit, she stays on for one more episode because she just can’t say no to the director (Ian Meadows) who also happens to be her on again, off again boyfriend. Just before filming on this new episode begins, though, our crew is shown a video made by a rogue group of people who create videos that reside on the dark web. The dark web seems to be a real hot topic these days and the content you find on there is, allegedly, very disturbing. Rather than be appalled by this footage, the television producer tells the Scare Campaign crew that they need to up the ante and do something as cutting edge as what it being served up on the dark web.
What follows is a film that has one too many plot twists and never really delivers on it’s campaign to scare me. Truly, the Trump 2016 presidential campaign is loads scarier than this. Although the premise is good and very timely, it also smacks of a been there, done that feel. By utilizing the reality show format, there are some interesting camera choices and a few POV kills. In fact, some of these kills are really unique and the FX is great, but the overall pace of the movie just isn’t quite quick enough to match the frenzied nature of the kills and the constant need to throw in clunky opinions on the state of modern entertainment kill the mood.
Scare Campaign appears to be enjoying a nice run of winning awards at movie festivals and, thus far, it has great word of mouth. From the directing duo of Cameron and Colin Cairnes, who enjoyed success with their 2012 film 100 Bloody Acres, this movie looks great on paper and I can’t help but wonder if seeing this movie in a theatre with audience reaction would have greatly improved my ultimate feelings towards it. Unfortunately, I shall be shelving Scare Campaign right next to Wolf Creek on my list of movies that truly disappointed and did not live up to their hype. Perhaps the sequel that they lamely set up will do a better job on it’s campaign trail.