Monday, August 10, 2020

Scare Me – review

Director: Conrad Glover (segment)

Release date: 2020 

Contains spoilers

This is a portmanteau movie, sort of, and was primarily directed by Mark Stephens, who directed a short called Scare Me, in 2016, and the cast listed on IMDb suggests that it is now the prologue of this film. The film consists of a group of friends going to a festival and stopping at a camp site where they have a scary story competition, which are the anthology aspects, but soon the anthology aspect ends and the group are fighting for their lives against… well given the eye effect in one of the shorts it might be demon possession.

The first three stories in the campfire competition are interesting takes on the werewolf, vampire and zombie genres. The vampire short is called Unnatural Born Killers and is credited to Conrad Glover as ‘Guest Director’.

Telling the tale
Officer Summers (Anthony Avery) is with his sergeant, Beck (Roland Matthews). Summers and his partner Miller (Stu Chaiken) were sent to a domestic disturbance and, now, there is a dead cop (Miller) and a video already on YouTube of him shooting both an unarmed black man, Dante (Morlon Greenwood), and his girlfriend, Michelle (Bri Ana Wagner). One of the strange conceits of this is that whilst we see the YouTube video, its not clear how it might have been shot (ie there are too many angles) and then later, with the body cam footage we subsequently see, it is clear not all came from the body cam.

The footage shows Dante and Michelle arguing quite heatedly, whilst on a forecourt. The cop car rolls in and Michelle makes it clear she called the cops. Miller and Summer exit their vehicle but, after a brief verbal exchange, Dante walks away. Miller goes after him, unholstering his gun. Dante is sat in his vehicle and Miller yells about a gun and shoots him. When Michelle runs towards the scene he shoots her too, claiming she was attacking him.

bodycam footage
The Sergeant has already suggested that the bodies of Dante and Michelle have vanished and he gets the body cam footage from Summers. We re-watch the scene from his point of view. After the couple have been shot, he and Miller argue and it is clear that Miller is going to plant a gun – however Dante’s body has vanished from the car. We see movement and black swirls on the motel roof and then Dante jumps down at Miller. Michelle is up too and they feed from him. But how will Summer extricate himself from the situation?

Summer and the Sergeant
The fact that it is a white cop shooting an unarmed black guy is deliberately used, though this came out prior to the tragic events in the US that triggered the worldwide BLM protests, and is referenced in the main feature dialogue. The short is possibly the shortest in the film and doesn’t outstay its welcome. Indeed, the first three (werewolf, vampire and zombie) stories are great. I was less sure when the film went into its main story. It felt loose, plot-wise, and not thought through. However, I don’t score the full film – rather just the vampire segment. Despite the oddity round the camera footage (which had to be deliberate) this was short, sweet and to the point but nicely done. 6 out of 10.

The IMDb page is here

On Demand @ Amazon US

On Demand @ Amazon UK

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