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Shawn C. Phillips,
Fright Land amusement park is closing down for the last time. Lack of business and interest have lead to poor sales and no profit. The park's owner, Mr. Hyde (played by Doug Bradley) devises a scheme to sell tickets once again. He hires two backwoods Appalachian men to break into the park after hours and gruesomely dispatch the park's employees. Hyde believes the murders will create a media sensation for the park. People will buy tickets once again just to see where it all happened. Once it's done, they can even begin to sell souvenirs and theme rides based on the murders. Written by
It's biggest crime is offering absolutely nothing new
But for me, I already own this movie 15 times. Being in an amusement park doesn't set it aside enough to make me care about the characters or plot. The plot is weak and most of the characters are paper thin. The one thing all indie films should EXCEL at is a great script. This film does not deliver.
Almost every character is so bland that I couldn't find myself invested in any of them.
That's not to take anything away from some of the actors. The two leads (Wendy Wygant and Steve Rudzinski) both excel at the roles they're supposed to play. Wendy is a very capable lead, making me believe in being frail but badass while Steve is perfect as a really nice weasel. Doug Bradley does great in his five minute cameo, as should be expected from one of the greats. Nivek Ogre also certainly brought his character to life in a great way, I hope he keeps doing more films as he was a perfect maniacal killer.
The rest of the acting is an extreme range though. On the GREAT end you have Alicia Marie Marcucci and Kyle Riordan, both were a joy on screen. On the HORRIBLE end you have Kailey Marie Harris and Tyler Kale, who seemed to have gotten their parts based on their looks alone and never went through an actual audition. To round out the kids we have both Nicole Beattie and Dean Jacobs, neither of whom are bad but are seen so little that they never get a chance to show off who the characters are.
"So that's all well and good Andy, but what about the rest of the movie?" Well since the biggest issue I have is with plot and characters I'll keep everything else to a minimum.
The movie is a combination of great looking and poorly shot. There aren't many "bad" shots, just that often times there's a chance for great establishing shots in a terrific park that we never get, too much of the camera is right up in character's faces. This is purely subjective, but the best shots in the movie were things like the wide establishing shot of a killer on the other end of a body of water or a victim on a carousel. Great mood setters that were too few between.
Pacing in general is fine except for a painful Act 1. Never before have I wanted to kill a character we never meet more than Blake, as he is the entire focus point of all of Act 1. Which is even worse given that the pay off is really a let down. Otherwise Act 2 and 3 move along nice and brisk. I appreciated that the killing is also sprinkled throughout a good chunk of the film, as opposed to being all in the end (some indie slashers suffer from this).
The kills as a whole are okay. Some look great, some look bland. The best was by far the one with the axe you don't see coming until it's too late. Body count is a grand total of 9. For most people this will be plenty, for me I felt like I wanted more.
The music in the movie is great. It was wonderfully creepy and well done.
Editing is also for the most part really good. There are definitely times when there's some poor shot usage or off scenes, but I've seen enough movies to know that there's only so much an editor can do sometimes with what he has. Although in the copy I had, there were full blown unfinished effects in a surveillance room. Marking tape was clearly visible where footage was supposed to be, footage that would appear randomly. I really hope this is a case of it being an early copy and not what will end up being released.
The killers are good, but I can't help but feel I'm giving them a pass due to Ogre's amazing performance. I think it's more than possible that anyone less great than Ogre would have made the killers really bland. BUT, since Ogre is in fact in the movie and his performance is in fact amazing, I do like the killers in the movie. Both are just different enough and the outfits are pretty interesting.
So would I recommend this? No. To be fair, this isn't a BAD movie. Objectively it's pretty average, I should score it a 5/10. But personally, I just didn't like it. Especially since it really seems like they had a lot of money to make this (the actors and location), yet I've seen plenty of movies made for under $5000 that were better. That shouldn't happen, Scream Park should have been better. That alone, for me, is enough to knock off that extra star for it to be a 4/10.
For the average slasher fan you may very well enjoy the movie. It has a great location, a few great kills, and a few great actors. But personally, I just didn't like this.
There's certainly potential and I do look forward to what comes next from the writer/director. Hopefully Cary Hill can learn from the mistakes he made and the next film he makes will be even better!
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