AUSTRALIANS HAVE A CERTAIN knack for delivering successful horror films throughout the ages.
One only need to look at the likes of Wake In Fright, Razorback, Saw, Wolf Creek, to name but a few to see how influential this country is at producing Horror gems.
So, when I heard that the Cairnes brothers, Cameron and Colin were returning behind the camera following their hugely delightful bloody romp, 100 Bloody Acres, I eagerly anticipated where this new direction would take them.
At first glimpse, the premise behind Scare Campaign sounds awesome.
A TV prank show that delights in scaring the bejesus out of unsuspecting participants only to come a cropper when they prank the wrong person.
All the right ticking points are in place for what should be a great movie.
There’s an old mental asylum that hosts the location of the prank itself which adds the perfect sense of eeriness needed for atmosphere.
There’s the girl with a heart, Emma, who cares for the people being pranked, perhaps a little too naively, and played brilliantly by Meegan Warner.
There’s the absolute tool of a guy, whose arrogance and lust for success which can only lead to ruin, Marcus. Again played really well by Ian Meadows.
Add a psycho on the loose chasing down our victims and you’ve got a good chemistry to play with.
So why did this movie not elevate itself into the mainstream?
Instead it slipped under the radar a little with very little impact at all.
The problem that I see is that the premise in itself.
It’s a prank show where the audience are supposed to be in on the joke, so they are already expecting or suspecting that all is not as it seems.
So when the reveals occur along the way, we (the audience) have already guessed the outcome.
I did read one review that proclaimed that we don’t see the twists coming, but I completely disagree with this statement.
The twists are evident and it’s a shame, but you need to be extremely clever to pull off the storytelling device that the Cairnes brothers were going for.
It’s a tough ask and in my opinion they fall short in this area.
Likewise the menace isn’t as impactful as you hoped it would be.
The introduction of the Masked Freaks at the beginning holds a lot of promise and if more focus were aimed at this tribe, then we might have been in for a genuine scare.
The masks look fucking fantastic and the special effects team are pulling some crazy effects in here that it’s a joy to watch each character face a unique and grisly demise.
So, it’s not all doom and gloom despite my negative declaration.
The film is enjoyable to watch and if you allow yourself to be taken on that journey, the cast (including the supporting players, notable standouts being Sigrid Thornton and Olivia De Jonge) and the SFX allow for a fun and gore-filled story to unfold.
So if you did instinctively skip this movie based on initial feedback from critics or lack of cinema screenings, or if it merely slipped you by, I would recommend watching it. It’s a far cry better than some movies out there and deserves a lot more attention than it actually received.
- Paul Farrell