• Kelly M. Hudson

Scare Me Please!


Fred (Josh Ruben--also writer and director) heads to a remote cabin in the woods to work on his werewolf novel. This, he feels, is his big chance to do something special with his life. He’s always dreamed of being a writer but is stuck in a thankless job. So he takes some time off to pursue his dreams. Once there, he runs into a neighbor and fellow writer, Fanny (Aya Cash) who also just so happens to be a famous author of a horror novel. She’s a bit standoffish to him but when a storm hits that night and knocks out the electricity in the area, she comes over to hang out, hatching a brilliant idea to tell scary stories to one another to pass the time. Fred is reluctant because he isn’t a very good storyteller, but he eventually gives in, and they tell a series of stories, each one weird. A third person, the pizza deliver guy Carlo (Chris Redd) eventually joins them for a time and they act out a story of a possessed pop starlet before Carlo has to go back to work. As the night progresses, Fred feels more and more unsure of himself and his talent, and before dawn, he has a confrontation with Fanny that could turn ugly quick.

Scare Me is an interesting idea for a film that’s handled pretty well and the two main stars act the shit out of their roles, but ultimately it fell a bit flat for me. Maybe it was expectations going in. I thought them telling each other scary stories would be the framework for an anthology but instead the movie is literally them acting out the stories for one another. And again, while this leads to some stellar acting, it wasn’t very engaging or, you know, scary. It’s a brilliant idea for a low-budget movie with a small cast and pretty much one location, and they do pull it off in the best way possible, but for me it never clicked. I think others might really enjoy this, though. And there is a whole lot to like here. The characters are fleshed out and interesting, although Fanny can be more than very annoying at times (she’s very arrogant and her needling of Fred seems a bit excessive) and Fred is a total douche at the beginning and although he elicits sympathy as the story unfolds, it’s hard to get over that initial impression of him.

I’ll say this: I think Scare Me would work better as a stage play than as a movie. In fact, thinking of it this way makes me take to it even more. It’s not a bad film at all; there’s too much talent on display, from acting to writing to directing, everyone should be proud. But as cinema? It just didn’t work for me, not totally at least. It’s worth a watch, though. I’m sure this movie will acquire a cult reputation, and tons of you out there will really enjoy it. Mostly it’s not my kind of humor, and quipping thirty-somethings was never my bag, anyway. I imagine this will be a bit divisive, with some loving it and some rolling their eyes. Give it a watch and make up your own mind.

★★✮☆



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