Hey gang, Valkor here. Even though the month of August is just kicking in, there are folks out there who are already gearing up for Halloween – what costume they’ll wear, what parties they’re going to, or even if they’ll go out at all, maybe stay in, give out candy and watch movies. And hey, I ain’t even mad at that… although it will be weird that in September, Christmas will be all the rage. But to keep the mood on the spooky side, let’s take a look at the latest horror to come across my desk – Scare Campaign. It sounds pretty scary, but is it good enough for your Halloween film rotation? Let’s find out! Oh, and we wary of spoilers ahead!
“Scare Campaign” centers on a reality/prank TV show of the same name; in the series, the pranksters scare the pants off of some innocent scrub for the entertainment of a viewing audience. However, a new group has sprung up called the “Masked Freaks”, and they’re on some next level shit with their “pranks”, to the point that it looks a little too real. Worse their online subscriptions are high enough that it catches the Scare Campaign producer’s eye. And now she wants their final show of the season to “push the envelope” and come up with something more realistic and more graphic than what the show has done before.
So the show’s director, Marcus (Ian Meadows) takes the series to an abandoned mental institution, where the lead actor Emma (Meegan Warner), plays the part of a head nurse to draw in a guy named Rohan (Josh Quong Tart), who has applied for the job as the facility’s handyman. However, during the interview process, Rohan looks a little preoccupied with his surroundings. It could be that he used to work for the place and there’s some familiarity to it all (this is what he lets known). The scare prank begins with the recently hired ghost actress Abby (Olivia DeJonge) starts popping up here and there, staying within Rohan’s sights, while the crew tosses in spooky noises and other scary effects. This produces the desired effect that Rohan appears legitimately spooked. However, no one saw Rohan take a letter opener off the desk, which he then uses to stab the Abby repeatedly. While Em attempts to make a break for it, Rohan starts picking off the rest crew one by one, eventually catching up with Emma in the company car. The confrontation ends when she stabs him in the hand and escapes.
Now here’s the twist – Rohan was part of a prank that Marcus had set up, to add that level of realism to the show, which has gone all kinds of wrong now that Rohan was actually stabbed. And to make matters worse, the gang from “Masked Freaks” makes the scene and they’re actually killing everyone. The final survivors – Em, Marcus, and Abby are confronted by the Masked Freaks… but will they make it out alive?
“Scare Campaign” comes to us from Australia, where one of the scariest films I’ve ever watched – Lake Mungo, still gives me the chills to this day. Actually, I’ve enjoyed many films from that region, most of which have garnered a “TOV Editor’s Choice” award. Obviously “Scare Campaign” doesn’t have that award, but that doesn’t mean it’s a terrible film. And I’ll tell you all about it in the TOV Breakdown.
“Scare Campaign” isn’t as frightening as I would have liked, and yet it was still a lot of fun to watch. The setup is paint-by-numbers, but the film tosses a few twists at you along the way at just the right moments. These “twists” help to keep things lively, as there’s never a moment that the film drags; in fact, it flows nicely through its 80-minute run. The gore factor is kept at a balance, though none too extreme, between the drama bits - and they’re quite shocking when they happen. I’ll only make mention of one scene in particular, which will be in the ugly section, the rest, you’ll need to watch the film and see for yourself. The acting is pretty decent and I really enjoyed the over-the-top cheesiness/sleaziness of Marcus, played Ian Meadows; with him, it’s all about the ratings as well as not appearing to amateurish, and he plays his part well. I’d also give it up to Meegan Warner as Emma, whose performance I really enjoyed. But I think the entire cast did an amazing job, and combined with the story and direction makes “Scare Campaign” a film worth watching.
I find “Scare Campaign” to be very predictable – very, very predictable actually. And it all starts with the introduction of the "Masked Freaks" and when Abby makes the scene. You pretty much know from there where the film is headed. Thankfully it doesn’t hurt the film too much, yet it does take away some of the scares.
That one dude who gets his head sawed in half. Yikes!
If you’re interested in a physical copy of “Scare Campaign”, you’ll have to do a little importing; but you can watch the film on iTunes (though it’s gonna run you more than most films). While the film is predictable, it’s still fun to watch and I’d recommend checking it out. And out of TOV 5 stars, “Scare Campaign” gets a 3.