“Scare Me” – Movie Review

Whether or not something scares someone is often used as criteria for the quality of a horror movie or story.  Shudder’s latest original film Scare Me, takes this concept and runs with it.

It’s a truly unique horror “anthology” that may or may not actually fit the definition of that word.  Inevitably it’s going to prove very divisive among horror fans, with both 10 star and 1 star reviews already on IMDB.  So let’s take a closer look at the movie itself and judge for ourselves.

It has a pretty kickass title card (inspired by Insidious)

Introvert’s Greatest Dream
Writer/Director Josh Ruben plays the main character Fred, who’s off to stay in a snowy cabin overnight to get some writing done.  He works primarily in advertising, but wants to make it as a horror writer.

Once settled, he meets Fanny (Aya Cash), a published horror novelist whom he recognizes.  After a slightly awkward encounter outside, Fanny comes to Fred’s cabin when they both lose power for the night.  Unable to write on their laptops, they resort to telling horror stories in an attempt to scare the other.

If you’re gonna get stranded somewhere, this isn’t a bad place to do it.

Stage Play vs. Anthology
The stories themselves are a lot fun and the kind that one would expect to hear around a campfire.  However, rather than cutting away to scenes or vignettes of these stories play out as anthology films usually do, Scare Me keeps the viewer in the cabin with the two characters and allows them to tell their story, while dramatically acting things out and occasionally being helped by visuals that we the audience see but we know aren’t actually in the room with them.

And this is where the movie is certain to divide fans.  On the one hand, it’s really creative and fun to get to see these actors in their element and just going for it (along with SNL’s Chris Redd who shows up later as a delivery driver, but sticks around for the fun).  The actors really are what sells the movie and their performances are strong enough to do so.

His addition seems a bit random, but the movie is lighthearted enough that it works.

Because of this however, it comes off feeling more like a stage play than an anthology film.  There’s nothing wrong with this approach (and it was probably also done for budgetary reasons), but if you’re going into this expecting it to be like Creepshow, Tales from the Darkside, or Scare Package, it might be a bit a letdown.  Not because it’s low quality or anything like that, but because it’s so vastly different than what you might expect.

The Mind of Writer
Beneath all the fun and terror however, was a legitimately interesting take on the insecurities and idiosyncrasies that come with being a writer.  Fred and Fanny banter about things like originality, intentional vs. unintentional plagiarism, and selling out.

As a fellow writer, it was all very relatable and even hit a little too close to home.  They say you have to be a little crazy to make it as a writer, especially so if you’re writing horror (guilty as charged), and Scare Me does a great job of capturing that concept.

Overall, it’s a really fun movie that will make for the perfect watch on Halloween night (especially on a projector outside, around a campfire).  As long as you’re not going in expecting a traditional horror anthology, it won’t disappoint!

Scare Me is streaming exclusively on Shudder

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