A Review by Robert Long II ©2015
TAGLINE: Death is the new attraction.
Written and Directed by Cary Hill
Online Synopsis: 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.
Okay I have to ask; what the hell is with the bad reviews for this movie? I’ve seen some people really trash this – and they just must be out and out horror movie snobs. This is a nice little film and I enjoyed it a lot. Made for $40,000 and released through Wild Eye Releasing, I felt this 10 Little Indians slasher had a nice professional sheen to it.
Hellraiser’s Doug Bradley is touted heavily on the cover and trailer – and to be fair, he has a really good scene in a flashback as the amusement park’s shifty owner. The rest of the cast equates themselves well. While the archetypes are a little too on the nose (nerd, goth, tough guy, virginal final girl, etc.) the acting is fun and first rate. Standouts to me were both Wendy Wygant and Steve Rudzinski. Only a couple times did I find the performances either uneven or overdone.
And villains! we get them in the form of two mountain men (one being Skinny Puppy‘s Nivek Ogre in a plague mask) that come hulking, scary, insane, and masked.
The kills are not over the top creative, but are very well done for the budget. There is a fried face, a beheading, slit throat, a hanging, scalping, an axe to the head, disemboweling, and eye gouging. Not too shabby people.
What about skin? Not an over abundance of it, but we do get a nice topless scene courtesy of Kailey Marie Harris. A little more of that would have been most welcome.
At times there are some audio issues. I’m chalking that up to first time filmmakers, low budget, and bad weather. More time and more budget will probably serve this first time filmmaker well in the future. And I must say, I was impressed with the soundtrack. The musical score fits the movie well.
There is a definite 1980s vibe to the movie in look, attire, attitude and spirit. It makes me feel that the director should have just gone all out and made it an 80s era production. Aside from two small shots of cell phones (which could be switched out with calling on land lines) there really isn’t anything that says it’s in modern times.
Decent use of the amusement park, though I wish they had used more of the rides. A lot of the movie takes place on the grounds or inside the park’s maintenance shacks and eateries. Also, the movie has a nice final twist as well.
The movie includes a pretty decent commentary track with Cary Hill, a bloopers reel (that honestly only half of the reel is true bloopers) and trailers for other Wild Eye Releasing movies. I wish there had been a making of – even if it meant talking to cast and crew after the filming was completed.
FINAL SCORE: 7/10 DARK RIDES. I enjoyed this and look forward to Hill’s next movie. A big thanks to Wild Eye Releasing for supplying Smash or Trash with a number of cool movies to review – including this one. The price of the DVD is only $9.99. Go out there and get this! You can order SCREAM PARK HERE.