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SCARE ZONE (2009)
Directed and written by Jon Binkowski.
Starring Arian Ash, Chris Burns, Neil Brown Jr., Michele Simms, Simon Needham, Patty Bender, Justin Bowen
Find out more about this film here!
A holiday haunted house attraction named Scare Zone preps for its biggest and best year yet, but this year a killer is on the loose in the attraction and the guests have no idea if the carnage they are witnessing is fake or real.
SCARE ZONE’s heart is in the right place. It seems to definitely love the horror genre and these horror attractions that pop up around Halloween time. There is definitely a sense of excitement in the air in this film—it’s that same kind of excitement I feel around Halloween. So good for these guys that they were able to put together a movie that seems to be set in a real attraction. Their exuberance about the fine art of scaring people is definitely communicated on screen.
That said, even though the props are fun and the rooms seem to be decked out and planned to scare the pants on the guests, the direction of this film really is a detriment at how the film looks and plays out. For the most part, SCARE ZONE looks like a sitcom, where most of the action takes place in the prop store. The comedy is extremely broad and the characters paper thin, so everything takes on a cartoonish vibe. These over the top antics makes it extremely difficult to get into any of the characters and buy into this premise. It just feels like a failed pilot for a sitcom that I stumbled across on Youtube.
The two main characters are the best developed characters and most memorable. Arian Ash and Chris Burns play the Ross and Rachel style couple who must overcome slashers, eager crowds, and other more personal obstacles to get together. Ash’s Clare actually has some very disturbing problems, but they are minimized to almost an offensive level and taken care of with a sweet talking to by Burns’ character. It seems like some effort was put forth to flesh out these characters, but the antics and sitcom feel really deters from any gravitas her issues may have had.
The action is actually well done during the climax when all hell breaks loose in the haunted attraction’s final night. While still small scale, I kind of liked the reveal of who the killer is and why he is doing it. It felt very retro-80’s slasher to me.
It seems SCARE ZONE was made over a decade ago. I have no idea why it’s being released now. Those in the mood for lighthearted horror with little heft will not be disappointed by SCARE ZONE. It seems to have been filmed in an actual Scare Zone attraction during off hours. I admire that kind of low fi ingenuity and love for the genre, which SCARE ZONE has heaps of despite its faults.