Written by: Terry Cox
Directed by: Cameron and Colin Cairnes
Cast: Meegan Warner, Ian Meadows, Olivia DeJonge
After hearing some positive opinions regarding Cameron and Colin Cairnes’ new hidden-camera-game show-gone-wrong, Scare Campaign, I felt compelled to check it out. Scare Tactics was a fun show in its heyday, and I figured enough time had passed that the Scare Tactic craze had relented so much so that it may have found itself slipping from many-a-memory. So, theoretically, this idea could feel fresh, should it be executed to at least near-perfection.
The film isn’t perfect, we can get that out of the way right off the bat. However, it is an energetic little film that relishes in cruel jokes until those jokes become gruesome realities. I shouldn’t need to explain the premise of the film, given the Scare Tactics name drop, but for those who may be foreign to the reality show, I’ll disclose what I can.
A small television crew who run a successful television show by hiring random Joes to be the center of a horror themed fright prank. Things go wrong when they book an oddball fellow to appear in what was once a mental ward. But then things get interesting yet again, as there’s another film group out there eager to steal Scare Campaign’s viewer base, no matter what the cost.
We get a three-way twist from the film, which is what ultimately elevates it above mediocre horror. I can’t discuss too much in the way of those twists, but I can say they’re delivered in perfect time, as each act edges toward crescendo, boom, we get a shocker. That keeps the film feeling very fresh. It’s not a lengthy film by any means, but it flies by like few others.
This cast is great, particularly Meegan Warner, who plays our logical final girl and Ian Meadows, the wise-cracking director of the show. These two work well together and separate, which is nice. It’s always good to know a performer doesn’t require support to perform admirably. These two pass the test with high scores. But the truth is, there really isn’t anything in the way of disappointing performances. We’ve got plenty of bit players, but they show up and they do their job. Kudos, to the entire cast.
Scare Campaign isn’t going to work for everyone, and as I already pointed out, it isn’t perfect. But there’s a magnetism to the flick that demands you focus on the ghastly above all, and as a longtime genre fan, I can respect that a great deal. If you’re looking for something simultaneously recognizable and foreign, Scare Campaign is going to work for you.