Movie Review: Scare Us (2021)

A horror anthology headed up by director Ryan Henry Johnston, Scare Us was released in 2021, and features segments directed by Johnston and Jordan Pillar, Carl Jensen IV, Ryan Kjolberg, Charlotte Lilt, and Tom J. McCoy. As a murder stalks the streets of their once quiet town, a group of aspiring writers stay out past curfew to share their new horrifying tales: Claire (Lilt) and her story, ‘The Resting‘; Naomi (Michelle Palermo), and her story ‘Night Haul‘; Mikey (Ethan Drew), author of ‘Untethered‘, and Diego (Michael C. Alvarez), who pens ‘Dead Ringer‘, along with book club host, Peter (Tom Sandoval). The stories range from allegories of their home lives, to creature features and supernatural tales of suspense.

+ I didn’t recognise any of the actors in the film, and in my mind, when it comes to horror film, that is always a positive. Better still, the acting was actually good. I was worried at first, as a seemingly forced love/hate relationship is given a bit of focus, but that never overtakes the rest of the film
+ the first story segment, Night Haul, was relatively standard fare but set the tone well for the rest of the film, and the individual segments. There are enough unanswered questions to keep it interesting, but not too much as to frustrate me and make me feel like I’ve wasted my time
+ the second feature, Untethered, was really interesting, and I’d be willing to watch a full movie based on its premises (not least of all because there might be a few more answers given). This was a really well made short, able to make things incredible tense and violent without resorting to cheap scare tactics
+ Dead Ringer, the third story, would not have been out of place in an episode of Supernatural and features one of the more actually scary shots from the whole movie. Like the second portion of the film, I’d be very happy to see this fleshed out (hilarious pun intended, you’ll see) into a feature length film

– the final segment, The Resting, was its weakest in my view. Neither scary nor interesting, it lost my attention and ended the story telling on a weak note. It felt like something we’ve all seen a thousand times before
– the wraparound story feels somewhat forced and cliched, and you’ll spot the twist almost immediately as it becomes relevant. I feel they should have either gone further with it, or not bothered with it at all (and I’m more than willing to expand on that if anybody wants the spoiler-filled version)

> I really wanted to take some screenshots from the stories themselves, but all of the best shots would have been spoilers. I erred on the side of caution
> this has no connection or relation to the 2020 horror/comedy film, ‘Scare Me‘, though I do also recommend that one, mostly because Aya Cash (The Boys‘ Stormfront) is a cutie patootie

Should you see this film: I’m a sucker for anthologies, especially of the horror variety and this was no exception. Three of the four stories were worth my time, and despite the final segment and the wraparound being the weakest parts, there was still enough here to warrant a single viewing.

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