Are You Scared 2
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Are You Scared 2

In the world of independent horror films the big score comes with making to a sequel, then a trilogy and finally to a franchise. One this is achieved you are almost certain have having a legion of faithful fans that will anxiously await the next installment. At this point a lot of the demand for the movie is something that has been known to advertising men for ages; name recognition. On occasion the studios will try to cash in on this by using a title for a film that has really nothing really to do with the original flick. Most commonly this is happens in the action and horror genres. The only thing that associates one film to the previous one is a loose similarity of the themes. While this may seem like an unfair marketing ploy, and in many ways it is, the practice is understandable. A film that may not otherwise be distributed can ride the coat tails of another movie at least to a direct to DVD release. An example of this technique is present with ĎAre You Scared 2í. In 2006 there was ĎAre You Scaredí about a group of six young people unwittingly trapped in a deadly televised game. That basic plot is what is going on here but none of the cast and crew from that flick is present in the credits of this one. Admittedly it is a valid premise and one that can generate some interest in the die hard horror flick aficionado. It does have the potential for most of the required elements necessary for a scary movie. Actually, after watching both flicks there is something else they have in common. Neither one is able to reach its potential. The second film, under consideration here, is a routine, by the numbers horror flick. Hopefully the cast and crew will grow from this effort and be able to grow in their respective professions. It was obviously made on a shoestring budget with little time afforded to shooting. It does appear that and increasing number of new film makers is trying their hand with horror. What most do not understand is there is far more to this genre than just blood and scantily dressed young ladies. You need to engage the audience allowing them to care about the protagonists as they meet their deadly and typically painful demise. This example had a limited release in the States and a couple of countries in Europe before hitting the DVD shelves. This is currently a valid way of getting you movie out to the public and is a great thing when you are looking for new directors and actors. The distribution is being handled by Lionís Gate and to their credit they are willing to give marginal flicks like this a chance. Look at it this way; unless a film is released there is no means to provide feedback to the film makers so they can expand their talents. I felt this was an honest attempt and I respect that even if the film ultimately doesnít mesh properly.

Handling both the scripting and direction is Andy Hurst. He has been turning out screenplays for about a decade now mostly in the horror, action and drama genres. He did have a family animation that somehow crept in there. For this story Hurst takes the fundamental premise from the original flick; unsuspecting people pushed into a game show where you just donít get voted off you get killed. This has been a theme that has been rolling around the Indy horror movie community for a few years and when you give it a couple of minutes of thought it is timely. The networks are flooded with so called reality series and this genre competition has forced the producers to going further than ever. In many cases there is no pretense to good taste being a part of the show. Typically the DVD releases of these horrible shows throw away the modicum of restraint that was used in the broadcast versions. It doesnít take much of a stretch of the imagination to consider some twisted mind wanting to produce a series that kills the contestants. It would certainly be an underground hit on the internet. Historically this has been done before. When things were getting bad in the Roman Empire they relied on the gladiator games to pacify the population. There is nothing like watching people get killed to take the populationís mind off their own troubles, I suppose. You can pretty much guess what is going to happen at most junctures of the flick. There is a glimmer of hope in the film but it is buried underneath the routine presentation.

In his directorial capacity Hurst appears to make an attempt to keep the movie visually interesting. He uses camera angles and lighting fairly effectively to set the somber mood. There just wasnít enough in the story for him to pull out any nuances in the presentation. The rest of the direction was more in line with a new director still on the learning curve. Since Hurst is more used to animation in this regard he still is new to the field. The feeling that comes across is he is trying too hard when a straightforward documentary style would have been better in this case. The main there here is Hurst has fallen into the current state of horror today. The focus is fat too visceral; looking for the cheap shock. There is little concentration on the psychological elements of the genre. Instead this film is a faint echo of the ĎSawí franchise which itself has plunged the once proud genre of horror to its nadir with the invention of torture oriented flicks. I sincerely hope that Hurst moves away from the trend and breaks out in a more old school fashion.

The movie opens with a scene of a manís hands splicing film. He really ought to consider going digital since he is using a box cutter and his fingers are dripping with blood. There is a buxom young woman in a red bra straining to fee herself from her restraints. It is sonly a few seconds into the movie and already you know what is in store; blood drips, flesh is cut and breasts heave. When the actual story comes in there are four young people who are friends; Steven (Adam Busch), Dallas (Tristan Wright), Reese (Kathy Gardiner) and Taryn (Andrea Monier). They are engaged in an online game where participants are sent off to finds a treasure through provided clues. The location of each of the clues is given by a GPS reading. Like most movie kids these have ultra modern technology. They just canít phone each other they have to use a video conference setup. The four form Team DNA and they post their exploits as webisodes online. After another large breasted young woman is killed the audience goes back to the team as they are led by the GPS clues to a remote and deserted building. Apparently none of them have ever seen a horror flick and they go in only to be trapped by a demented controller (Tony Todd).

This is one of a long line of horror flicks that pour out tons of fake blood, a good deal of special effects bodies and barely dressed young ladies. The premise held some hope of an indictment of the over indulgence of our youth with technology and the societyís demand for shock value but this never gets a chance to take off.

Posted 01/05/09

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