Scream Park (DVD)

It’s a total scream.

After Scream popularly poked fun at the horror genre in a big way, the following ten years or more were spent thoroughly deconstructing the slasher film. These days, it seems, everybody’s said everything that can be said on the subject. Therefore, is now not the right time for a reconstruction of this oft-maligned yet oft-discussed subgenre? I believe it is, but, I don’t believe the retro Scream Park is the film to do it.

At Fright Park, a rundown amusement park, ticket sales are way, way down and the place is on the verge of closing. The horny teenagers who work there decide to have one last party after closing one night, before the park shuts its doors for good. To discourage drinking and driving, the boss confiscates everyone’s car keys for the night, effectively trapping them on the park property. That’s when two masked killers show up, killing off the good-looking young people one by one.

Scream Park is less a horror film and more of a pure nostalgia experience. Absolutely everything about it is meant to evoke the low-rent slasher flicks of yesteryear, most notably the Friday the 13th series. This is evident right from the start, with the plain white-on-black opening credits set to overly dramatic scary music. These simplistic credits will fly over the heads of casual viewers, but diehard horror buffs will think, “Hey, this is just like [INSERT NAME OF OLD SLASHER MOVIE HERE].” It continues from there, with a slow, possibly languid, pace, as we hang out with the characters and are introduced to what little subplots they have. It’s not until about halfway through until the bad guys make their presence known in a big way.

The big news is that the movie features supporting roles from Doug Bradley (Pinhead from the Hellraiser franchise), and rocker-turned-actor Ogre, credited here as Nivek Ogre (Repo! The Genetic Opera). Ogre is in full-on “look how crazy I am” mode, with every one of his scenes being a huge freak-out. Bradley’s role is a cameo, but he brings some nice professionalism to his one scene. The rest of the cast might be pelvis-shakingly good-looking, but their performances are flat and dull, not helped by how the characters they’re playing are pretty much interchangeable.

With the film intentionally being a throwback, you could argue that the flatness of the performances is on purpose, to evoke the slashers of the past. Unfortunately, this movie goes far beyond merely evoking the past. Instead, the only thing Scream Park does is merely repeat what others have done, never once establishing a voice of its own.

The visuals on this DVD are often soft, thanks to the low-budget video. The stereo sound is flat and lifeless as well. For extras, there’s a commentary track, blooper reel, and trailers.

The Verdict

Sorry, but this ride is closed for repairs. Guilty.

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