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The Scarehouse

Canada 2014
produced by
Mike Carriere, Gavin Michael Booth, Sarah Booth, Rhys Wyn Trenhaile, Jeremy Shell, Charles Robson (executive), Brendan Byrne (executive) for A Named Viking, Mimetic Entertainment
directed by Gavin Michael Booth
starring Sarah Booth, Kimberly-Sue Murray, Katherine Barrell, Dani Barker, Teagan Vincze, Emily Alatalo, Jennifer Miller, Ivana Stojanovic, Brad Everett, Jack Ettlinger, Alex Harrouch, Jonathan Dubsky, Sean Kaufmann, Julie Williams, Tanya Bevan, Scott Cavalheiro, Shaun Mazoka
story by Gavin Michael Booth, Sarah Booth, screenplay by Gavin Michael Booth, music by Adrian Ellis, special effects makeup by Carly Nicodemo, Taylor Vigneux, Jo Primeau, production design by Shawn Lippert

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Corey (Sarah Booth) and Elaina (Kimberly-Sue Murray) invite their former sorority sisters to a party at the scarehouse they have just set up on their own ... but it soon becomes clear that they are not exatly in a celebratory mood when they tie up their first guest, Emily (Dani Barker), a girl so obsessed with getting thinner that she made throwing up a daily routine - and then they tie her corset so tight it almost cuts her in two ...

They treat their next guests Shelby (Teagan Vincze), Katrina (Emily Alatalo) and Caitlin (Ivana Stojanovic) pretty much alike and lock Lisa (Jennifer Miller) up in the basement.

But why do they do all that?

Because when they were pledges, the sorority sisters sent them on a dare to drug a guy (Brad Everett) and put him into drag to make selfies with him to shame him all over the internet - it just didn't work that way, the drugs killed the guy, and Corey and Elaina were convicted and incarcerated for involuntary manslaughter (but released after two years on good behaviour) - and now they just want their revenge. But for the finale they have kept Jaqueline (Katherine Barrell), president of the sorority as well as a pious pastor's daughter and big time hippocrite, in solitary for five days to break her spirit and get a confession out of her - but she's not one to easily be broken, plus Lisa locked up in the basement is a tough as nails girl to break out and put up a fight rather than just run. But as we approach the showdown, it becomes increasingly murky who the baddies of the piece might be ...

 

Now The Scarehouse is definitely not for the faint-hearted - every now and again, the blood flows freely, and guts (or breast implants) come flying deliberately. Plus, this is a film that's really creative in its ways to depict violence and death. But despite its rather brutal and explicit approach, I'd be hard-pressed to label The Scarehouse torture porn - rather it has a fun factor to it that was pretty much a given in 80's horror but has gone amiss in today's mainstream productions by and large. Plus, while the film's deeply rooted in genre traditions, it does not at all follow a formula but reveals pieces of its backstory only by and by without presenting us with a ready-made heroine, and for a change, we are allowed to have sympathy with the villains - even if their methods are over the top. And add to that an atmospheric directorial effort, a (not only for a film of this ilk) really good cast, led by Sarah Booth as a really disturbing psycho bitch, and an actual scarehouse (the Scarehouse Windsor) adding great backdrops (= production value) to the proceedings, and you come up with one of the most entertaining indie horrors of the last few years.

Recommended!

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
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love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

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Tales to Chill
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
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Tales to Chill
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD