Cary Hill’s debut film Scream Park belongs to the outer rings of straight-to-DVD Hell, its cardinal sin? Being dull as dishwater and twice as disposable. True, the film comes from a band of amateurs funded via Kickstarter, but a lack of budget doesn’t quite account for the systemic issues with Hill’s low-key slasher. The film takes place at the soon-to-be-shut Fright Land, an old amusement park which has come on hard times. The owner, Mr Hyde (played by cult star, the original Pinhead, Doug Bradley) hires two maniacs to murder the last of the staff one night, hoping to cash-in on dark tourism.
The problem is that Scream Park doesn’t seem to care a huge amount about itself. Aside from a great location, there’s little to really impress. Poor shooting and lighting obscure the film to an irritating degree or do nothing to help tell the story, whilst a group of terrible actors do their best not to rush or mumble their boring dialogue. And those are things that can really work. Bad acting and crap dialogue go hand-in-hand, it’s a recipe for B-Movie gold (see Pieces, Street Trash, etc) or a form of torture even the most arduous horror fans will find tricky to endure. Unfortunately Scream Park hits the latter, proving a tough watch, not for the best reasons but the worst.
But then, that’s what happens when you tread the path often-trod. Hill doesn’t have the budget, or creativity to push the envelope with his gore, and his script doesn’t have the characters to permit involvement when a person is dispatched. The retro-fun vibe is lost through Hill’s refusal to go balls-to-the-wall, yet the film is too wooden to be taken seriously as anything scary. Too much money was spent on Bradley’s cameo perhaps, which seems about right since without it this film would be way worse off. Apart from one or two eerie moments and an awkward hanging, there’s little in this paint-by-numbers walkthrough to permit any kind of reaction.
Cheaply made, badly acted, and worse than any of these, totally dull, you can skip Scream Park.
Dir: Cary Hill
Stars: Wendy Wygant, Steve Rudzinski, Kevin Ogilvie, Doug Bradley