The horror genre has really changed in my thirty years of viewership. The current trend seems to be possession films, but I’ll be honest, the ‘80s slashers were always my favorite. I’m really digging the current revival we are getting, and the throwback films are a lot of fun. Scream Park is the latest film to fall into that category.
Fright Land is an amusement park run by Mr. Hyde (played by Hellraiser himself, Doug Bradley). It’s not turning much of a profit these days, and the young teens that work there couldn’t care less. When told that the park will be closing down, the kids decide to have a little party. Too bad for them a couple of guys in masks decide it’s the perfect time to go on a killing spree.
Scream Park seems like a great idea: a killer wearing a burlap sack on his head, offing horny teens in an amusement park. What could go wrong? Well, the acting is rough all around at times. The two “heroes” offer a little bit of talent, but a lot of the time they just look puzzled, as if they have no idea how to go about making a scene work. Thankfully, most of the cast gets little screen time and die without making a sound. Seriously, these girls are being chased, cornered, dragged and dry humped, and they never utter a sound. If you’re excited that Doug Bradley is in this, don’t be. It’s a five-minute cameo that opens the third act of the film. This was a big let down for me.
There’s one scene that really bothered me and I am unsure if it’s intentional or not. I know from listening to the commentary track that they were going for a Deliverance vibe with the killers, but there’s a scene where someone is having their face pushed into a vat of grease – an ‘80s death staple – but the killer is totally bumping and grinding on her while she struggles. It just looks hysterically cheesy, and I’m honestly not sure if the director meant for him to do that, or if they even noticed, because a few details were clearly missed during editing.
One thing I did like is that Scream Park uses practical effects instead of CGI. I didn’t see anything in the credits on who did the make-up, but there is a scene where a character gets her neck sliced on camera. Awesome, except you can see the cut line before the killer even makes the full incision. I don’t think I have ever noticed such a thing before in a film. There are also a few instances where you can see the markers for the actors on the ground.
The film offers a nice, creepy musical score, but often times it overpowers any other sounds in the film, including gunshots and shouts. The sound mixing is rather bad, and really detracts from the overall experience.
Scream Park could have, and should have, been a better movie. It’s clear that this is Cary Hill’s first film, but despite a few weird cuts, the film is nicely put together. It’s the subpar acting, poor sound mixing, and the terrible idea to ruin the twist on the dvd’s cover that really bring it down a notch. However, by the standards of direct-to-video horror, this is a fairly decent effort, and we do get to see a nice pair of breasts!
The audio is unbalanced all around, with the music overpowering everything. I also noticed during the “Bloopers” segment of the special features that I couldn’t hear the actors at all.
The film is presented in 16:9 widescreen. It looked nice and clear on my TV with no noticeable issues.
First up is a seven-minute blooper reel, which is really just the actors goofing off on set. At times it was impossible to hear them, so whatever the gag was is completely wasted.
There is also an audio commentary with director Cary Hill that I was excited to listen to. I was hoping for an explanation on why certain things ended up they way they did. Instead, he provides information that I clearly didn’t pick up on at all. Red herrings? The twist is supposed to be a surprise? No mention of the poor effects that could have been fixed but, hey, he does explain why there’s a scene where everyone is scared and running for no reason. This track isn’t really worth the listen, and it gets rid of the film’s audio completely, so there’s a fair amount of dead air.
This DVD was released by Wild Eye Releasing on April 22, 2014. Scream Park (2012) was written and directed by Cary Hill. The film is 85 minutes in length, and is not rated. Cinefessions was provided a DVD copy of the film for review from Wild Eye Releasing.
Chris was raised on horror films, which gave him a deep love for the genre, especially its most quirky and offbeat titles (like A Nightmare on Elm Street 2). This love quickly turned into an obsession for cinema in 1997, when he decided he needed to see every major theatrical release. Video games (JRPGs), reading (anything but fantasy), and reality television (Survivor) are just some of his other passions. He’s been with Cinefessions since 2013, and has been writing reviews all over the internet for the past twelve years.