SCARE ME (2020) Reviews and overview: Blu-ray and DVD release on March 2nd

   

Scare Me is a 2020 American comedy horror feature film about two strangers that tell each other scary stories in a cabin in the woods. Later, they are joined by the pizza delivery guy who also joins in.

Written, directed by and co-starring Josh Ruben (Werewolves Within), the Artists First-Irony Point-Last Rodeo Studios production also stars Aya Cash, Chris Redd, Rebecca Drysdale and Lauren Sick.

Aya Cash and Josh Ruben in Scare Me

Plot:

Fred (Josh Ruben), a frustrated copywriter, checks into a Catskills winter cabin to start his first novel. While jogging in the nearby woods, he meets Fanny (Aya Cash), a successful and smug young horror author who fuels his insecurities. During a power outage, Fanny challenges Fred to tell a scary story.

As a storm sets in, they pass the time spinning spooky tales fueled by the tensions between them, and Fred is forced to confront his ultimate fear: Fanny is the better storyteller. The stakes are raised when they’re visited by a horror fan (Chris Redd) who delivers levity (and a pizza) to the proceedings…

Reviews [click links to read more]:

“The deeper themes and the twist on meta stories are what scream “craft” about this film, but it’s honestly just an absolute blast. I smiled the entire hour forty-four and it reminded me why I love scary movies. “Love letter to horror fans” is a tired cliché, but I call it like I see it. Scare Me is everything horror fandom is born of…” CGM Backlot

” …the film itself feels like a long-form improv game. This is mostly a good thing, as the film has an incredible energy to it, but when it is suddenly tasked with being a movie with a narrative, it stumbles a bit. Just a bit. Small complaint, really, as what Scare Me is trying to say is compelling and handled about as well as can be in this type of packaging…” Cinema Seventy-Six

” …fun, smart, and knows how to criticize and poke fun at the genre it’s a part of while also showing a true love for it as well. Josh Ruben has created a terrific little movie that is charming as heck, smartly written, and superbly acted by a game cast.” CRP Writes

One of my favorite parts of this movie was Aya Cash’s performance […] She really knows how to make the most out of every second of screen time, and I look forward to seeing her in more movies. My only complaint is Scare Me starts off pretty slow, and there’s not much horror going on outside of what’s in our imaginations as we listen to their stories.” Crypt Teaze

Scare Me is an absolute delight and a real gift for both horror fans as well as those of us who can’t get enough of hearing a “good story.” In a day and age where it feels like so much of our communication with the world at large happens through technology, Scare Me serves as a great reminder that nothing beats the age-old tradition of sharing a memorable yarn (or two) with others.” Daily Dead

Josh Ruben in movie film Scare Me by Josh Ruben

Scare Me has an interesting premise but the film doesn’t reach its full potential. The film is stretched way too long and the ending needed a re-write to achieve something special. It’s still fun thanks to the performances of both Cash and Ruben.” Explosion Network

” …the concept is obviously based on evoking childishness and the sense of appreciation for playing around and storytelling, but none of the jokes or silliness really land. It was almost sort of painful watching two pretentious quick-talking characters constantly judgmentally finish each other’s sentences for as long as the movie went on.” Film Snob Reviews

“If nothing else, it featured two people telling spooky stories by a fire on a dark night. Except it didn’t. Just that simple concept would have been preferable to this […] Misguided rather than absolutely inept and horrible, Scare Me just felt a lot more annoying and intolerable to me because Ruben never focused on the strengths available to him.” For It is Man’s Number

“This is not a scary movie per se, but one that explores the scary subjects of capabilities and talent. Entertaining? Absolutely. Long? Surely. The movie would have benefited from judicious cuts here and there to punch up the pacing but overall this is a movie that speaks to creatives and those that are compelled to create.” Horror Buzz

” …it is unclear whether Ruben is satirizing Fanny’s abrasively woke gender politics are endorsing them. That definitely means something is getting lost from page to screen, regardless of how you feel about the ideology in question. Of course, like any anthology, some stories are better than others and the overall concept runs out of gas before the final punchline kicks in.” J.B. Spins

“The playful sense of competition between these two grows into something a little more fierce as the script effortlessly weaves through contrasting tones. Scare Me is a lot of fun until it suddenly isn’t: eventually the simmering resentment boils, forcing a tense confrontation when hidden motives also surface. Ruben takes the story in an unexpectedly intense direction but somehow sticks the landing with a playful denouement.” Oh, the Horror!

” …while the movie tends to lean more playful with its interpretation of its title, he even creates a genuinely uncomfortable scene toward the end.  Scare Me is a tricky film like that, showing the creative possibilities of its meta, bare-bones approach to horror thrills, and sometimes feeling limited by it.” RogerEbert.com

“Ruben uses his limited budget in the cleverest of ways, leaving most of the terror up to the audience’s imagination. The film is lit by flickering candles and firelight, and the mood is set with menacing camera angles and a sparse soundtrack. It’s a fun concept and it’s well-directed, but there’s just not enough substance to make it suitable as a feature-length film.” Screen Zealots

“The film hits its high (pun intended) when pizza guy Carlo (SNL’s Chris Redd) joins the storytelling. It’s not quite enough to save a second act that simply goes on for too long. But a bloated midriff doesn’t spoil Scare Me entirely, a savvy piece of storytelling in itself.” UK Film Review

“The twist at the end is neat but doesn’t seem worth the wait. Ruben really needed to trim some of the slower moments out or make the characters less grating […] I found the basic idea and much of the execution of the stories enjoyable and impressive. But the botched attempt at support for #MeToo and dead spots in the narrative hurt.” Voices from the Balcony

“Even though Ruben’s script does good accounting and his finale cleverly integrates the themes of Scare Me, it still feels tonally mismatched with the jubilant heights of its leads’ jointly improvised tales. The exuberance of the authors’ storytelling just eclipses everything else. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though.” Warped Perspective

Choice dialogue:

Fanny [Aya Cash]: “I don’t talk about my projects. Some people still. Especially desperate white dudes like you.”

Fanny [Aya Cash]: “Silver Bullet is childish, campy garbage.”

Fanny [Aya Cash]: “This isn’t a movie dude. We don’t need to establish sh*t.”

Release:

Scare Me premiered at the 2020 Sundance film Festival and streamed on Shudder from October 1st 2020. RJLE Films released the film on Digital HD on December 15th 2020. Blu-ray and DVD discs will be available on March 2nd 2021.

Cast and characters:

Aya Cash … Fanny
Rebecca Drysdale … Bettina
Chris Redd … Carlo
Josh Ruben … Fred
Lauren Sick … Meredith / Bookstore Owner

Filming locations:

Bearsville, near Woodstock, New York

Technical details:

104 minutes

Notes:

Not to be confused with Scare Me (2020) directed by Conrad Glover and Mark Stephens.

Related:

WEREWOLVES WITHIN (2021) Movie video game adaptation release news

MOVIES and MANIA rating: