WHEN THE SCREAMING STARTS (2021) Reviews of comedy horror – with 2 clips!

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‘Starting a family can be murder’
When the Screaming Starts is a 2021 British comedy horror film about a journalist who agrees to make a documentary about an aspiring serial killer.

Directed by Conor Boru from a screenplay co-written with Ed Hartland. Co-produced by Conor Boru, Ed Hartland, Dom Lenoir, Jared Rogers and Lucinda Rhodes Thakrar.

The movie stars Ed Hartland, Jared Rogers, Kaitlin Reynell, Octavia Gilmore, Kavé Niku, Ronja Haugholt, Vår Haugholt and Yasen Atour.

When Norman Graysmith is invited into the home of an aspiring serial killer, Aidan Mendle, he believes he has found the subject for the documentary that will transform his failing career. Initially, the production goes well with Aidan freely opening up about his desire to kill, but when his early attempt at committing murder falls apart, things begin to unravel.


Aidan desperately tries to maintain his position as the next Charles Manson by starting a murder cult, interviewing prospective members for what he affectionately calls his ‘family’. The potential candidates provide a rich tapestry of misfits, from the lost and confused to the (most likely) psychopathic. Events begin to spiral out of control and Norman watches his dreams crumbling around him…

” …the first slaughter, when it arrives, is somewhat jarring and authentically nasty; sadly from here on in the movie loses its focus, as if, having set up its shtick, Boru doesn’t really know what to do with it. There are some interestingly satirical observations on power and leadership, and a fine turn from Gilmore as the mean as a snake Amy, but interest quickly faded for me after a promising start.” Bloody Flicks

“The first half of When the Screaming Starts is non-stop, wicked funny and had me obnoxiously cackling during my viewing. The latter half finds the laughs coming fewer and further apart as it begins to wrap up loose ends and give us a surprising turn of events that is better left unspoiled.” Dread Central

“Buro plays loose with the mockumentary format, as per every other sitcom after the American version of The Office. But, visually this hits high, shifting from a lighter, comedic look into shadow as the mayhem begins. A confident calling card for all involved, it even pulls off a cheeky “homage” to the Knives Out in its poster design. Highly recommended.” Electric Shadows

“A horror comedy with the accent very much on the horror, this takes the form of a mockumentary following the attempts of a wannabe serial killer who wants to form his own Charles Manson-style family. The balance between comedy and horror is perfect, with some quite horrible murders in-between bits of properly dark humour.” House of Mortal Cinema

” …as with many mock-docs, the biggest monster in the film is the guy trying to get a career boost from tagging along with this mix of foul-up fantasists and genuine psychos […] Rogers manages supreme smarm as the exploitative filmmaker, while Hartland plays a bumbling, clueless loser who can’t even make it as a demented outsider…” The Kim Newman Website

“All of the members of the family look like innocent men (or women), but the killer inside soon unleashes murder, mayhem, and madness as the victims realize they know the devil next door. Not everyone will appreciate the dark humor approach to serial killer fandom, but at least in this story, the victim gets the last word.” Nightmarish Conjurings

“It becomes a tad muddled in the third act, straying too far into the dark side rather than the What We Do In the Shadows-style lightness. However, like other pending Brit chiller comedy The Parapod, for the most part this is a lot of ‘fun’, even if the subject matter leaves a very uneasy feeling.” On: Yorkshire

“The script by Boru and Ed Hartland is razor-sharp in its observation of the format and the deluded characters that are sometimes the focus of such documentaries […] With too many highlights to pinpoint, it’s a joyous film that you’ll want to re-watch almost immediately in case you miss any little gag (and it’s likely that you will).” Starburst

Release date:
When the Screaming Starts had its world premiere at 2021 Arrow Video FrightFest on 28th August. In the US, the movie will be available for streaming on Screambox on September 20, 2022.

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