I’ve watched so many haunted attraction horror flicks in the past year that they are becoming a big blur. They usually have one thing in common: endless scenes of kids traveling through the haunted attraction, providing ineffective, cheap scares.
That’s where Scream Park differs. The location is an entire amusement park and there’s only a brief montage of kids being spooked in the haunted attraction at the beginning. The film is actually about the party the employees have after the park closes.
This time there are two masked killers in cool masks and the initial spotting of them is creepy, but it’s still a run-of-the-mill slasher. The plot (and cast) does a lot of meandering until eventually one of the killers removes his bird mask…to reveal that he’s Nivek Ogre of Skinny Puppy. His maniacal performance brings a rather cartoonish feel to the scenario, killing any sense of horror.
But we’re still left wondering—what does his buddy under the burlap sack mask look like?
Slasher clichés abound, including killer POV, mysterious figures appearing in the background, huge boobs, and a pretty likeable final girl who is often lost in a sea of characters and side situations. While the film lacks fluidity, there are loads of good jump scares that got me every time, so that counts for something. But let’s face it. Growing up watching slashers and simply throwing together a checklist of slasher conventions while pointing a camera doesn’t automatically make a great horror film.
There’s not much ingenuity in the visual presentation of the scenes in Scream Park, but there are a few standout moments. A common deep fryer kill is made a little more disturbing because as the killer is making a chick’s face into Zeppole, he’s gyrating sexually into her bent over body. An extremely bland stabbing of a goth chick gets a very cool visual exclamation point when she falls into a pool of shallow water (one of my favorite scenes in the film).
And a standard killing of a guy strapped into a rollercoaster provides one of the goriest moments in the film when his guts are splattered around during a free ride on the coaster. For good measure, a scalping ups the gore score.
There’s also a pretty good suspense scene when the poor security guard makes his rounds. Not surprisingly, before his death, he is watching the public domain horror favorite Night of the Living Dead; it’s the go-to movie from which to show clips on a television set in low-budget flicks.
Another nice touch is that the cell phone dilemma is not addressed at all. They’re just basically non-existent in the film (the way all horror flicks should be).
The manager of the amusement park is Steve Rudzinski, who shined in his own low-budget slasher flick Everyone Must Die! (which I blogged about here). Steve is so charismatic on screen, but he doesn’t get much of the spotlight here. In fact, he shares it with several cast members from Everyone Must Die!
And finally, as with all these low-budget horror flicks looking for a draw, there’s an iconic name attached. This time, the cameo that probably cost the film most of its budget goes to Doug Bradley of Pinhead fame.
He appears briefly to reveal the truth about what’s happening at the park and why the killers are on the loose. Nothing mind-blowing here and another plot point that negates the menace of the killers.
Scream Park is a low-budget indie slasher with a few notable moments if you pay attention. Director Cary Hill could potentially make a really strong entry in the genre in the future if he creates a personal style rather than sticking solely with today’s throwback trend. This one won’t become a slasher fan favorite, but if it comes on cable when there’s nothing else to watch, chances are you’re going to check it out. Because that’s just what we slasher whores do.