'Scar 3D' Review


There are precisely two reasons that a thorough horror fan would still be waiting around for the four-year-old Canadian indie flick Scar:

1. It was presented (and therefore "shot") in 3D -- and that's not something you often see in a low-budget Canadian horror movie.

2. It has Angela Bettis in the lead role, whom we know and love from Toolbox Murders, the Carrie remake, The "Sick Girl" episode of 'Masters of Horror', lots of TV work, and (of course) Lucky Mckee's May -- which I'd still maintain is one of the best horror films of the past ten years.

Were it not for those two points, Scar would barely rate above a disinterested blip on the radar of the average horror fan. And with good reason, because the flick is pretty laughably inept from stem to stern. From Jed Weintrob's "over-light, center, and shoot" style of amateur-hour direction to Zack Ford's consistently witless screenplay, Scar feels like something thrown together by folks who want to make a horror flick because those things often make money, and not because they had any interest in telling a scary story or presenting something (even slightly) unique.

The plot is actually two dreary sub-plots in one: anecdote A deals with Joan (Angela Bettis) as she returns to her hometown ... where of course there was a vicious tragedy several years ago. Seems our unhappy heroine once escaped from the clutches of a raving psychopath, which explains why she left in the first place. Her brother is a local policeman with a teenage daughter (a key plot point), and he is also played by Christopher Titus from that old Fox sitcom called Titus. (As a poor man's Michael Biehn, Titus could actually do some good work. Not in this film however.)

Semi-story B involves Joan's aforementioned niece (told you it was important!) as she parties with a bunch of friends who then (slowly, ploddingly) ends up sliced and/or diced. And seriously: you haven't seen a blander or more conventionally stupid collection of slasher flick body count fodder anywhere. The characters in Friday the 13th Part 5 are NASA engineers compared to the kids in Scar.

So just like a super-sized episode of Murder She Wrote (with just a little more gore and a lot more yawns), we have Joan battling her gory old mental demons as her niece's friends get slashed to ribbons. In a more compelling film you'd have questions like "Is Joan actually the killer?" and "Is the old killer maybe still alive?" and "Why the hell does this film keep flashing back to Joan's horrible ordeal when we've already been told how it turns out? That's just redundant and annoying!" (Sorry, that last part wasn't a question.) Frankly it shouldn't be this hard to juggle two subplots that would have been considered old-hat in Agatha Christie's early years, but Scar makes up for clunky storytelling with equally deficient technical work: everything is brightly lit, or too damn close to the camera; actors are wedged into the frame looking like they just woke up from a nap; the score is a ceaseless whine forever on the periphery of annoyance; and the editing somehow makes two very basic story lines a long, confusing trek.

And then finally the two stories meet up during a thoroughly predictable and torture-laden finale that's just plain obnoxious. If you make it that far.

If there's a silver lining to all this, it's that Angela Bettis has survived the mess of Scar and gone on to do much better work. Also I can finally scratch this Canadian curiosity of my "wanna see" list. I highly recommend you do the same.