Director – Andy Hurst
Cast – Alethea Kutscher, Erin Consalvi, Brad Ashten, Carlee Avers, Kariem Marbury, Soren Bowie, Eric Francis, Jennifer Cozza, Brent Fidler
Release Year – 2006
Reviewed by John of the Dead
I first heard of this blatant Saw ripoff from a friend of mine several years ago, and while she told me that she had heard good things about Are You Scared?, I knew she was wrong. Sure enough, after watching my queue grow and grow I decided to get this mess out of the way, and while I went in with low expectations I was still given an effort much lower than I had expected. Simply put, Are You Scared? is bad, really bad.
Six strangers wake up in an abandoned factory, and soon realize that they are contestants in a game they submitted to be a part of, a reality TV show titled Are You Scared?. After the contestants begin to die off in gruesome fashion, Kelly and those still alive band together to make it out of the game alive, but things only become worse when she learns of her ties to the demented killer running the show.
When I mentioned this film being a blatant ripoff of Saw, I was not exaggerating. From the get-go we are thrown into the poorly shot atmosphere “created”(pfft) by writer/director Andy Hurst, and while setting the film in a nowhere-to-run scenario is never a bad thing in my opinion, it was about the only positive element in this 79 minute(thank God) watch. The film opens immediately with the traps set forth by the killer, and unlike the Saw series each of the traps was either lame or unoriginal, and also came with poor execution. It is obvious that Are You Scared? is of the low-budget variety, but good direction is usually obvious even in such films, and I saw no good direction whatsoever in this one. We do get some decent gore thrown in here and there, but it never had any oomph! and was shown merely as eye candy of the most unsatisfying variety. I could go into how poor and pathetic the camerawork and acting performances were, but you should have already assumed so.
While Hurst’s direction was bad, his writing is the worst the film has to offer. His storyline is not only as uninteresting as can be, but comes with some of the worst and laziest dialogue imaginable, creating unlikable characters in this unlikable movie. To make matters worse, he fails at executing every aspect involved, including what should have been the highest selling point he had to offer…the “traps”. Several times during these scenes I was forced to endure what was an overly long sequence that given its uninteresting material should have been heavily toned up. I am all for keeping the tension high and drawing out scenes in order to do so ala Dario Argento, but when an uninteresting “trap” scene lasts a whole 5 minutes, you’ve got execution and pacing problems, but what else is new with this genre effort from Andy Hurst?
Overall, Are You Scared? is one of the worst movies I have ever seen. Not only is this a blatant Saw ripoff that has nothing original to offer, what it does have to offer is quickly soured by both pathetic writing and direction, making for a film that should only be viewed as required film school material on what NOT to do if you want to succeed in film.