I realized something while watching Scar. Yes, amongst all the off-screen deaths (and bloody aftermaths) and slipshod plotting, I came to the revelation that it's next to impossible for me to separate lead actress Angela Bettis from her work in 2002's May. It's as if that role alone is all I ever think about when I see her name. Granted, she did a good job in 2003's Toolbox Murders remake and isn't bad here considering she has to mostly stand around looking pained and concerned, but she'll never be anything else to me but the friendless May Dove Canaday.
Touted as one of the first American films to be shot using digital 3D, Scar spends most of its time being a standard modern day slasher movie (even including the predictable killer reveal twist most post-Scream flicks cater to) with a little bit of the torture porn of the Saw series thrown in for good measure. It does have a few okay splashes of bloodiness to keep our attention, the cast is generally decent, and it's competently made but it's just not that interesting.
Joan Burrows (Bettis) escapes from a literal house of horrors when she manages to flee from a funeral home where she and her best friend have fallen victim to a serial killer with an affinity for torture. Its sixteen years later and she's constantly reminded of it by her nightmares and the scar running along her chin. With hesitation she returns to town to stay with her sheriff brother Jeff (Christopher Titus) and his teenage daughter Olympia (Kirby Bliss Blanton) who is about to graduate from high school. Not long after arriving, a series of killings start anew. Could it be she really didn't kill the psychotic Bishop (Ben Cotton) all those years ago - or is someone copying his work to try and drive her crazy?
Scar writer Zack Ford tries to get the best of both worlds here. Splitting his focus between Joan and her past victimization - which is shown using flashbacks peppered through the movie that not only feel mean-spirited at times but gives the flick its Saw cloning angle by delivering some graphic torture scenes and the moral decisions that series used as a character motivation - and the town's teenage population starting to decline because of the new murders, Ford eventually loses focus and I found the balance between showing too much in the flashbacks to having almost all of the new deaths occur off-screen a little grating. There is a moment of really effective brutality in the finale but, when all is said and done, I almost wish they would've stuck with being either a teen slasher or a torture flick.
Bettis, like I said above, isn't bad going through the motions as our haunted victim and she's given acceptable support from her co-stars. Titus, a stand-up comedian who starred in a sitcom about his life for three seasons from 2000-2002, takes on a rare serious role and does a good job playing the straight man. Blanton (The Green Inferno) is our cute teenage lead playing the "girl next door" type who is forced to do something really nasty later in the flick. Devon Graye is likeable as the awkward nerd Paul, who has a crush on Olympia, while I have to commend Kristin Kowalski for giving us a lengthy topless scene any flick purporting to be a slasher movie is required to have. If anyone is weak here, it's busy character actor Cotton who tries his best to be menacing as the nutty Bishop but seems to be over-emoting a bit too much.
There are some scattered moments in Scar that worked for me but, for the most part, indifference towards it won out. I did attempt to watch my blu-ray in the 3D mode (with the shitty red and blue cardboard glasses they've included) but it looked awful - not that I really noticed anything that stood out as being "Oh, yeah, that'd be in 3D for sure" when watching it in normal 2D. It's definitely nothing I can really recommend, or something I won't forget about in a few months, but I did get a lot of amusement from the handful of news articles I stumbled upon online when researching that proclaim audience members passed out and vomited during a screening. Such a bullshit PR spin but pretty funny none-the-less. (Chris Hartley, 12/11/14)
Directed By: Jed Weintrob.
Written By: Zack Ford.
Starring: Angela Bettis, Kirby Bliss Blanton, Ben Cotton, Devon Graye.