Be Creative, Be EVIL! “Scare Me” reviewed! (Acorn Media / Blu-ray)

The down on luck Fred and a celebrated Fanny are both horror writers. Well, sort of. You see, Fred is an aspiring horror writer with unpretentious stories acted out by his creativity whereas Fanny is the hot, popular artist who just came out with an acclaimed novel everybody is talking about, even Fred. When their paths cross on a remote, snowy getaway during power outage, they consolidate to one cabin to stave off boredom by telling each other off the cuff scary stories, acting out every minor detail to flesh out the macabre tidbits in order for a good scare. As the night carries on and the stories become more involved, Fred’s night has been a rare highlight in recent days and now that day is on the brink of breaking, Fred has one more emotionally-driven scary story to tell the weary Fanny.

You wanna see something really scary? No, not the line from that wraparound story with Dan Aykroyd and Albert Brooks driving late a night in “The Twilight Zone: The Movie,” but rather really see a scary story come to life before your eyes with enthusiastic performances between two horror writers? Josh Ruben’s “Scare Me” does just that with the filmmakers’ 2020 horror-comedy hit. Ruben, whose latest comedy genre film, “Werewolves Within,” has been a critic success, writes and directs a petite cast packing a powerful punch pitched perfectly more so than this mouthful attempt at an awfully awkward alliteration. “Scare Me” is also produced by Ruben along with Alex Bach and Daniel Powell under a conglomerate of productions companies including Artists First (“Hell Baby”), Last Rodeo Studios (“Save Yourselves!), and Bach and Powell’s Irony Point with Shudder distributing.

Ruben not only writes, directs, and produces his film, he also co-stars as Fred. With this Andy Serkis like looks, motions, and vocal talents, Ruben is a master at amplifying impressions and slapstick from the beginning as Fred using his unrestraint, and probably unstable, imagination to try and write a bestselling horror novel to help him get out of a life funk. Then, their is Aya Cash, who I have personally adored since her villainous role on Prime Video’s “The Boys.” Much like that role’s personality of the super-sadist Storm Front, Cash just dons snarky assertive woman to perfection as she continues the trend by embodying bestselling new age novelist Fanny with such. Fanny downright emancipates…I mean, emasculates…Fred at every chance and at every step along the way despite her warming up to Fred’s kooky lackadaisical first impressions with a side dish of caution for those who yearn for story ideas. Ruben and Cash bounce incredibly well off each other to the point of credibility between the dynamic and the dynamic is far from being a romantic love interest but more so an unlikely best friend; a best friend who constantly proclaims white male privilege whenever the opportunity presents itself. The funnies also keep on coming, especially mixed into the dialogue details, that are sharpened by Ruben and Cash’s timing and delivery telling their individual stories and the reactions each have during them, but then blend into that batter of bust-a-gut with comedian and “Vampires vs. the Bronx” actor Chris Redd, consider your every funny bone in your body rigged for explosion with the trio’s insanely charismatic skits and a musical number about a Devil possessed pop star to die for. Bringing up the rear of the comedic cast is “Key and Peele” writer Rebecca Drysdale.

If you had told me that “Scare Me’s” premise was two writers telling each other scary stories during a power outage, the film would have been near the forgotten bottom of my must-watch list with the inane dancing of “Orgy of the Dead” and the prosaic “Paranormal Activity 4.” After watching the film, all I have to say is this, Mr. Ruben, please accept my heartfelt apology for manifesting one single brain cell of doubt as “Scare Me” is the five-star movie everybody needs to see. I am not worthy. The idea behind the movie is simple, yet novel, that never ceases to peak as Ruben’s film perpetuates a steady incline of sharp-witty dialogue, an involved and spot-on sound design to create the stories’ allusions, and a trope-less ending that fits “Scare Me’s” unique, unbridles nature without being a grandiose end-all finale. Without the punctuating special effects, Ruben definitely curved a workaround with smart dialogue, entertaining writing, and with a cast who couldn’t sell the idea any better. The work lies severely on the shoulders of Cash, Redd, and Ruben and without them, “Scare Me” would probably been acerbically be retitled as “Bore Me” under the breath of many frustrated genre fans. Also, just because there isn’t knock-your-socks-off special effects, that doesn’t mean there was zilch as Fred, Fanny, and Carol (Redd) enact each stories, a slither of their dread-addicted imaginations comes to fruition like window glimpses into their minds and, damn, they can really sell their fear-stroking dark fantasies by telling classic tale spinoffs that could parallel cult favorites, many that were namedropped throughout the 104 minute runtime. “Scare Me” is without a doubt pure love of the genre and a tinseling homage to the macabre.

Better late than never, they say, in viewing Josh Ruben’s bewitching “Scare Me” on UK Blu-ray distributed by Acorn Media International. The region 2, PAL encoded BD25 presents the film in 1080p on a streaming platform dictated 2:1 aspect ratio. Aside from the bookend snowy landscapes and exteriors, much of the setting is located inside the compact two story cabin in the woods in which cinematographer Brandon H. Banks breaks into his debut feature with getting the precise angles to reassure and reaffirm Fred and Fanny’s telling of scary stories. As far as visuals go, the digital recording compression seems to hold up on the BD25 while still flaunting a good amount of bonus material and an English language Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound. No issues here with the audio with phenomenally clarity in the diversity of sound bites and in dialogue even with Ruben and Cash’s modifying their voices for story characters. There isn’t a lot of actions to hone on and rein in the depth, but with this type of story inside, as aforementioned, a compact cabin, depth won’t make or break the audio report card. Special features include a director and cinematographer commentary, short interviews with the Ruben and Cash that run through their favorites things inside the horror genre, a behind the scenes photo gallery, a Make Cool Shit Podcast, outtakes, and “Feel the Music, Feel the Light” music video. I’m always up for a good tale of Fright and “Scare Me” slashes all the boxes with a traditional layout themed by envy and has a cast that illuminates each and every scene with funnies and fear.

Bill Murray’s Suggested Actresses for Female Ghostbuster Film.

Bill Murray will forever be an ultimate and timeless hero to everyone. If you don’t like Bill Murray, than you’re obviously an idiot because what is their not to like about a comedic icon who loves to crash weddings and end up being the face of all of American’s hipster community? So when news came out today that Bill Murray, at the Toronto International Film Festival, gave his his opinion on who should be cast in the new Ghostbuster film, I was rather disappointed in his taste.

Melissa McCarthy
Kristen Wiig
Linda Cardellini
Emma Stone

The list is…well…eh. Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, and Ernie Hudson were practically every day looking Joes and a couple of those guys weren’t really funny.

I, personally, would not suggest Melissa McCarthy. I could never in a million years image her with a proton pack strapped to her. Subtlety, in a comedy sense, was very much a part of the Ghostbuster persona and McCarthy has not one subtle bone in her body as she’s an “in-your-face” type comedy actress.

Kristen Wiig, I’m good with. I think she’s awkward enough like Murray to pull off the lead role for the film and still have a sexy side of her while busting some ghouls. Her comedy style could be comparable to Murray’s as she is not necessarily over the top with her performances and doesn’t try to steal the show but yet add to the material of the other cast members.

Linda Cardellini made a good Velma in the Scooby Doo movies. As a Ghostbuster, I don’t think she has what it takes as I picture Cardelline more of a Janine Melnitz type character, but since this is a Ghostbuster movie with all female cast, will Janine’s role be replaced by a nerdy, yet somewhat irresistibly cute, man? I shutter at the thought.

Emma Stone comes off a bit dry. Her role would resemble that of Ernie Hudson’s Winston – the character that just joins the ranks for a paycheck. To be one of the guys but stays in the background most of the time. Stone doesn’t have the on screen persona that the original trio (Murray, Aykroyd, and Ramis) possess and I would expect too many chefs in the kitchen amongst women star power.

So in all, Kristen Wiig was my only keeper, but who would I chose? Whom am I to fans? I’m certainly no Bill Murray, but I am a fan of film and of actresses and I think the following would be a great cast. Keep Kristen Wiig for the sole reasons I have above. Lets add in a blonde as in Amy Poehler with her subtleness and silliness works well. Mary Elizabeth Winstead would be my next choice because of her dark side that accompanies her – a good choice to be the Egon Spengler equivalent. Then either Mindy Kaling for her awkwardly funny quips or Rinko Kikuchi to be the stand out, kick ass Ghostbuster who seems standout like a sore thumb.

These are just my thoughts and I wouldn’t mind hearing yours!

Kristen Wiig

Kristen Wiig

Amy Poehler

Amy Poehler

Mary Elizabeth Winstead

Mary Elizabeth Winstead

Mindy Kaling

Mindy Kaling

Rinko Kikuchi

Rinko Kikuchi

Rumor Pit: “Ghostbuster” Reboot with Ghostbustettes?

Note:  The above image does not represent any depiction of the actual cast of a Ghostbuster reboot.  Just an image found on Google.

Note: The above image does not represent any depiction of the actual cast of a Ghostbuster reboot. Just an image found on Google.

Here’s a rumor from way out in left field. There seems to be talks between Sony and Paul Feig, the director of “Bridesmaids”, to reboot “Ghostbusters” and have an all female, comedic cast.

No word on whether Ivan Reitman or Dan Aykroyd is in involved in this … project … but there are sources that are saying the script is being totally rewritten.

I’m not totally cool with an all woman cast for “Ghostbusters.” Sure, I was down for one or two roles going to a great cast of new ghostbusting characters, but for all female cast I’m just not feeling it. I also have a sneaking suspicion that Melissa McCarthy will be one of the ghostbusting foursome on the sole basis that she was in “Bridesmaids” and was also in another Feig film “The Heat.” We will have to see where this rumor takes us, but as far as the original cast coming together (sans Harold Ramis – RIP), I see this reboot becoming more of a reality than a sequel.

Toe Tagged: Harold Ramis

egon

Comedy has lost one of the greats – a Ghostbuster – Harold Ramis (aka Egon Spengler). Ramis died yesterday due to an autoimmune disease. Ghostbusters I and II are staples in the horror comedy world and Egon Spengler is an iconic character we all loved even with his quirks. RIP Egon.

egon3

RIP Harold Ramis

Egon2