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Scarred

Directed by Jon Hoffman, Dave Rock

Written by Jon Hoffman, Dave Rock

Starring Julian Berlin, Jonny Mack, Charity Shea, Maxine Bahns

Produced by Jon Hoffman, Dave Rock

Rated R

87 minutes

**

MTI offers up a return to the bad old days of the 1980s slasher movie with “Scarred,” a movie that seems eerily familiar—because it is!

So what we have here is the story of an urban legend gone badly awry, as they tend to do in this sort of movie. Anyway, a woman is supposedly roaming the woods in search of a new face.

No, this isn’t Barbra Striesand we’re talking about here! Criminy, people! How dated a reference do you think I can use and still be able to look myself in the mirror every morning!?

But anyway—she’s searching the woods for a new face to replace the one she lost in a very loud, grotesque horror movie manner.

And naturally, this is the night the Hansen family decides to have itself a campout.

Bad timing, aisle three, bad timing on aisle three.

So as you probably saw coming before you even GOT to this point in the column, the camping family is going to slam headlong into the face-hunting slasher, with plenty of blood and screaming as the result.

Okay, okay. So it sounds like a yawnfest before you even pop the thing into your DVD player. But how does it watch?

First off, I do hold out just a little hope for “Scarred”—they went the whole movie without going the naked actress route.

And of course you have to applaud patriarch Frank’s bald-middle-aged-man’s glee at landing a hot young wife. It’s very well portrayed.

But sadly, it doesn’t take “Scarred” long to trot out the stale, tired horror movie clichés like, around eight minutes in, “Crazy Old Man Who Knows More Than Anyone Realizes.” I thought we got enough of these “Don’t go up to Camp Crystal Lake!” -style shenanigans back in the eighties.

Not to mention the thirteen minute thirty seconds sequence of “The Ghost Story Is More Real Than Anyone Realizes.” Oh, and “Let’s All Split Up! We Have A Better Chance That Way!” shows up just before the one hour mark.

I really shouldn’t, and neither should you, have expected more than standard slasher movie clichés from “Scarred,” which is at its roots a standard slasher movie.

It’s a fair movie—this is by turns the best and worst thing you could say about “Scarred”. What it does, it does well. But it doesn’t do anything particularly special or unique. It doesn’t advance on the conventions the genre produced way back in the eighties. In fact, without the advancements in makeup technology and the obvious differences in the video quality, I could swear that this was just some lost and forgotten movie produced back in the eighties for release now. It could well even be a digitally remastered title brought back from the depths of the Paramount vault.

Maybe possibly.

Which is the inherent problem with “Scarred.” Nothing new has been accomplished here—we’re watching a movie put on by two guys who apparently just loved “Friday the 13th” and made a movie almost exactly like that. Deformed killer, promiscuous kids, clueless adults, ghost stories more real than anyone cares to admit, scary old people acting as oracles—the whole enchilada.

The ending is classic slasher movie, including the appearance of one final cliché: “The Killer Is Dead! Dead! It’s Finally Over! Wait…Where…Where’d The Killer Go?” Plus the last couple minutes featuring some of the most truly grating psychobabble I’ve heard in a long time, and one final surprise that we probably all should have seen coming.

The special features include director’s commentary, deleted scenes, interactive menus, Spanish subtitles, and trailers for movies. I don’t know which—they weren’t on the promotional DVD I got.

All in all, yawn. This is a genre that should have been put out of all of our miseries long, long before now. And though “Scarred” isn’t particularly bad, especially if you’re into all those old slasher movies from the eighties and wondered what one of them would have looked like with new millenium technology on its side, then run right out and get a copy. The rest of us will be waiting for Something New and Different.

Steve Anderson is a film critic who collects action figures so he can dress them up as his favorite horror villains. He lives somewhere in the United States.


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