Scar 3D (2007)

SEPTEMBER 10, 2011


The most interesting thing about Scar 3D is that it actually has no reason to exist anymore. The only thing anyone put any thought into back when it was produced in 2007 was that it would be the first mainstream full length 3D horror movie in ages (this was a couple years before My Bloody Valentine opened the floodgates for 3D horror again). But the movie was so bad that it never got that release* (I specifically remember missing a test screening, in fact), and sat on the shelf for years until, somewhat ironically, it was dumped to DVD last year to cash in on the now hot 3D market.

And of course, it's not the true 3D type of discs you see now, so even if you had a 3D TV and the good glasses, you'd still have to dig up a pair of those cheap ass red and blue ones to take advantage of the 3D presentation on the disc. To be fair, as far as these presentations go, it's actually not too bad - only the obnoxious red dominance inherent in all of these things causes problems. The actual 3D effect is pretty good, at least, for the 5-7 minutes I was able to deal with it before switching it to the 2D version because the over-redness was giving me a headache.

Because, in another irony, this would be one of the better presentations for a theatrical 3D exhibition, because the movie is overly lit and frequently set during the daytime, so the "dimming" that occurs with current 3D glasses (the ones that just look like oversized sunglasses) would cancel out the harsh lighting that occurs over roughly 70% of the film, and thus you'd get a good 3D effect AND it wouldn't be too dark like most other 3D films (particularly the post-converts like Conan; a movie set almost exclusively in murky interiors).

Now let's see if I can talk as much about the actual movie.

If I had to guess, I would assume the script was slapped together quickly in order to take advantage of the availability of the 3D technology (or just to make sure they were "first"), because even for a low budget slasher it is painfully generic, lacking a single thing that one could point to as the inspiration for building an entire movie around it. The killer doesn't have any sort of costume, the locales are just typical suburban houses (i.e. it's not like someone said "Hey, we've never seen a slasher movie at a football game!" and went from there), and the characters are dreadfully dull. I guess the hook was that there was a possibility that our heroine, Joan (Angela Bettis) could be the killer herself, but I never considered that for a second, and in fact pegged the killer early on before he/she had even done anything out of the ordinary.

It's also padded beyond belief with flashback scenes in which a young Joan (the best thing I can say about the movie - they did a good job finding a girl that could conceivably grow up to be Bettis) and a friend are attacked by the local serial killer, who runs the morgue. Obviously she survives, and there's no big reveal of any sort at the end of these flashbacks, so I fail to see their point - it's structured like an episode of Lost, but there we learn something big about our character at the end. Here it just reaches its logical conclusion. Maybe if she WAS the actual killer and all of this built toward a reveal that she was working with the morgue guy to kill her friend, it would make sense, but as it stands its just pointless padding.

On the other hand, every minute we spend here is time we DON'T spend with our present day group of teens, all of whom are the usual modern slasher group of hateful annoyances that I wanted to die. Their scenes almost seem like they were written as parodies of these movies, but played straight by the uniformly terrible teen actors, and then the director further infuriates us by killing most of them off-screen. And this is what really baffles me - why would you see a 3D slasher movie where nothing of note occurs on-screen until the climax? I will give it some credit for a lack of "Comin at ya!" shots that would just be grating in 2D, but you have to deliver on the kills or else it's not worth the headache (literal AND figurative, in this case).

And back to the idea that Bettis might be the killer - another reason this couldn't work (besides her diminutive height - in one of the few shots of the killer we see, we can easily tell he's not 5'3 as she is) is that they don't give us a genuine protagonist. I guess we're supposed to think that her niece would become our Laurie Strode if it was Bettis, but she basically disappears from the 2nd half of the movie and spends most of her scenes just arguing with her dad about whether or not she can go to a party or drive fast or whatever. It's funny, I didn't love Scream 4 by any means, but something did occur to me as this film hit its 3rd act - like Bettis here, Neve Campbell had come back to town, still scarred by a tragedy that happened years before, and then suddenly the murders start up again, with the killer seemingly targeting her niece and friends. I won't spoil either film's conclusion, but for all its other problems, Scream 4 handled this sort of dual protagonist setup far more successfully.

It's also an ugly film. I already mentioned the harsh over-lighting, but whatever camera/post process they used just made the film look sort of like a reality show (think Cops) or a soap opera. And director Jed Weintrob was apparently too busy fiddling with the 3D settings (or maybe signing copies of the CD-ROM Pumpkinhead game he directed in 1995) to bother setting up any sort of decent stalk or chase scene. My cat could have figured out how to milk the morgue setting for a few spook moments in the climax, but Weintrob didn't bother, settling for staging the entire thing in one room while the killer just rambles on and on. The killer's demise is effectively splatter-y, but otherwise his direction matches the movie's script perfectly - lifeless.

Thankfully, there are no bonus features.

What say you?

*In the States at least; it went theatrical in a few other countries. Apparently it did very well in Russia. Поздравляю!


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