The movie centers on Anna’s journey into the dark world of independent filmmaking, to a level beneath the low-budgeted horror genre that many fans find themselves viewing on a common daily frequency. The film’s scant running time definitely shows through the production of this tale, from director The Aquinas, a good thought about a horror concept, and decent cover art yet lacks on the storytelling by a vast margin, yet there’s actress Melanie Denholme (One Hour to Die ) who portrays, Anna, enters to save most of the film. As the genre constantly finds itself changing, advancing in new directions and in some rare instance heading in a retro angle, many lately though tends to fall for found footage films, others take an experimental off-ramp that leads to a murky area, and this film dead-ends in thick ooze. The film struggles to identify its genre with clarity, not exploitative with style of I Spit on Your Grave , seems to lean to an art-house fetish angle.
The movie contains a thin script, displaying Melanie, for approximately 98% of screen time, as she acts out various scenarios, from a non-speaking odd psychotic director, and has her perform many uncomfortable and exploitative scenes. The film sets itself as a casting situation, which oddly enough conducted in a hotel room, for the most, except for some other curious locations such as a car and even a wooded area. As a struggling actress Melanie, submits to each act with gusto, and never sidesteps a request, fulfilling each one with dedication to the craft; however, we the audience find ourselves lost quickly, as the casting demo video, doesn’t track any length of time for this session and some of the scenes brutality lack believability. One wonders if the perhaps the lack of the director’s voice or face on the screen actually means the film true intention is for a snuff film for constant looping effects. This film does not contain any gore, or blood shedding scenes, and while some may think of similar storylines, such as Nick Palumbo’s Murder Set Pieces , this film does not hold a comparison to that superior film. The suspension of disbelief a requirement for watching most entertainment, especially in the horror genre, yet it stretches itself herein with three situations Denholme places herself into, a rape scene in a hotel room, abused in the woods, and lastly undressing while driving (impressive ability). The talents to hold an audience attention with truly only one person on the screen is virtually impossible, even the most talent Oscar winning actors do not take to that extreme. The scenes fall into a dangerous monotonous pattern, that would never succeed on a big screen yet struggles on the small screen too. Nevertheless Melanie, carries the film, as the young actress hungry to work, and one that won’t upset a director or casting agent, someone very compliant.
Another issue, comes with the film’s title, exactly the usage of the term of ‘scream queen’ first at no time does Melanie ever truly scream, most times for a horror film a scream has a requirement to occur, not in this flick. The care free attitude of slinging the phrase ‘scream queen’ does not grant one the usage just because they possess beauty and willingness to undress on camera, rather the term dates back to before the 1950s in the genre, and made the splash in the 1980s and continues onto today’s genre. The b-movies starlet’s such as the legendary Linnea Quigley (The Return of the Living Dead ) and now with talented Debbie Rochon (Return to Nuke ‘Em High Volume 1 ) and Tiffany Shepis (Pickaxe ) hold this ranking, with the notable Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween ) past in the horror genre, many actresses have taken a step into this lineup, but few have the staying power and rewarded with fan’s dedication and loyalty.
The story’s intention, from Chemical Burn Entertainment, focused on the dangers of an aspiring actress to venture unaware of the dangers in the marketplace, where many ladies find themselves treated as a piece of meat, used, abused, and tossed aside to rot. Many naïve actors and actresses can state and confirm to ridiculous ads for casting from many unreliable companies, yet many honestly do not know any better or have any indication of how the market works, especially without any guidance. Denholme shows her talent multiple times with her styles and positions providing genuine emotions and believability to each more outrageous request that merely listed on a piece of paper.
As an extra on the DVD, Melanie gives a lesson on the topic of vividly expressing sexual and horrendous rape scenes, a quirky tack-on instructional video for actors and even directors, especially first-timers that have scenes similar to that and unsure how to direct them. While good intentions exist in the film, to portray a seedy side of casting, cannot help this film survive on that basis, Melanie Denholme has the talents to rise in the horror genre, and maybe beyond the clutches of stereotyping. The conclusion of the film leaves much lacking, leaving the audience with questions and hungering for a more elaborate finalizing.
This review was originally published in May 2014 on the now non-existent Rogue Cinema website.
IMDb Rating: 3.5/10
Baron’s Rating: 3.0/10