Are You ScaredMainline Releasing
2003
R

Six teenagers awaken in an abandoned factory with no memory of how they got their. A mysterious voice informs them that they’ve all been chosen to star in a reality series called Are You Scared?. To win money, all they have to do is face down their greatest fears. Like Pavlov’s dog, they all salivate at the idea, throwing all logic surrounding the situation out the window. But when they all start dying, the kids start to realize that this isn’t a game…

…and the audience realizes that this really isn’t a movie; rather, Are You Scared? is more of a backhanded slap in the face of said audience. The joke, of course, being that we actually rented this craptacular exercise in the grand tradition of “Imitation is the sincerest form of plagiarism.”

Look, I’ve seen my fair share of badly executed rip-off horror movies that stretch my ability to suspend my disbelief and just enjoy the movie for what it is, blatant rip-off or not. And there is a big (with a capital BIG) difference between a movie that cribbed the general idea from another movie to make it their own little entity (like what the first Friday The 13th did from the original Halloween), and a blatant rip-off of another movie.

Obviously, Are You Scared? is a very blatant rip-off of Saw. And Saw 2. Right down to the voice of the unnamed puppet master (sorry) guy sounding exactly like Jigsaw’s disguised voice. And whatever you think about the Saw franchise (oh, yes…there will be more…muWA-HA-HA-HA-HA!), at least the villain had a pretty good motivation to what he does, and why he chooses his victims. Here, especially when you get to the “big twist ending”, you realize that there was just no reason whatsoever for this villain to do what he did to get to a certain character in “the game”. The players of this game don’t really help things along, as you sit there and watch them wake up in a mysterious place thinking “somethin’ ain’t right”, to “whee, we’re gonna win MONEY!” The token black guy actually starts dancing, after about five or ten minutes of gangsta posing (which is odd, considering he had a bomb roughly the size of a hockey puck inserted in his right lower abdomen while he was out cold…oops, did I give out too much? Good…now you don’t have to watch this). And what Saw rip-off wouldn’t be complete without the two detectives, hot on the trail of the killer, one on the outs with his department for being the “detective who cries wolf” (which doesn’t gel, because at the beginning the police find one of the victims- the model wannabe shown at the beginning kill, to be precise…if they didn’t find a body and evidence that the killer was there, then maybe the boys in blue would have a reason to refer to him as the “detective that cried wolf”…but I digress), and the female psychological profiler who’s general purpose in this movie is to repeat the phrases “the game’s started again,” and “a merciful death is better than a life of pain,” all to lend some kind of reasoning to this killer’s modus operandi. Which, when you get to the ending, you realize that it was all a buttload of crap.

Effects wise, this is a gore hound’s nocturnal emission. Strictly low-budget classic splatter, on a visceral level. There is one badly-done ‘splosion (the token black dude) that, I swear, all it needed was that shock wave ring that was used in the Special Edition of Star Wars when the Death Star blew up. Really, had this been one of those “gore and splatter for gore and splatter’s sake” type movies, without any kind of attempt at a plot or rationale, this could have worked.

So, here’s the thing. As horror movies go, low-budget straight-to-video carbon copies of more successful movies are to be expected. What separates Are You Scared? from the first two Saw movies is the fact that they were both distributed by the same company. You read that right. Lions Gate released both of these. You would think that another company known for its low-budget fare (like Asylum) did this. I don’t know how to feel about that.

And to answer the obvious…no. No, I wasn’t scared. Pass this one up with prejudice…

Advertisements