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11.12.14

Scary or Die (2012)


Director: Bob Badway, Michael Emanuel, Igor Meglic
Starring: Bill Oberst Jr., Corbin Bleu, Domiziano Arcangeli, Elizabeth Di Prinzio, Hali Lula Hudson, Shawn Caulin-Young
Rated R, 94 minutes

A low-budget horror anthology that tells five interrelated stories happening in and around Los Angeles. In the first story, "The Crossing", two psycho rednecks (Bill Oberst Jr. and Shawn Caulin-Young) and their female squeeze (Hali Lula Hudson) encounter a horde of illegal alien zombies. "Teujung's Lament" is about a man who gets mixed up with a vampire cult. The third story, "Re-Membered", is a modern update of Edgar Allan
Poe's "The Telltale Heart" in which a body in the trunk of a car begins to drive a man insane. This is followed by the film's centerpiece, "Clowned", in which a drug-dealer-with-a-heart-gold (Corbin Bleu) is bitten by a cannibalistic clown, and is transformed into a cannibalistic clown himself. The film closes with "Lover Come Back", a short tale of a woman who returns from the grave through the power of voodoo.

Horror anthologies are usually hit-or-miss, and SCARY OR DIE is mostly a miss. The exceptionally dumb first story is saved by some decent gore effects and an over-the-top performance by the very cool Bill Oberst Jr. After that, the movie sinks into a melodramatic stupor, with the remaining stories taking on a too-serious tone that make them a chore to sit through. The longest story here is "Clowned" and is the film's main attraction. If you think clowns are scary, well, here you go. There are two hideously ugly clown in this one (one obviously modeled after John Wayne Gacy). Other than that, it's an overlong bore that should have spent more of its running time focusing on clown mayhem instead of schmaltzy family drama. And like "The Crossing", it's very, very dumb.

SCARY OR DIE has decent production values and a (mostly) capable cast. What it doesn't have, unfortunately, is an original bone in its body. Every story here is cliche-filled and predictable, with everything panning out exactly how you imagine. Worse than that, it's a movie that takes itself far too seriously to have any fun at all. Dumb and unoriginal can work in some cases, but dull and uninspired cannot.

2 out of 5.

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