Horror and comedy can be a perfect match, and Deadly Scare is a perfect example of how the two opposing genres can work in harmony to create something brilliant.
Written and directed by Radi Nikolov, this 7 minute short is filmed in a mockumentary style narrated by ‘professional scarer’ Mike Wiener (Nikolov). He explains the importance of his job as he prepares for guests visiting his escape room, and how he goes about creating the perfect horror atmosphere.
In Weiner’s documentary, a guest named Carla (Holly Spillar) shows up at the escape room, but it soon starts to feel a little too real. Is it just a really good design, or is something amiss here? That’s an answer Carla has to discover for herself.
With escape rooms and interactive horror experiences such as The London Dungeon being such a popular attraction, it’s interesting to see horror films using this as a backdrop for their own stories.
The gamification of horror was popularised through the Saw franchise, forcing victims to play twisted, life-threatening ‘games’ in order to survive, and I enjoyed the homage to the series in this film.
Deadly Scare borrows from well known horror films, yet uses its own unique style to bring something new to the genre. It also pays homages to other iconic serial killers, resulting in a laugh out loud moment. You’ll see why.
I was particularly impressed by Lauren Jones’ makeup work, which really brought the grisly elements of the story to life. Makeup is very important in horror, as visceral imagery is often what brings a lot of the terror to life.
Daniel Bell’s sound design played a key role in Deadly Scare too, and all of the gruesome noises is enough to make anyone cringe. It’s amazing what good, effective sound can do even if it happens off screen.
I really enjoyed how this was filmed, making it look gritty, unsettling, and most of all, real. This sense of unease makes for a really effective horror film, as it’s made to look amateur and authentic.
The only downside is I wish this could have been longer, as it would have been nice to see more about the escape room and Mike Wiener. However, Deadly Scare is a brilliant short film that effectively showcases the talent of all involved.
I would definitely recommend this film to anyone who enjoys found footage horror, as well as films that are self-aware about the genre. It’s an impressive short under 10 minutes and I would happily watch a feature length of this if it was ever made!
Deadly Scare is currently doing the festival route, but you can watch the trailer here:
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