HomeHorror‘Scare Zone’ is Clumsy and Tone Deaf

‘Scare Zone’ is Clumsy and Tone Deaf [Review]

Jon Binkowski’s directorial debut falls flat.

Scare Zone

A haunt is a great place to set a horror picture. Films like Hell Fest and the aptly titled Haunt have proven just that. But it takes more than a killer setting to realize an effective cinematic offering. And sadly, Scare Zone has little else going for it. With none of the charisma of its more effective contemporaries, a cast of underdeveloped characters and a lackluster screenplay, Scare Zone is nearly unwatchable.  

The film’s threadbare storyline sees a group of scare actors at an extreme haunt heading into the spooky season with designs on making some quick cash. But the fun and games come to a screeching halt when the haunt workers begin to turn up dead.

Scare Zone has myriad issues. To start, the script isn’t good. In fact, it’s pretty abysmal. And the storyline is by the numbers, never going so far as to deliver much in the way of scares or surprises. The dialogue is stilted and awkward. Everything the characters say and do feels unlike anything anyone would actually say or do in any real-life scenario. Each character feels like they were born from a tired stereotype. We have the goth girl who nonchalantly brags about having once encountered a dead body, a couple of bumbling bros, the awkward guy with no game, and the pretty girl that thinks the word owes her something. 

Making matters even worse, the goth character, Claire (Arian Ash), self harms. And she seemingly manages to sexualize her self-harm. She actually pulls her sleeve back and fondles her scars like doing so causes arousal. While we eventually learn that her persona is masking pain, that’s still not a good look. Self-harm isn’t sexy. It’s a serious issue. So, to make it out to be erotic comes across as more than a little tone deaf. Additionally, one of the haunt employees makes a short bus joke. And then, one of the characters casually (and for no discernable reason) calls another character the f slur. 

I don’t think writer/director Jon Binkowski was setting out to be hurtful. But, at the very least, all of that serves to betray the film’s vintage. As it turns out, the flick already enjoyed a festival run and even bowed on DVD more than a decade ago. However, the 2009 film is being given a second release following its recent acquisition by Terror Films. So, here we are. 

One of the film’s other major issues is its haphazard pace. There are a cluster of kills early on, followed by a long period of time where absolutely nothing of interest happens. And then, the balance of the action transpires in the final moments of the feature’s runtime.

If I weren’t critiquing Scare Zone, I would have tuned out long before the end credits rolled. There is absolutely no compelling reason to keep watching if you aren’t obligated to do so.

With that said, if you have the burning urge to check Scare Zone out for yourself, it is currently bowing on VOD courtesy of the folks at Terror Films


This misguided effort has no redeeming value, whatsoever.

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