Directed by Andy Hurst
Written by Andy Hurst
Music by Space Probe Taurus
Cast: Alethea Kutscher, Brad Ashten, Carlee Avers, Erin Consalvi, Kariem Markbury, Madison Petrich, Soren Bowie

2005/79 mins/Color/2.0 Dolby Digital
1.78:1/English/US/NTSC Region 1

Review from the Lionsgate DVD

There is a fine line between homage and an outright rip-off. Unfortunately, the recently released direct-to-video title Are You Scared is neither. Instead, it is a somewhat careless mish mash of Saw and any other number of reality television-based horror titles. Director Andy Hurst seems to be aware that his movie is derivative, but instead of steering clear of the inevitable clichés, he steers his movie right into the familiar plot points of the better movies that came before.

Are You Scared has a potentially interesting premise that involves a Jigsaw-like madman who abducts a variety of youngsters by getting them to participate in a reality show involving their deepest fears. Imagine Tobin Bell replacing Joe Roggan on Fear Factor and you have the basic idea. Each victim is entered into a scenario that plays into their specific phobia with the traps set for maximum punishment. All the while two witless detectives try to track the killer’s whereabouts. Of course, the killer’s motives are entangled in a ludicrous plot twist that unravels at the film’s climax, but it is a “twist” that is so silly that it fails to adequately explain the premise of the entire movie other than the killer’s statement that the victims must “suffer to learn a lesson.”

Of course, all of this has been done before, and better, in movies like My Little Eye, Series 7, and even on a smaller budget, Slashers, and of course the Saw franchise. In the end, the problem with the movie is that it is lazy. The soundtrack consists of nothing more than a looped 4-note melody, and it drones on throughout the entire movie. The dialogue is laughable and poorly delivered across the board. At one point the detective describes the killer’s profiling by stating, “I’ve seen crimes of passion and crimes of hate, but this guy is methodical in his planning and ruthless in his execution.” Sounds like every other movie profiler describing every other killer in every other low-budget horror movie, right?

There are some interesting gore moments and glimpses of creativity here and there, but Are You Scared fails to rise above its lazy mediocrity. In the end, the only suffering associated with this movie is surviving its all-too-long 80 minute running time.

Are You Scared is presented in non-anamorphic 1.78:1 Widescreen, and the transfer is typical for a DTV movie. The picture is relatively flat, but the darkness issues seem to be more about the filmmaker than the transfer as the black levels are relatively deep.The 2.0 Digital sound is clear with no distortion or hiss noticeable. The disc does not include any special features or commentary and only offers trailers for other Lionsgate titles including HARD CANDY, SEE NO EVIL, AN AMERICAN HAUNTING, STEPHEN KING’S DESPERATION, DARK FIELDS, and THE FEEDING. The animated menu is a one-trick pony, but it is easy to navigate (because there is nowhere to navigate).





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Review by Jamie Smith. All Right Reserved. 2006. ©