Starring Hannah Leigh, Julian Berlin, Charity Shea, Jonny Mack, Maxine Bahns
Written & directed by Jon Hoffman and Dave Rock
How ironic is it that just one week after a woman underwent the world's first successful face transplant that a movie like Scarred would hit DVD shelves? Unfortunately, the facially deformed female in Scarred is a poor mountain woman that can’t afford fancy French experimental surgery and thus finds herself forced to resort to some good old fashioned Texas Chainsaw Massacre-style face skinning.
Instead of the usual group of horny twenty-something’s going out into the woods to camp, have sex, and get slaughtered by a homicidal maniac, we get a family that goes out into the woods to camp, have sex, and get slaughtered. Dad has sex with the new young wife unit, big sis gets fresh with the hunky park ranger, and the teenage brother makes out with big sis' best friend. Sorry; no nudity though.
The 18-year old daughter has issues with her new younger stepmom since she believes that the woman only married her dad for his money even though nothing we see from this family would indicate to me that they’re particularly wealthy to begin with. Early on a lot of time is devoted to the tension between the daughter, her new stepmom, and their father; although I honestly don’t know why the filmmakers bothered since dad and stepmom get killed off within the first half hour.
No sooner does the family make camp, a hunky young park ranger shows up on his four-wheeler and almost immediately begins reciting the legend of the faceless woman said to wander the woods looking for a pretty face to skin off to please her dad, who peeled her face off with a knife for reasons I’ll leave the movie to explain. This tale is dramatized in great detail in a longwinded flashback narrated by the ranger as he tells the Hansen’s the story.
This flashback tale also pretty much typifies the film’s gravest flaw: Scarred just lacks atmosphere and fails evoke any sort of dread. Horror movies like this really need to be a mood piece to go along with the usual slasher movie trappings. The best ones often do; Scarred doesn’t. In the early goings I got the sense that the filmmakers were trying to make a horror movie that was more than just a typical slasher in the woods flick, but then it shifted right back to making me wonder if they were just plotting this thing with a slasher movie in the woods themed book of Mad Libs. Heck, the film even opens with two lovers in the woods getting attacked, and when the family is immediately greeted at the foot of the woods by a creepy hermit that appears just long enough to give them the standard cryptic yet vague warning about what happens to people that venture into those woods.
Following the prolonged recounting of the legend, Scarred is pretty much your typical photogenic twenty-something’s masquerading as teenagers in the woods with a homicidal maniac after them flick. To say anymore would be giving too much away. Unfortunately, there isn’t a whole lot more to give away since the plot pretty much goes on autopilot and plays out almost exactly as you’d expect an impoverished variation on The Final Terror like this to play out. The middle portion of the film feels especially stretched out; way too much wandering around the woods in the dark for my taste.
And then there’s the faceless female killer that the screenwriters never bothered to even give a name to. The end credits identified her character only as "The Killer." If nothing else, couldn't they have at least bothered coming up with a name for her?
And you know what; I just couldn't take "The Killer" seriously. Her overdone facials and exaggerated crazy eyes made her look to me like the uptight, self righteous Kitty Farmer character from Donnie Darko if her face melted and she turned feral. It struck me as being far more comical than frightening, especially during a scene late in the film where she’s shown trying on the face on an unlucky female she’s removed. The less than convincing facial appliance used for the scene made her look Asian instead. Heck, every face she tried on looked exactly the same and nothing like the face of the person she skinned it off of.
And apparently the mountain woman had completely forgotten how to speak over the years and was left to let out a variety of loud screams, squeals, and growls. The film’s finale had so many characters constantly screaming and “The Killer” perpetually making her various loud noises to the point that it began taking on a nails-on-the-chalkboard quality. I couldn’t wait for them all to shut the hell up and give me some peace and quiet.
If it’s a slasher flick that you’re in the mood for then I suppose you could do a lot worse than Scarred. You could also do a lot better.
Discuss Scarred in our forums!