Indie horror at it’s finest is what’s on the screen today. SCREEN, a low budget indie horror film, about two girls, who go to a special screening at an old abandoned drive-in, is full of atmosphere, realistic acting and a story that is just begging to be explored. I’m usually not one for low budget horror, but thank god I gave this one a chance, as my eyes were glued to the screen for the entire quick 66 minute run time. If you need to know more, sit back, relax and let me do all the work…
Short nitty-gritty plot description from the IMDb is as follows: A group of horror fans are found scared to death in front of a drive-in movie screen. Whatever they saw, also bled into their screens on their mobile devices. We go back 24 hours to follow two of the characters from this group. Lola and Carrie go on a road trip to attend this Halloween screening event. It’s being held at an old disused drive-in movie theater. They also research the past reports about the drive-in. It’s haunted! People died in front of the screen in the 70s. This event is the 40th anniversary of the deaths. Despite this fact, nothing will stop Lola and Carrie from attending. They want to see what is on the screen.
Tatlock’s Quick ‘n Dirty Recap: 40 years ago, in the ’70s, a bunch of people randomly end up dead in front of a large screen at an old abandoned drive-in. No one knows why, but plenty of rumours are swirling around about suicide packs, murder and even pure hell on the screen, which drove everyone insane. It’s hard to say what exactly happened, but one thing is for sure, the drive-in is a spooky place to be. That doesn’t stop anyone though, as the 40th anniversary is coming up and Lola (Nikki Alonso) and Carrie (Leslie Andrews) are heading on the road and checking it out. Once at the drive-in, among plenty of other curious horror fans, the party starts to get loud and it looks like it’s just going to be a normal evening, until the strange noises start crackling through the busted old speakers of the deserted and run down drive-in.
Tatlock’s Opinion: SCREEN has plenty of positive things going for it right off the bat. The story about the mysterious mass death at the creepy as all get out drive-in, is supremely interesting. The movie injects old style found footage throughout, putting the viewer on edge. Also, the clever use of mixing found footage, with normally shot footage, gives the viewer a feeling of being there with the two beautiful girls, who by the way both do a fantastic job with the acting, delivering genuine dialog, that never feels forced. In fact, the entire movie has a genuine feel, especially with all the party goers. Director David Paul Baker did a risky thing, with using real horror fans, mixed with actors, but it paid off handsomely. The banter during the party, talking of Michael Myers, Freddy and Jason had me grinning ear to ear and made me feel as if these people where real and I was there along with them. (I gotta say, I agree with one of the party goers stance on Jason Voorhees being basically Frankenstein in Freddy vs Jason.)
As for the story, there is a lot of unanswered questions come the end, partly thanks to the quick 66 minute run time. Not much time can be spent on a lot of back story and it seems like a few scenes might have landed on the cutting room floor, as there are times where certain events are mentioned, such as two masked men (who have a small random side story, no spoilers, that had me more than confused as to whether it was a prank or real), who I guess were following the girls on the highway, yet I didn’t see anything about it while watching. The movie does spend a good amount of time with our two lead actresses, giving you time to get to know them a little better and feel for them once the shit hits the fan. Sadly, when said shit does hit the fan, don’t expect any sort of conclusion once the credits roll. This movie leaves everything up in the air, which honestly isn’t a bad thing at all, but this certainly could frustrate some people. As for me? I see it as a great opportunity to expand on the story, by doing a sequel, which I would love to see happen. I wouldn’t mind knowing who organized this party, as it seems everyone at the drive-in was there for the party, but had no idea what, if anything, was going to play on the screen.
Any other small faults with the movie comes down to small editing issues at the end. The story tries to wrap itself up so quickly, you may have trouble following exactly what is happening and what our two lead characters are doing.
Verdict: SCREEN has real horror passion written all over it, with great acting and a story full of mystery and suspense. The time spent with the girls is welcomed, along with the use of real horror fans, as it makes for a surprisingly better experience. I say a few editing issues and unanswered questions is hardly going to bring the score down, so if you’re in the mood for a creepy tale, SCREEN is one haunted drive-in worth visiting.