Meegan Warner, Ian Meadows, Olivia De Jonge, Patrick Harvey, Cassandra Magrath, Sigrid Thornton
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…subverts the standard slasher formula…
Back in 2012, The Cairnes Brothers brought us the grisly horror comedy 100 Bloody Acres, which did nothing for relations between farmers and tourists. And now they’re back for more scares albeit with a decidedly more severe tone in Scare Campaign.
Scare Campaign, within the film, is the biggest prank show in Australia and for the last five years its director (Ian Meadows) and his team have been scaring the bejesus out of unsuspecting stooges. Faced with cancellation for no longer being relevant, the production team, including jobbing actress Emma (Meegan Warner) decide on one last hurrah that will put the show back in the public consciousness. Setting themselves up in an abandoned hospital, things descend into a bloodbath when their latest victim turns out not to be who he seems.
Scare Campaign is a dark labyrinth of a movie that subverts the standard slasher formula. The Cairnes Brothers have evidently had a lot of fun twisting their story into knots and keeping their audience on its toes, with the dark corridors of the hospital acting as a perfect stage for their mayhem. Equally, there appears to be, if not so much a yearn for the horror movies of yore, at least an acknowledgement of their influence on modern horror and what makes them classics. ‘You need more than blood and gore if you want to be remembered’ the director cries out at one point.
Modern horror, after all, can swing heavily in favour of bloodshed over storytelling; a visceral thrill for the audience before they catch the bus home. The filmmaking brothers try to recapture that balance; even as heads fly and rooms are filled with screams, they want to keep you guessing. A suitable contrast to their previous work, Scare Campaign is a hefty slab of Aussie horror that fans will lap up.