Scream of Fear Review

It’s time for a very retro thriller that was definitely pretty solid. There are a good amount of twists here and you could even call the film part mystery. Everything seems rather shady in this household and Penny needs to get to the bottom of it or she could be doomed. Is it even possible to solve all of the weird happenings in this house though or should she just forget it all and get out of here?

The movie starts with Penny receiving an invitation from her father to come back home. She has been by herself for a while now and can no longer walk so it has been a hard life. Unfortunately when she gets home her father has gone somewhere on business so all that remains is the step mother, the local doctor and the family chauffer. Penny figures she can manage at first but then her father’s body appears at different points around the house. It would appear that he has been murdered but who could have done it? Also Jane (Step-Mom) insists that he is still alive and even has Penny’s father call over the phone and explain that he still exists in this realm. Robert the chauffer seems to be keeping their secrets as well but says he will help Penny get to the bottom of this. Doctor Gerrard is mainly busy trying to convince Penny that she is completely crazy which doesn’t really help her much at all.

Now this movie could have easily gone in the annoying direction with the first half. While she is being gaslit the whole time you feel like Penny should have more agency. Get out there and get some wins! You know things like that. Now I cut her a bit more slack compared to most leads since she can’t walk so it’s not like it’s the easiest thing in the world to go out there and do some sleuthing. In fact she nearly drowns when she falls into their pool while doing detective work at night. So it ends up taking a lot of bravery and effort to try and really do something that would normally be easy.

It’s just still annoying when Jane and Gerrard are talking down to her the whole time and she just sits there and takes it. Additionally she tends to handle the appearances of her father’s body rather poorly each time as they will always take her eyes off of it and then of course it disappears in the next scene. Not her best moment without a doubt. She does get better as the film goes on though and by the end I liked her quite a bit. She started sticking up for herself more and even coming up with some plans to dish out some counter strikes. Ultimately one of these plans was a bit too risky for me since there are so many ways it could have absolutely backfired but either way I have to give her some true credit. She is one of the better heroines I’ve seen in these old films.

Jane is about as petty as you’d expect here and she is a character who gets worse the more the film goes on. She can be a bit wishy washy and intentionally dense when it suits her. I think if you’re going to be a mean character then you need to commit and go all the way with it. Anytime a character tries to straddle the line I usually won’t like her as much because it’s just not a great position to be in. In whatever you do you have to be bold and just keep on pushing. Otherwise what are you really doing? In the end she made her choice and shouldn’t have any regrets.

Doctor Gerrard is your classic doctor character here to explain how the stress is too much for Penny and all of that. It’s nothing that you haven’t heard before so you’ll probably be rolling your eyes at all of his dialogue. Whenever a character tries to convince someone that they’re crazy I can’t help but think that it should have no effect at all. Like if I know that I did or said something then I know it and no amount of people trying to convince me otherwise will ever work. I know what I know and at the end of the day that’s what counts.

Then we have Robert who tries to be really helpful the whole time. Naturally this almost immediately turns into romance so you start to doubt how noble he’s really being. Can’t he just try to help out normally without having to turn on the charm? As the only one not trying to say that Penny is crazy it’s nice to at least have one ally around. Since he is the chauffer he needs to be careful about how he handles this though or Jane can sack him real quick. This guy will have to be a little more subtle than how he is always hanging around her.

The writing here is pretty good as you would expect. These retro films always tend to have strong dialogue and this one is no different. The pacing is good and you will stay engaged all the way through the adventure. That said, what really makes the film is the second half where things start to get real interesting. I think if the film was played straight then it wouldn’t have been nearly as memorable or enjoyable. It would have been one of those dime a dozen flicks that you watch once and then forget forever. So I was really glad that this was not the case and instead the film decided to go into a very bold area.

Now with the twists while they are great, I would say that in hindsight some scenes can still be a stretch. Mainly I’m thinking about a certain car ride here since even if it was part of the plan it feels a little too risky. Things could have easily gone sideways there and then there would be no escape. You can actually take this for the entire film as well. At any point the villains could have made their move and didn’t need to wait nearly as long as they did. That would have ruined the plan as well so in essence what I’m saying is that a whole lot of massive risks were taken the some characters probably got off lucky.

Overall, I was quite entertained though. This was a very fun film that had quality writing and a solid story the whole time. I would certainly recommend checking it out to just about anyone since you’re really watching this for the quality story. Despite the title this isn’t a film about a lot of screaming or jump scares. Now there are jump scares to be sure but it’s more about the atmosphere and how mysterious everything is. You have to wonder if Penny might be crazy or what else is going on and that suspense will carry you all the way through to the end.

Overall 7/10


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