An ultra low-budget slasher that never manages to break free of the shackles imposed by its lack of funds, Scream Park has plenty of ideas and potential, only to end up squandering most of those opportunities.

A carve-up set at a crumbling (and about to close) amusement park, writer/director Cary Hill’s offering hints at talent, but is let down by shoddy dialogue, some truly woeful acting and an overuse of a perfunctory, uninspired shooting style.

Fright Land is a horror-themed amusement park, featuring a host of scare attractions. It has clearly seen better days though, and with falling attendance numbers and in need of a severe lick of paint, the owners plan to close its doors for good.

Hill’s film throws us in with the rag-tag bunch of employees that are overseeing the final days – there’s the geek, the goth, the gruff security guard, the sexed-up couple, the slightly creepy boss and all the usual clichés, with the seemingly ‘ordinary’ girl (Wendy Wygant) marked as ‘final girl’ status right from the off.

Anyway, once the gates are locked for the night and the park plunged into darkness, the group quickly realise that there may be more people on the grounds than they realised – people who very much have murder on the mind.

Even worse, these villains could be part of a plot concocted by the park’s owners……

Let’s kick off with the positives here – for starters, Fright Land is a great location – in fact, I kept thinking that it was a place I’d love to visit for a night out for a ‘bloody’ good laugh.

Wygant does indeed make a good female lead – cute and innocent at the outset, but with that underlying strain of toughness that all good ‘final girls’ bring to the fore as the carnage ensues. Hopefully she’ll get more chances to shine, as there is a genuine horror starlet lurking there.

The killers – a double act of hulking brute and maniacal joker – are perfectly fine and handle the death scenes with ease.

Director Hill does show flashes of quality, with one notable ‘killer in silhouette reflected in the park’s lake’ moment being a particularly memorable shot, but those moments are few and far between.

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In addition, despite a minimal budget (some of which cobbled together via Kickstarter) Hill was able to tempt Doug ‘Pinhead’ Bradley on board – allowing Scream Park to splash his name over all the promotional material despite only appearing in one scene as the park’s owner.

Sadly the negatives outweigh the positives though – most criminal being the fact that Hill makes precious little of the location he has at his disposal.

Crumbling theme park/carnival locations are ripe for scares (think Carnival of Blood, even the opening of Frightmare) but the director fails to pull any off, setting most of the action in rooms rather than around the grounds, missing out on all the potential jump scares that could have supplemented the film’s main thrust.

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Add to that some clumsy dialogue and some pretty ropey acting from most of the cast – for example the buxom Kailey Marie Harris as Carlee tries hard, but was clearly cast for her physical attributes and nothing else (and seems to have done no acting before or since this film).

Hill should no doubt be congratulated for managing to get this project off the ground to begin with (it actually appears to have been made back in 2013), but let’s hope he goes on to better things than Scream Park.

DVD Review: Scream Park
2.0Overall Score
Reader Rating: (1 Vote)

About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written two books, one on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014) and the other on the history of the character Norman Bates (2015). His third book, on the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker, is due in 2017.