Let’s Scare Julie fails to deliver on even its most basic promises, leaving the viewer unscared and uninterested.
The big hook of the new teen horror-thriller Let’s Scare Julie is that it takes place in real time, designed to look like an 83-minute unbroken shot. So imagine my surprise when, within the first ten minutes, I spotted several cuts so obvious that a blind man could see them from space. Don’t get me wrong, by this point, the one-take thing is so overused that I honestly couldn’t care less. But if this is the only thing your film has going for it, and you are trumpeting it in your marketing materials, you’d better make sure you deliver at least on the most basic level, which is ironic considering Let’s Scare Julie is the most basic horror film imaginable. A group of absolutely obnoxious girls get together one night to hang and decide to scare their new neighbor, Julie, who recently moved into a home that is believed to be haunted because of some bullshit involving the former owner, who got into “the supernatural” after the death of her daughter. These girls literally have no idea who Julie is, they have neither seen nor met her, so why they want to terrorize her is beyond me. Yet they go through with their plan, and one by one, they go missing. Unfortunately, we are stuck back at the homestead with our gloomy sad-sack protagonist, Emma (Troy Leigh-Anne Johnson), where absolutely nothing scary is happening save for a drunk dad with a gun who feels remorse for accidentally killing a child (?). Once in a while one of the girls will make a brief reappearance and spout nonsense, or call Emma to scream and cry. None of it is the least bit scary, not even when we finally get to experience the haunted house for ourselves, which basically amounts to hiding in a basement. Lest you think Let’s Scare Julie isn’t deep, though, prepare yourself for the ending, in which the real-life horrors of teen bullying finally get their proper due in cinema through a stirring monologue in which Emma tells her little sister, “Be good to others” before tearfully accepting her fate. Dear readers, I confess I am now a changed man, and I apologize to anyone I may have wronged in the past. I expect writer-director Jud Cremata to issue his own formal apology to viewers of this uninspired dreck in the coming weeks.
Published as part of Before We Vanish | October 2020.