I SCREAM ON THE BEACH! / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: ALEXANDER CHURCHYARD, MICHAEL HOLIDAY / STARRING: HANNAH PATERSON, DANI THOMPSON, REIS DANIEL, JAMIE EVANS / RELEASE DATE: TBC
Many low budget films use techniques to hide the lack of funds. It could be utilising shaky cam found footage or going all-out on parody as if to say ‘we’re deliberately being crap’. I Scream on the Beach! uses a little of the second style - adding in a retro VHS feel too - but actually winds up doing a pretty decent job.
Emily (Paterson) has never gotten over the disappearance of her father, and when a string of murders begin happening in her sleepy seaside village, she’s determined to get to the bottom of why he vanished. Meanwhile, the ineffective cops (led by Martin W. Payne and Will Jones) are leaving all the proper police work to Detective Kincaid (Leigh Trifari) and the locals are spending most of their time down the pub planning their Halloween viewing.
I Scream on the Beach! is presented as though we’re watching a VHS tape from the ‘80s, complete with tracking marks, glitches, badly transferred colour, and even trailers before the movie. These gimmicks aside, it’s actually not a terrible film. There are moments, certainly in the dialogue and miss-synched dubbing, in which you feel the filmmakers are trying a little too hard to be deliberately ‘bad’, but go beyond this and the story stands up. The cast are clearly having fun, and that translates to the viewer, and you surprisingly find yourself warming to them.
The plot is unexpectedly engaging, although there is a twist that comes out of nowhere and unleashes the movie’s inner Troma (well, with Uncle Lloyd Kaufman cameoing, it’s hard not to expect the studio’s influence to the directors). As in often the case, many of the gags fall as flat as the puny title, and the ‘VHS effect’ gets a bit wearing as the film goes on, but there are enough amusing moments to make it worth your while.