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Lets Scare Julie Main

Let's Scare Julie Movie Review

Written by Ryan Holloway

Released by Signature Entertainment

article-cover

Written and directed by Jud Cremata
2020, 83 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
UK Digital Release on 21st December 2020

Starring:
Troy Leigh-Anne Johnson as Emma
Isabel May as Taylor
Odessa A’zion as Madison
Brooke Sorenson as Jess
Jessica Sarah Flaum as Paige
Dakota Baccelli as Lily
Blake Robbins as Uncle Vince

Review:

Said to be shot in one continuous take, Let’s Scare Julie is an ambitious first feature film from writer/director Jud Cremata. What makes it so ambitious is probably less about the uninterrupted take and more about successfully directing a film based on a loud group of teenage girls and making it not only coherent, but watchable and not annoying as hell. The film's main focus is Emma who, after her father’s death, has moved in with her cousin Taylor. She very soon becomes the victim of a prank played on her by Taylor and her four best friends.

Causing her some distress, and an asthma attack, isn’t enough to dissuade them from planning to scare the mysterious new girl who has moved across the street, with her dad, into a house that is rumoured to be haunted after a boy’s disappearance. What follows is a clever, well-crafted teen horror that creates a wonderfully dark atmosphere reminiscent of The Blair Witch Project.

lets scare julie 01 lets scare julie 02

Most of the first half hour is taken up with the five girls chatting and messing about, this is very likely to be cinematic Marmite, but is played in such a naturalistic way that even when they are being annoying it only serves to heighten the story and the events to later unfold. Emma also has her little sister Lily with her so is of course protective of her when the girls’ antics get a little rambunctious. Taylor shares the story of a boy who went missing when he saw a strange figure at the house opposite and that a new girl has moved in. The girls straight away set about going over to scare her with masks etc, but Emma is not having any of it and decides to stay behind to look after her sister.

As soon as they leave, things get crazy and the tension is palpable as each time we re-group with one of the girls they are far too panicked to give us any real details and it’s this ambiguity that really ups the fear factor. Emma is then given no choice but to try and help her friends and, once she crosses the street, things get even darker as we are propelled into a frenzied and heart attack inducing final act.

Cremata has created a real gem here and manages to conjure up an atmosphere that most modern horror films only dream of. The performances too are fantastic, natural and believable, especially from Johnson who is so effortlessly real that you can’t help but get carried away with it all. She is especially brilliant when faced with Taylor’s alcoholic father in one particularly effective scene involving a horrible confession.

lets scare julie 03 lets scare julie 04

The vagueness of what exactly is happening is played well here, there is a real danger of feeling like it is struggling to come up with solutions by being deliberately evasive, but here it only makes it creepier. Add a rainstorm and this really is the recipe for a cult classic.

There sadly is a downside and, in the excitement, it feels like some details get lost. At various stages of their antics at Taylor’s house, she is continuously telling her friends to be quiet so they don’t wake her father, but has no problem shouting and yelling during another prank in the hallway later on. It also loses points with one of the major scares likely to cause laughter rather than screams, and this really is a shame. There is also the fact that there are some obvious edits in this purported one-take film, but it’s all so hair-raisingly seductive that it really doesn’t matter, it’s a thrilling horror that succeeds far more than it fails.

Grades:

Movie: 3.5 Star Rating Cover
Buy Amazon Uk

About The Author
Ryan Holloway
Staff Reviewer
As far back as he can remember Ryan has always had an obsession with films, and horror in particular. 'A Nightmare on Elm Street' and ‘Alien’ were the first films that really stuck in the psyche and rather than scarring his tiny mind and running up a huge therapy bill, those films created a fascination with the dark side of life and art. Brought up by Freddy, Jason and Michael Myers (not literally), horror will always fascinate him no matter how absurd, dark, twisted, barmy or just plain wrong. Horror DNA gives him the opportunity, and excuse, to legitimise his macabre tastes and watch whatever strangeness comes his way.
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