By Noelle Webster
Premiering at Sundance early in the year, Scare Me is a movie I’d been looking forward to since early reviews hit. With distribution rights secured by Shudder, this debuted on the app on October 1st and I was more than happy to watch on release day!
Written, directed, and starring Josh Ruben, Scare Me is a cozy, sit-by-the-fire horror-comedy about every writer’s favorite topic: Writers!
Fred (Josh Ruben) rents a cabin away from the city, hoping to focus and find inspiration to write something other than ad copy for his day job. In a great early sight gag, his word document only includes “Werewolves with guns.. Get revenge?”
It’s here he encounters Fanny, played by the always delightful Aya Cash (You’re the Worst, and currently killing it on The Boys season 2). As it turns out, Fanny is a New York Times best-selling horror author who is also currently on a writer’s retreat to focus.
The power goes out, and the games begin! Fanny challenges Fred to scare her, and the two go back-and-forth acting out stories to scare the other. The stories escalate, and the two become more and more wrapped up in them as the night goes on.
Both Josh Ruben and Aya Cash have incredibly expressive faces, which is always ideal for horror movies. Scare Me is a lean movie, so it’s up to the two leads to make it work–and they are certainly up to the task! Ruben throws himself into the physicality of the performance, which is truly something to behold. His comedic timing is also incredible, so even when you’re watching Fred mess up a story it’s just as fun to watch as Fanny’s scarier tales. Fanny feels like a role written specifically for Cash (and with Josh Ruben having guest-starred on an episode of You’re the Worst, I can’t but help but wonder if it actually was), and she’s able to perfectly embody this tough, sharp-witted, no-bullshit writer while balancing the character’s empathetic and vulnerable side as well. Not to mention Chris Redd’s Carlo, who pops up at the perfect moment to keep the movie from getting stale and is a welcome addition.
The stories are truly fun to watch, and the skewering of the creative process is both savage and relatable. One segment has both Fred and Fanny creating a story about a troll living in an Edible Arrangements office, and I laughed so hard I wondered if my neighbors would be angry. In fact, I’m laughing about it now just thinking about it.
Towards the end, the movie devolves into more predictable territory and overstays its welcome a touch. For a movie so fun and creative for most of its runtime I was a little let down by the straightforward ending, though I did appreciate the stinger that closed out the movie.
Overall though, Scare Me is a tight, no-frills horror-comedy with great performances by the two leads. Sometimes spooky and sometimes laugh-out-loud, there’s a lot to enjoy here.
Rating: 4/5 pumpkins
I appreciate any and all shoutouts to my beloved Tales from the Crypt Cryptkeeper and his puns. Josh Ruben’s impression was also dead on EEEHEHEHEHE!
Move over Chris Evans, we’ve got a new sweater in town. Seriously, I want the creepy-hands sweater that Aya Cash wears in this movie. It’s incredible.
I paired Blue Point’s Big Mother Pumpkin imperial ale with my viewing, and at a whopping 9% abv I can say I definitely felt this one! It was very good and it kicked my ass, definitely recommend.
I’m also logging my attempt at 31 Days of Horror over on my Letterboxd, for those so inclined! Much shorter reviews over there, and occasionally the reviews are just shitposts.
This movie made me want pizza SO BAD. SO SO BAD.