On paper, mixing the phone-based murder-mayhem of the Scream franchise with the twisted moral code that turned the Saw one into such a gory phenomenon should make for a horror juggernaut. Sadly, the result, though laced with some decent chills in its third act, never comes close to being even in the same ballpark as either of the two big brothers that so clearly inspired it.
Sam (Gregg Sulkin) and Brady (Garrett Clayton) are our nominal heroes, which is a shame, as their characters are both so astonishingly unlikeable that it derails the entire enterprise. Horror movies are, of course, powered in a large part by their villains. But when the teens they’re chasing are so repellent that you actually want them to get axed in the face, you’re in something of a narrative pickle.
Still, when the payback comes – Sam and Brady are scary phone call pranksters who find the tables turned on them – there is the occasional highlight. Damien Macé and Alexis Wajsbrot may be new to the directors’ chair, but they certainly know how to pile on the tension and the blood. It’s just a shame they didn’t take another pass at the script, which is the first screenwriter Joe Johnson has churned out since The Skulls III, in 2004. Which kinda says it all.
The bottom line
Some okay chills but a shocker of a plot.