There are a lot of people trying to make it in the film industry, and horror films are the jumping-off point for many of them. There’s always some good scary projects going on; they’re usually cheap to make, and they usually turn a profit. Thankfully, there are also a lot of folks that just love the genre, and are set on sharing their nightmares with the rest of us. Unfortunately, a lot of young actors get too caught up in their ambitions and become easy targets for less-than-reputable “producers”.
Anna: Scream Queen Killer, distributed by Chemical Burn Entertainment, sets out to take you on that journey of a young actress seeking to land a role, but it takes you by way of dragging you down the blackest corridors of that trip, giving you an insider’s view of the darkest side of the trials and terrors of being a young actor trying to “break in” to the business.
Written, produced, and co-directed by star Melanie Denholme, the movie starts us off with a voice over of Denholme’s “aspiring actress” character, talking about the strange audition she’s been invited to. We move from there to what I assumed to be a casting office, where we switch to a POV of the casting director/producer. The rest of the film is shot from this perspective, and Denholme’s actress is the only visible character. She begins the audition by performing a few actions for the “producer”, with the only direction being one-sentence instructions from a paper. As they go on, these instructions become more and more bizarre (and sexual) in nature. Apparently placing career over dignity, we follow along with the actress as she delves into deeper and deeper “auditions”, the decadence of which increase exponentially.
Here is where I’d usually tell you that I can’t say anymore without spoiling the plot; however, in this case, there really isn’t a plot to spoil; what I described is basically the movie. I won’t spoil the ending; the beginning and everything up till the ending is all essentially the same stuff: more, weirder auditions. That’s it. Because of this, the film really tends to drag; in my opinion, it may have worked better as a short film rather than a feature.
The acting is fine for what the film is; Denholme’s “acting-within-acting” as she performed for the “auditions” was believable; the failing for me was that although I’m sure there are a lot of young actresses out there that are willing to do virtually anything to make it in the movies, I felt like the boundaries of believability were stretched past their breaking point. Sleeping with a casting director is one thing; willingly subjecting one’s self to what amounts to multiple rapes and degradations (for what seems to stretch on for a few days) without any real questioning or reluctance is another kettle of fish entirely. If the purpose of this film was to draw attention to the plight of people who want to be in movies so badly that they will become indentured sex slaves to do so, maybe they got something here; however, for a horror movie, I found myself wondering when the hell something was going to happen. Sure, the demands of the faceless producer obviously got weirder, and I kinda got a pseudo-shameful voyeur feel as the camera forced me to creep around with the bastard, but nothing really scary goes on…just creepy; the wrong kinda creepy.
The flick comes off to me as more of a demo reel for Denholme than something with a real plot; she showcases a range of acting and emotions, but there’s not really a narrative that took me through or grabbed my interest. I can see where maybe the “horror” intended in the movie was how terribly people can exploit others, and how those others can allow themselves to be exploited, but it just didn’t do anything for me. I found it far more of a voyeuristic peep-show than a horror movie.
I’m sure for art-house fans or fetishists there might be some interest here, but for me, as a hardcore horror fan, it just didn’t ring my bells.