Wednesday, 18 November 2015


Slasher flicks.
We love them, don't we?
One of the coolest things to happen to our beloved genre in recent years is the resurgence of the throwback slasher movie. Seemingly emerging as a direct backlash to the teen-friendly, big budget, glossy Blumhouse-style horror movies of recent years, there's been a real wave of old-school slashers, such as Chill: The Killing Games; Muck; The Pickaxe Murders Part III; Headless; Axe To Grind; Berkshire County AKA Tormented and Dorchester's Revenge AKA Dollface, to name just a few of the titles that I've come across here at the House over the last year.
The latest subgenre entry to bring blood and mayhem back to the woods is Eddie Lengyel's Scarred (previously known as Kandie Land).
I've seen reviews praising the movie's hulking killer, pretty young victims and lashings of innovative gore, so I was delighted when the guys behind the film very kindly got in touch asking if I'd care to review it.
Would this one make a mark? Or would I think it was an unsightly blemish on the genre?
Read on…


Dir: Eddie Lengyel

Starring: Ari Lehman, Don Kilrain, Lisa Neeld, Carl Ferrara, Tina Grimm, Alex Russo, Molly Miller, Jessica Lauschin, Max Elinsky, Janine Sarnowski, Haley Kocinski, Devin Steiner, Justine Greenwald, Mark Cray, Robbie Barnes, Bart Flynn

SPEEDY SYNOPSIS:  I'll try not to spoil too much here but continue at your own risk.

The movie opens with a young lady pulling into a local bar and talking to the patrons about her missing sister. After she leaves, one of the gruff men (Cray) takes one of the girl's fliers home to his wife Luna (Sarnowski) and daughter Tiny (Miller). Tiny mentions that she has seen the girl on the flyer playing with 'Jonah', a statement that her disbelieving parents dismiss.
However, the audience is then introduced to the hulking, masked Jonah (Kilrain), who promptly slaughters the missing girl in his murky den.
Next we meet Jonah's next batch of victims, a group of models — Brooke (Grimm), Asia (Russo), Jess (Lauschin) and Marley (Kocinski). The head of their agency Miss Ambler (Greenwald) declares Marley the
 'new face of her company', then agrees to send the girls on a nature-themed photoshoot at an isolated rural location for a wealthy business partner — whose son, Brody (Elinsky), will photograph the girls.
Rounding out the group is Ambler's lovable nephew Bo (Ferrara), who will act as minder for the models and intends to use this opportunity to convince the girls to star in his upcoming horror movie.
Soon the crew are on their way and on route they meet a local couple Shaina (Playboy Playmate Neeld) and Austin (original Jason Voorhees, Lehman) who try to warn them about the dark history of their destination — notably that it once belonged to the Kandie family, whose strange son Jonah's face was cruelly mutilated by his violent father for unspecified sins. The group laugh this off as a silly campfire ghost story.
However, when they reach the campsite (run by Luna), it soon becomes clear that the long-presumed dead Jonah has unfinished business — and he may not be acting alone.
What exactly does Jonah want? Will any of the models escape his clutches... or even survive?

THE BEST BITS (mild spoiler warning): The folks behind Scarred are a canny bunch — rather than attempt to reinvent the wheel, they stick to giving the audience what it wants. This is an unapologetic, old-fashioned Eighties-style slasher flick. It boasts some decent scares, some good-looking young people all lining up in a remote location to join a sizeable bodycount and plenty of gruesome, grisly and inventive manners in which to off them. This isn't the most original of stories, nor is it likely to shake horror to its core — but what it is extremely good at doing is entertaining all you gorehounds that were raised on the likes of Madman, The Burning, Funhouse and all the other lurid-cased slashers that enticed us from the shelves of our local video store.

That's not to say that the plot is a dud — no, writer/director Lengyel manages to give us a couple of nice twists and turns, plus a compelling back story to hold our attention. What's more he juggles a large cast of characters without losing any of them in the shuffle, making sure that each stands out for all the right reasons. Furthermore, we don't get too many stereotypes among them. It would have been all too easy to make one of the models 'the bitchy' girl and one 'the sweet girl', but instead they have more nuance than that.
As a horror director, Lengyel also clearly knows his stuff, keeping the movie zipping along at a brisk pace and getting the very most out of the extremely modest $10,000 budget. Each shot is competently and professionally framed, each scene looks far better than it probably has any right to. This is due in no small part to the great cinematography by Noelle Bye who gives the film that last little bit of finesse. 
The cast are mostly pretty good, with all of the main characters hitting their mark. I especially enjoyed the work of the charismatic Greenwald and Lauschin, the stunning Kocinski (who shows enough here to suggest she could make for a super scream queen, should she choose to stick with the genre) and the very funny Ferrara who uses his superb comic timing to great effect in a couple of key scenes. It was also brilliant to see Ari Lehman, the original Jason Voorhees, in a nice supporting role. He's a very cool and talented guy, so it's always a pleasure to see him on the screen here at The House.
Elsewhere, the work of Cray is also worthy of mention — he plays a horrible character and quickly succeeds in getting the audience to hate him. That's a sign of a talented actor, so more props to him!
His sympathetic wife is brought to life by the wonderful Sarnowski. I thought she was great in Chill and she's even better here.
I also loved Miller's Tiny. The diminutive actress shows big talent in her role, making Tiny enigmatic at times, occasionally sympathetic, often extremely creepy but always utterly fascinating to watch. She's excellent and, should there be a sequel, I really do hope she'll be back for it.
The extremely imposing Kilrain (he stands at 6ft 5 and weighs 250lbs) is also excellent as the silent villain Jonah Kandie. He uses subtle body language to imbue his character with even more menace, veering from slowly stalking his victims and methodically mutilating them to frenziedly attacking. The character has a cool backstory and his MO of hating anything beautiful following his own disfigurement gives him a compelling (and decidedly disturbing) motive to target and mutilate the models.
And does he ever go to work on his victims! At times it borders on Hostel-style torture p0rn, as each of the murders are horrifying, sadistic and make full use of the spectacular effects work. With ripped, slashed, burnt and gouged flesh, plus geysers of blood, the effects team of Greg Lanning, Daniel Blain Click and Raven Lunitic go above and beyond the call of duty here. Kudos!
You can tell that this movie was a labour of love for the effects team, just as it was for so many other people involved in the production. To me, that is one of the film's biggest strengths. The people involved in creating Scarred really care. From the hardcore promotion that Lengyel is doing, actively seeking out reviewers to help bring this film to the masses, to taking the time and effort to engage with the fans during post-screening Q&As, it's so heartening to see filmmakers that feel so enthusiastic and passionate about a project. The cast and crew are obviously horror aficionados and in Scarred they have produced a movie for their fellow genre fans. For this reason I really do wish them and the project all the success they deserve. 

THE WORST BITS (mild spoiler warning): 
Like I said before, Scarred is a simple throwback slasher film, made from the template of the hundreds of 'maniac in a summercamp' movies that have come before it. What this means is that it inherits the flaws inherent in all of those films.
As slashers go, it's pretty damn great, but if you aren't a fan of the sub-genre I very much doubt that there's anything here that is going to change your mind. The plot is simplistic, and yes, Lengyel does give us a couple of interesting twists along the way, but it very much follows the usual format. It's pretty linear and serves mainly to link the considerably gory set pieces together.
This is a slasher movie — don't go in expecting The English Patient.
Bizarrely, it's both very simple AND leaves some key points unexplained. I'm hoping that this is just the first outing for Jonah Kandie and some of those extra details will be more fully fleshed out in subsequent outings.
Also, while I praised the commitment and dedication of the cast earlier, there are a couple of moments when inexperience does shine through. There are a few clunky line deliveries and some rather awkward facial expressions from a couple of cast members. Long-term horror fans will be all too familiar with game, if not the most polished actors appearing in slasher flicks — and that's exactly what we get here. Thankfully most of the major parts are played well and the less accomplished moments don't serve as a serious hindrance to enjoying the film.
Also, while the filmmakers have done a marvellous job with such a small budget, it is worth pointing out that to those of you used to larger-budget, shiny, big studio horror flicks, this will definitely appear a little rough around the edges. Unfortunately there are a few points at which some audio issues arise. However, I think it's a testament to the skill of Lengyel and his crew that these issues are so rare.

THE VERDICT: Scarred is a mean, nasty slasher flick and I had a real blast with it! With some viciously imaginative kills, a memorable villain and plenty of heart from everybody involved, this is a throwback slasher done right. I really hope that the folks at Fright Teck Pictures return to Kandie Land to give us even more of Jonah's murderous misadventures. I for one, shall be first in line if they do.

If you want to watch Scarred, you can buy the film (plus plenty of cool merch including a killer t-shirt!) direct from the makers here. For more information, check out the film's official Facebook page. Give it a LIke while you're there too, these guys deserve your support!

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Until next time, I hope you enjoyed your stay.


  1. Awesome review thanks so much!

    Lengyel writer /director of scarred

    1. Thank you for taking the time to read it, it was a very cool movie!