27th Jul2014

‘Scar Tissue’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Charity Wakefield, Danny Horn, Kenneth Colley, Daniel Fraser, Helen George, Mark Cameron, Imogen Bain, Shaun Dingwall | Written and Directed by Scott Michell

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Detective Sam Cross (Wakefield) never got the chance for revenge. Twenty years ago, her sister became the last victim of serial child killer Edward Jansen, moments before he was shot dead by a police SWAT team. But now, decades later, he’s back. Luke Denham (Horn) is a normal guy living a normal life until he wakes up one morning to find a mutilated corpse in his bathroom. When the police find Jansen’s DNA all over the crime scene, Luke and Sam are thrown together on a mission to uncover the truth and stop the long-dead psychopath who stalks and taunts them…

Opening with a creepy and eerie sequence set in child killer Edward Jansen’s “lair”, Scar Tissue kicks things off in super fashion, with some fantastic effects work (dead kids heads wrapped, across the eyes, with barbed wire anyone?) that is, thankfully for a British production, only the start of things to come. If you can say anything about director Scott Michell, it’s that he has a great eye for creating striking visuals – from the flashbacks to Edward Jansen’s handiwork to the sleazy sex-club Luke Denham and his friends hang out at, to the lingering gore scenes and the kinetic action sequences, Michell brings everything together superbly to tell his story.

It’s not all roses though, Scar Tissue does succumb to some modern horror cliches, none more so than it lifts the killers voice and “game-like” interactions with Cross and Denham from Saw, plus there’s one to many chav-tastic characters for my liking – which no doubt will date the films in years to come. But otherwise this is a decently-crafted supernatural serial-killer horror that surprise, surprise turned out to be a bloody good watch!

I’ll admit I did have my expectations set to low for this British serial killer flick but even I had no idea how much I’d come to enjoy the film. Turns out between the well-plotted story, superb gore and a brilliant central performance from actress Charity Wakefield (Casualty, Agatha Christie’s Marple) there’s a LOT to like about this nasty British cross between Saw, Seven and Shocker.

Besides the great performance from Wakefield (who needs more badass roles like this rather than the TV drama she’s previously been seen in), what really raises Scar Tissue above its British brethren is the films denouement. Whilst the final reveal seemingly comes out of left-field, everything comes together in fantastic fashion, flipping the entire film on its head and turning a mere serial killer flick into a wonderful morality tale, asking age-old questions about nature vs. nurture and the idea of reincarnation. Doing what all good horror films do – acting as a reflection of humanity, be it good or evil.

An accomplished second feature from writer/director Scott Michell, Scar Tissue is on limited release in cinemas now; before coming to DVD and VOD on August 4th.

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