18th Dec2020

‘Let’s Scare Julie’ VOD Review

by Kevin Haldon

Stars: Troy Leigh-Anne Johnson, Isabel May, Odessa A’zion, Brooke Sorenson, Jessica Sarah Flaum, Dakota Baccelli, Blake Robbins | Written and Directed by Jud Cremata

Okay, so the whole “one take” style of movie making is becoming quite the gimmick. Rarely is it done to perfection and more often than not it really hinders the creative vision and harms the final product. If your going to use a gimmick like “one take” you have to nail it! I personally subscribe to the Haunting of Hill House or [Netflix Original] Extraction philosophy – which is if you have a crazy complicated badass 15-20 minute period that would be better served as a one-shot, that’s where you do it. This way you end up with an audience that never shuts up about the opening of Hill House Episode 5!

The other thing is,  if you are going to commit to it then you can’t really retroactively make edits in post because something just wasn’t working. I did read one article where these guys claimed to have filmed this over four nights, each night being one continuous shot and I have to say that’s bloody impressive for these young stars to not just knock it out the park once but four times. The amount of moving parts to make that happen is no mean feat!

For some reason that is vaguely explained to us throughout the movie Emma (Troy Leigh-Johnson) has moved into her cousin Taylor’s (Isabel May) house with her younger sister. Taylor and her friends are very keen pranksters and after playing a prank on Emma they come up with a plan to play a prank on the reclusive shy “Burn Victim” neighbor Julie across the street. Leaving Emma behind in the house the other four girls head across the road to scare Julie. We as a viewer stay with Emma as strange goings on begin to happen around her. Upon the return of one of the other girls Paige, we find that something evil this way comes.

Despite any issues I have with the film, all the young actresses in Let’s Scare Julie are really solid and putting in some good performances. Isabel May sticks out like a sore thumb in terms of performance but this was no surprise as I saw her in Netflix show Alexa and Katie (shuddup I have daughters). It would have been nice to see more of her though or even have a logical explanation as to where she went. Yeah all these girls are spot on and if they truly shot this whole thing four nights running in one take then that is impressive. I reiterate this point because I think the reason this flick failed for me was poor execution of the concept and not a great script.

I do applaud writer/director Jud Cremata for the vision and the drive to create the movie this way but somewhere along the way it was decided to make edits and cuts from the various takes; cuts that are not done that smoothly. Also doing this hinders the story because now I can only spend my time with one character. Normally that’s not a problem for me but here it’s an issue – especially when we see the four girls heading into the house and then later find one of them didn’t actually go in, instead running off to pick her mum up from the airport… Leaving me scratching my head as to when the hell that could of happened! There are a couple of instances of me questioning the films logic AND believability but let’s move on.

I’d recommend seeing Let’s Scare Julie, if only because “one take” movies are not easy to pull off and it takes a lot of moving parts – making this genuinely pretty impressive. For me it’s not flawlessly done though and there are some off-kilter plot beats which I feel are side effects of the execution. I think if Cremata had gone for a simpler style and focused more on the supernatural side (which barely exists) then there may have been a chance this would of been a more positive review. You don’t have to throw everything including the kitchen sink at a little ghost story…

Let’s Scare Julie has a decent concept, above average acting from some of the key cast but it doesn’t stick the landing.

**½  2.5/5

The film is released on Digital HD on December 21st, courtesy of Signature Entertainment. You can also read a review of Let’s Scare Julie from it’s Frightfest October screening right here.


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