Reel Advice from the Video Store Guy
By Steve Anderson
June 1st, 2015

Scary or Die

Scary or Die
Directed by Bob Badway, Michael Emanuel
Written by Bob Badway, Michael Emanuel
Starring Bill Oberst Jr, Corbin Bleu, Derrick Jones

Multi-vignette horror has kind of gone out of style of late, in that we don't see too much of it going on lately. This time, though, we'll see it come back in a grand, over-the-top, and wholly hit-or-miss style that's oddly compelling, if for no other reason than to see where it will go next.

"Scary or Die" follows a mysterious website of the same name, and in much the same way as Funny or Die exists, a series of short videos that viewers watch and declare either "Scary" or "Die".

The first vignette, "The Crossing," follows two racist rednecks and their redneck girlfriend who, somehow, may have triggered a zombie apocalypse while misguidedly trying to defend the border from illegal Mexican immigrants via the simple expedient of mass homicide. The second one, "TaeJung's Lament," follows a widower whose life has been collapsing since he lost his wife. But she may not be as far away as he believes. When a new opportunity for love arises, meanwhile, even though it needs to start off with a beating, the end result may be stranger than anyone expected. The third, "Re-Membered" gives us a murder-for-hire plot that doesn't go off according to what should have been a straightforward plot. The fourth, "Clowned" introduces us to that charming gent on the box art, as a charming young drug dealer with a surprising love of family finds himself attacked by an unlikely threat. The last, "Lover Come Back," brings a spurned lover back from the dead to seek revenge on her cheating husband. But while she proceeds to her unearthly revenge, she recounts the relationship, and where it all went wrong.

I think about the time in the first vignette that I saw corpses raised from the dead by a combination of piss and mystery hooch, I knew I was in for a serious problem here. Something had gone either very, very wrong in the system or had gone so wrong that it swung back around to right. When that was promptly followed up by some of the most sedate, oddly nonchalant horror I'd seen in some time, that's when things only got more ludicrous.

The third one was kind of sludgy, in all honesty, but when the fourth one could actually bust out a line like "I can't believe you got bit by a clown!" with a straight face, I'd gone clear back around to so-wrong-it's-right territory. And the fifth ends things on the worst of notes: dull. This whole title is feast or famine. It starts out with feast, drops into famine, picks back up to feast and it ends the whole thing on famine again.

Special features include English and French language tracks, an interview with Corbin Bleu, another with Michael Emmanuel, special features on the characters from "The Crossing," and trailers for "Parasitic," and "Scary or Die."

"Scary or Die" has some really impressive parts to it, but it's bogged down by so much of its lesser portions that it's hard to get off the ground. Had it pulled one of the weaker features, it still would have been a feast-or-famine proposition, but as it is, it's still leaning toward famine. A decent rental, sure, but far from the greatest.