The cast and crew of the second sequel to a trashy horror flick are dying for production on their strictly-for-profit film to wrap. Then they start dying. Literally. My awful prose aside, Fright Flick is a B-grade independent horror comedy in which someone starts killing the people shooting the aforementioned crappy sequel. Fright Flick is not particularly polished or professional, but the film is a decent low-budget satire.
One might describe Fright Flick as a cheaper amalgam of Scream and The Player, as it seeks to lampoon both the horror genre and the overall ridiculousness of Hollywood. Stuck in a small town and shooting on a shoestring budget, the crew of Fright Flick (the movie within the movie, that is) is not blind to the travesty being committed to celluloid. The big-breasted airhead lead, her clueless boyfriend and all manner of other horror clichés are ripe for the picking as the crew groans through the extended shoot. The characters realize they are making a film about as good as the one viewers are watching.
Just when it seems the crew will get the future classic in the can unscathed, members of the production team start getting brutally murdered. Actresses are impaled and production assistants run over in some chuckle-worthy scenes of extreme gore. Fright Flick then becomes a good-natured riff on Clue as its young leads attempt to uncover the killer.
Shot for an estimated $100,000, Fright Flick is decidedly low-budget, but much of the film looks better than its production ledger would indicate. Director Israel Luna, of cult favorite Ticked-Off Trannies With Knives fame, has a decent eye for shot composition and seems to understand the comedic timing that makes self-referential films like those in the Scream series successful. Fright Flick both embraces and satirizes the worst parts of the horror genre, and the behind-the-scenes bickering is often quite amusing.
Unfortunately, limited resources render Fright Flick inconsistent as a whole. There are several shots of impressive gore, achieved with the kind of practical effects that made Night of the Living Dead and Halloween the stuff of legend, but a number of other kills are either off-screen or shot unconvincingly. The same hit-and-miss quality also applies to the narrative and acting. There is some decently clever commentary on schlock filmmaking within Fright Flick, but there is also some dreadful dialogue and a ton of boring exposition.
As a horror fan, I appreciate a good-faith independent genre effort. Fright Flick's blend of satire and horror is often uneven, but it's apparent that the filmmakers and cast had a lot of fun making the movie. Fans of the genre could do worse than to grab a couple of cold beers and give Fright Flick a spin.
Breaking Glass Pictures presents Fright Flick in anamorphic widescreen on this DVD. The filmmakers didn't have a ton of money to throw at the screen, so Fright Flick doesn't look perfect. I noticed some noisy shots, and saw some moiré effects on walls and window blinds. Highlights are a little blown out, and night scenes get a little murky. Despite this lack of polish, Fright Flick looks decent. There are no instances of obtrusive digital sharpening, and detail, texture and colors all are strong.
The film's 5.1 surround track is only average due to some audio glitches. Dialogue tends to be clear and well-balanced, but the score almost always overshadows this dialogue or the film's effects. The track is mostly front-loaded, but the surrounds are occasionally used for emphasis. The audio glitches involve transitions in and out of the score. At several points during the film, the score abruptly stops and then almost instantly picks back up. I also noticed what sounded like some botched sound bridges, which resulted in clipped dialogue and effects.
A couple of nice extras reveal the cast and crew had a great time making Fright Flick. The Guts of Fright Flick (18:46) is a behind-the-scenes documentary that heavily emphasizes how the filmmakers achieved the film's gory deaths. Also included are a bunch of deleted scenes (22:23) and a blooper reel (8:25), as well as a slideshow of images from the film, the film's trailer and some bonus previews.
Like a low-budget homage to both The Player and Scream, Fright Flick lampoons the horror genre while embracing its well-worn clichés. Uneven pacing and budget limitations threaten to overshadow some clever humor and accomplished gore, but Fright Flick manages to stay decently entertaining. Horror fans will likely want to Rent It.
William lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, and looks forward to a Friday-afternoon matinee.