You have to give Melanie Denholme credit. The British horror actress wrote, co-directed and starred in Anna: Scream Queen Killer, a film that tries to be inventive and new, and to shake up the genre. Unfortunately, it largely falls flat, despite her interesting presence and effective performance.
And part of the reason why it fails is that it is so very different than what the normal moviegoer, let alone horror fans, expect. Denholme is the only performer, other than an entirely mute off screen person who operates the camera. She interacts with the cameraman (presumably played by co-director The Aquinas), but with no one else. In fact, no one else is seen for the entirety of the film, though we do see various body parts of the cameraman.
Denholme plays Anna, a young actress hungry for work, who agrees to meet a man who claims to be making a film, for an audition. The man has written up a series of scenarios that he wants Anna to act out, while he films, silent. The scenarios get more disturbing and involved as time goes on. The total timeframe is never explicitly stated, but it appears to go on from at least several days to possibly a few weeks.
While Anna is sometimes disturbed by the requests and actions of the cameraman (he often asks her to play out sexual situations, including a rape scene, and it's difficult to tell if actual penetration is ever supposed to have happened) but she only really complains about it after the fact, never breaking character in the moment.
Denholme does a better than decent job portraying the naïve young actress, though it is hard to believe at times that she would continue with the endeavor. Payment never seems to come up, so we don't know if there is a financial component to her cooperation, but as things continue, it should be obvious that this fellow has no real plans to make a film.
These moments of incredulity tend to undercut Denholme's performance, and reduce its effectiveness. This is not helped by the almost total lack of a plot of any kind. There is no thread connecting these scenes, except that they have been requested to play out by the cameraman. The story just shifts from scene to scene, each one a new beginning and totally encapsulated. The ending is abrupt and unsatisfying.
So, while Anna: Scream Queen Killer is an intriguing, experimental film, it ultimately doesn't work. There is a subset of horror fans that will enjoy this, but one has to keep one's expectations pretty low. Denholme has talent and personality, but this can't overcome the lack of narrative. Rent it.
The video is 1.78:1 widescreen, and looks okay. It can be a bit murky, and there is a hint of aliasing from time to time. However, this review is based on a check disc, so no comment can be made on the quality of the final product.
Audio is Dolby 2 channel, and is also unexceptional. There are a couple of times where the audio is out of sync with the video, but these are short lived. No subtitles or alternate language tracks are included. However, this review is based on a check disc, so no comment can be made on the quality of the final product.
There are a couple of extras included: a segment from a YouTube channel hosted by Denholme, discussing how to do sex and rape scenes vividly, and a series of trailers. However, this review is based on a check disc, so no comment can be made on the quality or quantity of extras on the final product.
Denholme has what seems to be an interesting idea in Anna: Scream Queen Killer, but one that is inherently self-limiting. Audiences just won't sit still for an hour plus of one person acting out various horror scenarios by herself, even when she's as attractive as Denholme, and as scantily clad. There simply is no drama, and that's what pulls audiences in.