Theme parks are inherently creepy, especially when they are empty, and at night, and so make natural settings for horror movies. A number of theme park related films have been made, and Scream Park is the latest of these. It isn't a cinematic masterpiece, but it does moderately well.
Fright Land is a theme park on its last legs. It's shutting down tonight, in fact, and its mostly teenage staff decides to have one last party after the gates close to celebrate the end of an era. Jennifer (Wendy Wygant) works the ball toss booth, and reluctantly joins in the festivities, more heartily indulged in by her compatriots Carlee (Kailey Marie Harris) and Tony (Dean Jacobs). Their boss Marty (Steve Rudzinski, an accomplished horror director in his own right) shakes his head and lets the festivities commence.
But something isn't right. Jennifer hasn't been able to find her boyfriend Blake, who also works at the park, all day and there are a couple of mysterious figures lurking about. It seems that the park owner Mr. Hyde (Doug Bradley, who famously portrayed Pinhead) has decided to go to rather extreme lengths to keep the park open. Soon enough, the teens start to die in rather horrible ways: burned to death in a fryer, disemboweled, scalped, etc.
Scream Park doesn't take itself too seriously, and is focused rather on serving up fun kills, over the top gags and excitement than honest to goodness tension or scares. It's moderately tense, and there are a few eerie moments, but this is more an homage to eighties slashers (as director Cary Hill readily admits in the commentary) than a straight horror film. It's not perfect, and that's to be expected with the small budget, but it is enjoyable. The blood and gore are well executed and appropriately exuberant. The performances are pretty good, though Doug Bradley's is so much better than anyone else's that it stands out significantly. The story is original and interesting. The shortcomings of the low budget (such as Rudzinski using a key to lock a door that clearly doesn't require a key) are more than made up for by the rest.
The film commits to its premise, even when it seems a bit ridiculous, and moves forward with total conviction. Steve Rudzinski is always a delight to watch, precisely because of this sort of total commitment, and Wygant is a treat as well. You aren't going to see finely crafted cinema here. It's the film equivalent of a punk band, with lots of inspiration and gusto, but without the money for all the bells and whistles. But you have beautiful people, spraying blood, psychopathic hillbillies, and Doug Bradley. If you enjoy low budget cinema, especially horror films, you'll probably get a lot out of Scream Park. If you don't, I don't know what to do with you. Recommended.