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Scarce - horror DVD review
SCARCE Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America curledupdvd.com rating: 2 stars
Actors: Steve Warren, Gary Fischer, Thomas Webb, Chris Warrilow, Stephanie Banting
Directors: John Geddes, Jessie T. Cook   Distributor: Critical Mass Releasing
DVD release: 05 May 2009   Runtime: 93 minutes (1 disc)
Format: Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, Widescreen, NTSC
DVD features: 16:9 widescreen, Audio tracks (English - Dolby Surround 5.0), Frostbitten - The Making of Scarce, Audio commentary (dir. John Geddes & Jesse T. Cook), Audio commentary (production design & set designers Cody Calahan and Gavin Peacock)

I admit that I enjoy horror movies, but I also admit that it is hard sometimes to explain or defend them. Movies such as Scarce make it even harder. Though some moments are quite effective, this film is still pretty much a gore and torture-porn fest that becomes more reprehensible than frightening.

The plot: three male friends driving home from a snowboarding trip in Colorado find themselves lost on the back roads of Pennsylvania during a blizzard. After making a regrettable detour to a greasy diner full of inbred cretins (you know the diner is full of ignorant and stupid people if the wall of the diner has a large portrait of George W. Bush on it, har-diddly-har-har), the young men have an accident and end up in an isolated cabin. While trying to ride out the storm, they soon find themselves at the mercy of the cabin's owner, who, along with two partners, has a taster for a certain kind of meat. Can the friends escape before they end up on the menu?

Some aspects of this film are quite well done and scary. Steve Warren as the main villain is quite fearsome and repulsive. Also, like Hostel, it offers a change of pace in that all the potential victims are males rather than screaming females. Third, the final chase sequence does create some tension.

However, the final shots ruin all the dramatic tension by collapsing into a gore-fest that is not scary but instead repugnant and offensive. Some plot points are flat out missed and show sloppiness on the part of the directors (one character is supposed to have a compound fracture of his shin, yet he is able to run through the snow later. When one victim finds a gun, why unload all 15 shots into one villain, when he should know there are three running around?).

Finally, the film is obviously made in Canada, as all the characters have thick Canadian accents, save for opening shots actually filmed in Colorado (the Colorado scenes seem like a total waste of production costs, as the only scenes in Colorado are from a beer party in a hotel room). Why set the film in Pennsylvania, then, unless it is all meant to be yet another dig at the U.S. by some of our supposed friends in the Great White North?

In short, though there are some effective moments, Scarce is ultimately the type of gory mess that makes horror films hard to defend. Scarce also describes the number of times this film will be in my DVD player in the foreseeable future.

A making-of feature, plus two commentary tracks, one with the directors and the other with the production and set designers.  
reviewed by Trent Daniel
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