Taking place in one
continuous shot – obviously through editing trickery – Let’s Scare Julie follows a group of teenage girls with a penchant for pranks. Emma (Troy Leigh-Anne Johnson) and her little sister Lilly have recently lost their parents and are now living with their cousin Taylor (Isabel May). During a late-night hangout, their group of friends decides to prank-scare the new neighbor, Julie, whom they have never met. It seems like a good idea until the teens start disappearing one by one while lost in the house. Turns out the girls have a past with a prank gone wrong, and it is now catching up with them.
Let’s Scare Julie never ends up diving too deep into its general plot. Newly orphaned Emma is hesitant to take part in the scare, but, other than repeatedly letting us know her parents are dead, her story isn’t fleshed out in any meaningful manner. Too, the story of Taylor’s deeply depressed father is barely touched on, though there is a scene that may or may not suggest events from his past. It’s hard to say – the movie does not give us much to go on.
I do have to give props to first-time writer/director Jud Cremata for going the continuous shot route with what I can only assume is a small budget. The technique adds to the tension with text messages and phone calls coming in real-time, adding some urgency to an otherwise slow-moving plot. The latter is not a criticism, as Let’s Scare Julie’s build is perfectly eerie.
On the flip-side, I can’t help but wonder if the film at some point ran out of money, as key points to the lore and back-story are never fully fleshed out. I am still confused about what Julie’s history is and how it plays in with the prank that went wrong. And what was the deal with that prank, anyway? I still don’t get it.
Vagueness can often be the perfect seed for a good mind-bender; I’m just not sure if it was planned as such here.
All things considered, I still enjoyed Let’s Scare Julie well enough, and apparently more than most. The girls do a solid acting job, and the movie is genuinely creepy. Is it a must-watch? No, but it’s very much worth a shot if you want something different from the same-ol’.
I have never watched Let’s Scare Jessica to Death and do not know what similarities Let’s Scare Julie has to the 1971 classic. Seeing the original title of this movie was Let’s Scare Julie to Death, I would assume there are some parallels at least.
Letterboxd summary: When a group of teen girls set out to scare the reclusive girl next door, what seems like a simple prank goes horribly wrong.
Ratings from around the web
|One Star Classics||3/6|