The concept of 1…2…3…SCREAM (A.K.A. End of the Road) is part of what drew me in. It’s an early 2000’s romp into a group of people coming together to create a pilot for a paranormal investigation show when things eventually take a turn for the ghastly. It’s not a found footage film, but more a step up from the Sci-Fi Channel originals from that era.

In fact, our opening scene is basically just that. In the beginning we get our bulk of talent in quick cameos, Michael Dorn from Star Trek: The Next Generation (and Star Trek: Deep Space 9), Robert Picardo from Star Trek: Voyager (and Star Trek: First Contact), and also director/actor of the horror film, Restoration (Zack Ward). And then they’re gone. Poof, bye bye. Movie magic!

Much like these fajitas:

1…2…3…SCREAM – The Plot

Enter our actual stars, Morgan (Michael Chandler) a cameraman and Cricket (Dick Spenneberg), his right hand and tech manager who I thought was Nick Swardson for about ten minutes (sorry). 

They’ve been hired to shoot a pilot for a new ghost hunting show in the middle of nowhere (but a pretty nowhere – with a cabin, lake, mountainside view, and running toilets). Along with them is director, D.J. (Jerome Murdock); hosts Stephanie and Nina; attractive female Eve (Danielle James); and (hold onto your hats) a rare out-of-makeup Doug Jones with a clumsy British accent! 

picture of doug jones and using British slang. he's very tall.

Doug Jones plays a character with a Ph.D. of Exposition– I mean, of the paranormal. It is an adorable performance without the usual “British paranormal-expert snobbery” that’s basically standard issue for the role. We’ll talk about this more later. 

But, as our team sets up and begins to get acquainted, strange and spooky things begin to happen. Maybe the tales are true. Maybe the ghosts are real!

But after one major accident, they begin to uncover the truth and nothing will ever be the same…

1…2…3…SCREAM – Thoughts:

As cheesy early 2000’s as it was (“cool-guy” rock soundtrack blaring, dick jokes, corny one-liners and all), I liked the set up and first act of the movie. I was in it. Rarely we see a movie from just a studio perspective when it comes to paranormal shows and the in’s and out’s of the job. I liked the idea that something more could be out there and these ‘jaded Los Angeles’ types could find something to shake their core. 

It was the second act that led to disappointment and by the third act I was checking my watch. The twist at the end was the last straw and, honestly, felt like a slap in the face. 

I don’t mind twist endings. I like them, actually, especially when I don’t see them coming. But this one…man…it just took the wind out of my sails. It felt like watching the end of a Full House special episode and I shouldn’t feel that in a horror movie; I shouldn’t feel that cloying, oozing saccharine nonsense forced down my protesting throat. 

brannyk in the rat trap of the book/movie 1984

It would have worked better if trimmed majorly down and used as an episode to a show or as a part in an anthology, or just cut the ending entirely. Sure, it’s a good bookend, but it doesn’t give much to the story and characters. On paper, it works; on the actual screen, it’s painful to watch and endure.

1…2…3…SCREAM – Brain Roll Juice:

Why am I so excited about Doug Jones?

If you don’t know who Doug Jones is, the sad fact is that you probably do but don’t know it. He’s actually mostly known for his bodywork. That is to say, he’s usually under pounds of unrecognizable makeup. From everything from Hocus Pocus to Pan’s Labyrinth to The Bye Bye Man to Hellboy. He was also the creature in The Shape of Water (mad props for fish ballroom dancing, btw). 

His usual bodywork acting is amazing, so to see him just playing a normal dude is refreshing and a treat. He takes the character out of the holier-than-thou Ivory Tower that we usually see with this trope, and gives him actual warmth, compassion and honesty. Like a less stuck up Giles from Buffy the Vampire Slayer show.

He has lines! He has exposition! He has facial expressions! Watch him go! Lovely. 

1…2…3…SCREAM – The Damage

I don’t want to EVEN talk about it. No, no, I hate it. The damage is on the viewer, not the characters.

Bottomline: 

It might be fun for a group drunk-movie-night, but plan on being very drunk and playing on your phone for most of it.

2 out of 5 stars (2 / 5)
About the Author

When not howling Tina Turner classics with Glorious Spouse under a Detroit moon, J.M. Brannyk (a.k.a. Boxhuman) reviews mostly supernatural and slasher films from the 70's-90's and is dubiously HauntedMTL's Voice of Reason. Aside from writing, Brannyk dips into the podcasts, and is the composer of many of HauntedMTL's podcast themes.

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