Let's Scare Julie (2020) Review

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

Let's Scare Julie (2020) Review

Horrorific content by christina on November 06th, 2020 | Movie Review | Thriller, Teen, B-Horror

In real time, a group of teen girls set out to scare the reclusive girl next door but their prank turns to terror when one-by-one, they disappear.

Let’s Scare Julie was directed by Jud Cremata and stars Odessa Adlon, Isabel May, Brooke Sorenson, Jessica Sarah Flaum, Troy Leigh-Anne Johnson, Valorie Hubbard (from Penance) and Dakota Baccelli.

Sometimes a prank comes back to kill you

Let's Scare Julie Review

At first glance, Let’s Scare Julie feels like pretty typical teen horror fodder, and if you’re solely looking at the subject matter, you’d probably be right. This film’s a little more ambitious than it might seem at first glance, though. One of its most significant selling points is that it was shot in a single 85-minute take, a challenging undertaking by any filmmaker’s standards.

However, as any horror lover knows, some challenges turn out to have been better left alone. Which camp does this film fall into? Director/writer Jud Cremata and a cast of little-known but talented young actors bring Let’s Scare Julie to life.  

The plotline of Let’s Scare Julie is super-simple. It centers on a group of teenage girls, some of whom have a mean streak and a penchant for prank-playing. After warming up by playing a prank on one of their group, the girls decide to take things to the next level by targeting a young outsider who’s just moved in across the street, the titular Julie.

Emma (Troy Leigh-Anne Johnson), the outcast of the group, doesn’t like the idea and elects to stay behind while the others stage a break-in to Julie’s home to give her a scare or two. From there, strange events and terror ensue. Julie’s home seems much stranger than the pranksters bargained for and may even house an angry supernatural entity.

It’s clear right from the get-go that Let’s Scare Julie was handled with a lot of care. The team behind it wants it to work, and it absolutely shows. However, viewers should be aware that the finished film isn’t presented as a single take. It was filmed that way, to be sure. The cast and crew also went through the filming process four separate times to ensure absolute excellence. You do see obvious edits in the final cut of the film, though. It doesn’t ruin the experience of watching it, but it may subtract from the undertaking’s magnitude for some viewers.

The plot progression, characters, and events are smartly managed, making terrific use of a very pared-down production. Let’s Scare Julie knows when to show and when to hold back by simply telling instead, letting the viewer’s imagination fill in the blanks. Diehard traditionalists will be happy to know there are a few well-timed jump scares involved, although most of them are auditory instead of visual.

Julie is superb at building suspense without allowing the film to drag too much, as well. Plus, the cast of young mostly-unknown actors is outstanding, each bringing their all to their character and helping the film come alive. Many moments in the film make the viewer feel like these could be girls they knew personally when they were this age.

The film’s underlying message is one of the only things about it that doesn’t quite resonate the way it should. There are also a few moments that feel like they’re building up to a much more dramatic payoff than the audience ultimately gets. Overall, though, Let’s Scare Julie is a really solid effort that commands the viewer’s attention from start to finish. You’re never bored. You want to see how this all plays out, and you feel invested in the characters’ fates.

Worth Watching?

So, should you give this one your time the next time you’re looking for something to stream on-demand? You should, especially if you’re interested in seeing how a one-take film looks on screen. This one should also resonate with younger audiences too.

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