Jud Cremata (director)
24 October 2020 (released)
25 October 2020
The maelstrom of conversation that follows the prank that four friends play on Emma (Troy Leigh-Anne Johnson) right at the start of the film, I am reliably informed is totally authentic. For around 15 – 20 minutes the babble is at times incoherent to the viewer, if not the adolescent girls in the group. It’s a matter of sitting back and picking out the salient points that develop the idea and the plot. It is a fantastic piece of intimate filmmaking from writer and director Jud Cremata in this one take film.
What emerges is an idea to scare new neighbour Julie. A spooky story from Taylor (Isabel May) about the old owners and the new galvanises the four friends. Emma is something of an outsider being Taylor’s cousin, staying at Taylor’s home because of a bereavement and not knowing the other three.
Coerced by Taylor into getting the key from her drunk passed out father (Blake Robbins), Emma has another prank pulled on her by the masked four friends and they are off across the road. What feels like seconds later Paige (Jessica Sarah Flaum) returns terrified and that the group had been split up.
But there is confusion as Madison (Odessa A’zion) reappears and Taylor has gone to the airport to pick up her mother. Another complication is Lily (Dakota Baccelli), Emma’s young sister, who gets pulled into the mess as she disappears returning to the house with Madison to look for Jess (Brooke Sorenson), eventually (and naturally) forcing Emma to go over and look for her sister.
The one take method is usually not as there are tricks that can be used. Nevertheless Let’s Scare Julie is a highly effective chiller relying mainly on hand held camera generating equal dread, tension and actual scares as opposed to just jumps. The lighting and production are exceptional for a low budget film making the imaginative use of shade and shapes within the houses.
This isn’t just a technical exercise though as throughout the film the actors’ conversation flesh out the characters and backstories. And the players are fantastic, appearing totally natural either during the verbal storm at the beginning, the quieter sections and as the confusion starts to build their terror is palpable and believable.
Let’s Scare Julie had its European Premiere at the October FrightFest on 24 October.