Dead Scared (2004)

Live through this…

Writer Rolfe Kanefskys
Director: Rolfe Kanefsky

Dead Scared (aka ‘The Hazing’) is a comedy horror from Rolfe Kanefsky, whose writing work includes a number of the Emmanuelle films.

The story involves a mixed-sex group of college students undertaking a joint fraternity-sorority initiation ceremony. They must first complete a scavenger hunt then spend the night in a haunted house. Unfortunately for them one of the items on the scavenger list is an ancient magical book owned by Professor Kapps (Brad Dourif). Kapps uses the power of the book to enter the house and also the bodies of various students and kill them off in a variety of more or less amusing ways.

It’s better than it sounds! The plot may be hackneyed and nonsensical but the characters are more interesting than normal and well acted. And there are definitely some laughs around with some good sight gags.

Unfortunately the film isn’t quite funny enough. The best laughs for me were actually during the scavenger hunt where Kanefsky wasn’t weighed down by trying to keep a story going as well. Later on they became rather thin on the ground – and apart from the laughs there’s not much point watching this film. Unless you want flesh and sex, in which case Kanefsky’s Emanuelle experience is definitely on display.

So Dead Scared ends up being… ok. There are some good moments but they probably need a beer or two to help them along.