SCAREWAVES

Anthology horror returns

Note: Rerunning my review in honor of the DVD release.

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SCAREWAVES (2014) DIRECTOR: Henrique Couto CAST: Erin R. Ryan, JoAnna Lloyd, Joni Durian PLOT: Nighttime DJ spins scary stories in this anthology horror fest 4 Knives IMHO: SCAREWAVES is not director Henrique Couto’s first foray into the field of anthology filmmaking. But his last time out in that subgenre (Faces of Schlock, if memory serves), he was only one of multiple contributors. This time out, the whole damn film is his. And it’s one of his best, to boot. Using a mouthy, hilarious radio talk show host who specializes in the fringe as a wraparound tale for four more scary stories, SCAREWAVES sets out to present Couto’s signature style applied to a classic and beloved (by some, at least) subset of horror storytelling. The first story is a titty-riffic take on the evil artist as model after model are sacrificed to … what? Sad loss of boobies if you ask me. Nevertheless, it’s a cool little mystery with a retro vibe plot-wise. The next tale on tap is also retro-minded (awesomeness!) and it’s also a bit of a genre-bender, to boot. For much of the second story’s running time, it feels like a gritty noir tale right off the pages of a Jim Thompson novel or some other such classic crime pulp. The denouement is all horror, however. So fear not. It’s like SCAREWAVES channels E.C. Comics the whole time, only it’s “Crime Suspense Stories” throughout the first two thirds of the segment, but then “Tales from the Crypt” steps up to the plate for the climax of this dark, multi-genre-stitching segment of Couto’s fearful film. To boot, the dialog is wicked and sharp and the kinetic ending is abrupt but nonetheless a satisfying conclusion to the director’s redux of anthology horror archetypes. SCAREWAVE’s third offering is involved with a security guard and an ex-cop – a former police officer whose “ex” status means in truth that he was recently fired for one too many trigger-happy instances. The violence-inclined, just-fired lawman is a man whose aggressive behavior puts him in poor stead. He walks the halls of an empty nighttime office building. Or is it empty? Memory, mood and mayhem ensue in an intriguing horror-themed character study. Finally, there is the matter of the philandering. Could any good E.C.-referencing fright flick overlook a tale of illicit lovers and dirty deeds gone south? Hardly. Certainly not SCAREWAVES. In this case, a sexy little homewrecker grows more and more frustrated with her ball-less fop of a (married) boyfriend who’s just too much of a big ol’ droopy pussy to just go ahead, man up, and bash in his fucking wife’s cranium. Just what the hell does a mistress have to do? She even bought him the fucking hammer, for Christ’s sake!!!! Funny and frightening dream sequences elevate this, rather than bog it down, as is far, far, FAR too often the case! Typically I roll my eyes like an obsessive-compulsive, out-of-his-gourd hipster at dream sequences, but sometimes they just plain old effin’ work. Know what I mean? Any horror fan who has taken the time for even a cursory glance at the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise will acknowledge this, if they’re fair. This sequence of Couto’s SCAREWAVES also provides some high points among scare fare nightmares, standing alongside Craven and company as an example for other films to follow. Kudos, Couto! As for the wraparound tale, it’s very simple but briskly executed, one of the segments really showing off the brains involved in SCAREWAVES (the other sequence being No. 2, with its criminal plotting and snappy dialog). Couto is nothing if not intelligent and it shows in all his films, any of which, in the wrong hands, would be the stuff of bad B flickness. Anyway, this wraparound tale is too tiny and too good for me to risk saying much of anything at all. It’s a buildup to revelation, a revelation available only by watching SCAREWAVES. Or by finding a less scrupulous reviewer.

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