Originally published on So So Gay on 21 July 2014.
20 years have passed since Detective Sam Cross (Charity Wakefield) lost her sister at the hands of maniacal serial child-killer Edward Jansen, who was gunned down moments later, denying Cross an opportunity for revenge. However, now in the present day, it appears Jansen is back, leaving a fresh victim in the bathroom of an unsuspecting average Joe, Luke Denham (Danny Horn). This grisly turn of events finds Sam and Luke thrown together as they proceed to try and unravel the truth behind this, and subsequent murders at the apparent hand of the long-dead Jansen.
Opening with the rather campy, over the top demise of Jansen – a slightly strange opening tone to set – we’re soon thrown into Cross’ dark quest for uncovering the truth about the psychopath’s apparent back-from-the-dead killing spree. Wakefield does a believable job as the messed up and hard-edged Cross, having a whiff of social reject Nikita about her, while Horn successfully conveys a wide-eyed Luke who’s unexpectedly embroiled in a grim investigation when he wakes up to find he’s sharing his flat with the corpse of his best friend.
The film has an impressive gloss for a low budget film, and the cast does a decent enough job of bringing the script to life, even if the dialogue is a little clunky in places. Cross in particular is a captivating, if surprisingly unlikable character, though she’s not alone. One of the major flaws of Scar Tissue, being the peril and jeopardy ride that it aims to be, is that there’s no one in the film that you particularly want to root for. Furthermore, some of the supporting cast seems either miscast or rather poorly realised; though both Wakefield and Horn manage to compensate for this to some degree.
Another failing of this film is that it’s also fairly light on the scare factor. And if you’re after blood and gore, bar a couple of instances, the film’s 18 rating may be slightly misleading – this is more a thriller than a horror film. To make matters worse, while the pedigree of the soundtrack composer, Mark Ayres, includes work on Doctor Who back in the 80s, his score here seems to jar loudly rather than create nuanced suspense and drama.
That all said, the endgame of the film is an interesting and slightly complex conceptual variant on the usual bad seed/born evil trope, so more’s the pity then that other cliches weren’t similarly avoided. The rather throwaway romantic entwining of Sam and Luke is as inevitable as it is pointless – it’s always nice when a male and female protagonist of a similar age and same sexual persuasion don’t end up bonking.
At just over 100 minutes, Scar Tissue does at least have the good sense not to hang about. While the execution may be a little sub-par in places, the film is an enjoyable enough, murderous ride and with a pleasing climax.
Scar Tissue is in cinemas from 25 July and available on DVD and on-demand from 4 August.