Scar Tissue, 2013
Written and directed by Scott Michell
Starring Danny Horn, Charity Wakefield, Kenneth Colley, Daniel Fraser, Mark Cameron, Shaun Digwall and Imogen Bain
A young man is stalked by a serial killer who supposedly died decades ago.
Imagine watching a thriller that is heavily based in reality with a gritty, grounded vibe. It’s a bit odd at times and the acting isn’t very good, but the film is playing itself very seriously. Then imagine that movie takes a right sharp turn from serious to silly in a matter of seconds as its final act twist comes to fruition. A twist that turns this once grounded movie into a bizarre Twilight Zone-esque direction that doesn’t fit with the first two thirds. Hard to imagine, but such a thing exists – and it’s called Scar Tissue.
Luke is your everyday handsome lad who has a pretty mental night while out for his birthday. He then wakes up to find his friend dead in his bathroom, cut to ribbons. Through a cryptic message, he tracks down policewoman Sam who is currently removed from duty due to her volatile nature of being a rebel who doesn’t play by the rules. With a little help, the pair discover the DNA on the victim is from a serial killer who has been dead for 20 years. They must now work together to solve this riddle and discover the (frankly insane) truth.
Scar Tissue is a British movie, but it clearly wants to be American. Sam is the American cop-movie cop who plays by her own rules, has a drinking problem and lives in the apartment of someone who has “given their life to the force, and they gave nothing back”. She drives an American muscle car and Luke meets her in an American diner. It would be odd if it was isolated to her character, but the whole of Scar Tissue feels like a movie that was written to made in America but was then forced to be produced in Britain and the script wasn’t changed to reflect its new surroundings. There is a point in the final act where lines of dialogue have to be squeezed in to justify why the two police offers are carrying guns.
You could be forgiven for thinking that Scar Tissue is a parody of American cop thrillers, but it takes itself so seriously and there isn’t a hint of self-awareness in its final twist to even suggest this. All of the actors have been directed to act like American characters and it comes off as a little stupid. Charity Wakefield in particular is hilariously bad as Sam but at least there is something to be said about her unlike the blandness that is Danny Horn. His blank expression and lack of charisma makes it really difficult to care about his character, which then becomes a massive issue as the final act rolls in.
And what a final act it is. While there really aren’t any positives to say about Scar Tissue, it’s almost worth watching just to see the barmy twist. People will often watch these movies and be able to guess where the picture is heading, but Scar Tissue gives zero hints about its direction so the reveal comes completely out of left field with no warning signs. One minute Scar Tissue is one movie and then in just a few lines of dialogue it becomes a totally different one. With smarter writing, this twist might have had some relevant impact, but Scott Michell was clearly so caught up in the idea of “shocking” people that the reveal is utterly worthless and completely preposterous.
Scar Tissue is not a good movie. It’s poorly written, it’s poorly acted, its plot is poor and – above all – it’s disappointing. The simple premise actually showed signs of promise in the early going and Michell does keep interest up right until the reveal. In fact the opening scene and credit sequence are brilliantly put together and actually quite tense and gripping, but it falls apart at the seams quickly and descends into a wacky madness that is almost baffling to explain. Scar Tissue is a truly bizarre movie, and not in a good way.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ / Movie: ★
Luke Owen is one of Flickering Myth’s co-editors and the host of the Flickering Myth Podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @LukeWritesStuff.