Scar Tissue (2014)

Happy 21st birthday Luke! Have a drink, go to a strip club and get a lapdance! In the morning you’ll feel like crap… especially because someone’s dumped the dead body of your friend in your bathtub. After removing her eyes, of course.

Things get even weirder when Luke (Danny Horn) is sent a video telling him to seek out a young woman in a bar. Worried he’s been set up, Luke escapes the crime scene and seeks out the woman.

As it turns out, years beforehand a serial killer was gunned down by the cops for kidnapping children and removing their eyes. Is he back from the dead? And if so, why is he focusing on poor old Luke?

Teaming up with self-professed nutjob and suspended police sergeant Sam (Charity Wakefield), Luke begins a journey into a dark and disturbing hunt for a killer who he might just have something in common with…

Scar Tissue is a British horror-thriller-whodunnit that unfortunately suffers because of its low budget, but is somewhat redeemed by some decent acting and some great direction and cinematography.

While the story and script are a little clichéd in places, the grim and gritty depiction of London – with all its dreary alleyways and none of its landmarks – makes it a lot better than most low-budget UK cop thrillers. Creator Scott Michell is certainly a better director than he is a writer, and hopefully has a long career ahead of him.

Occasionally Scar Tissue does slip into the ridiculous; the needlessly sweary and over-the-top copper D.I. Hackman (Mark Cameron) is screamingly absurd and it’s difficult to suspend your disbelief that Charity Wakefield’s Sam is somehow a suspended police sergeant even though she looks about twenty-two.

Wakefield and co, however, do very well with relatively pedestrian material, and Danny Horn does especially well to hold the film together as the likeably-lost Luke. Even when the scenes drag on longer than necessary, they’re still enjoyable.

The major complaint with Scar Tissue would be the ‘whodunnit’ element. Posing as a investigative horror-thriller, first questioning who murdered Luke’s friend, then revealing it must be the ghost / zombie of a serial killer and finally leading to (relatively ludicrous) actual reveal, there is rarely any sense of wonder in this.

As we don’t follow the investigation from a cop’s point of view, all we have is Luke and suspended-Sam running around London desperately trying to put two-and-two together. There’s no sense they won’t work it out, so you’ll find yourself patiently waiting for the result, which just turns up and – as it turns out – would’ve appeared even if Luke and Sam had sat in Fat Boy’s Diner for two days drinking Hobgoblin beers and shagging. It may leave some audiences hollow as there’s actually very little investigation in this murder mystery.

Scar Tissue certainly earns its UK 18 Certificate, with nudity, sex, violence and a number of eyeless dead girls to upset the BBFC with. Sometimes this feels a little unnecessary – the claustrophobic strip club / brothel serves literally zero purpose yet is visited multiple times – but the dark and grim horrors on display are well done and surprisingly disquieting.

Overall Scar Tissue is a reasonable addition to the low-budget UK thriller-horror-whodunnit film subgenre, but adds little new or particularly innovative to it.

Rating: ★★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆

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