At one point in Joker Scarecrow, a character says “I see nothing, is better if I get my flashlight”. And I knew just how they felt because the film itself is so dark that between his black clothes and beard all I could see was a disembodied bit of face floating in the Romanian night.
A t first I thought director Adam Harrison had taken his cast and crew out into the woods and tried to shoot with natural light. That might work for day scenes, but for a film set mostly after dark, it’s asking for problems. But then the interiors near the film’s end were way too dark as well. I know lights and a power source are expensive but what good is saving money if nobody can see what you shot?
Not that he’s shot anything special. Writer Cristian Rares’ script for Joker Scarecrow is at best a generic slasher that starts in the middle and loops back to tell the story of a family who goes camping and runs into a killer in a raincoat and a burlap sack over their head. The “joker” part of the title refers to the card they give their victim before they kill them.
At its worst, which is where it frequently is, it’s long stretches of nearly invisible characters wandering around in the woods. Actually the ending may well be even worse. I won’t spoil it, despite my urge to rant about it, I’ll just say it’s a cliché that really needs to die.
For almost everyone involved, Joker Scarecrow is their only credit. Which makes sense because this feels like a bunch of friends grabbed a camera and said let’s make a movie. According to the film’s Facebook page, the film was shot for about six hundred USD with no script and no lighting. Unfortunately, none of them seem to have had a clue how to make a film, let alone work around these issues
Just how this managed to get accepted to Amazon Prime is a bigger mystery than anything in the film. Joker Scarecrow is the kind of low-quality, amateur film they claimed to be getting rid of when they purged loads of indie films. And this is amateurish on all levels. . Everything is a mess, from punches that obviously miss their target but still knock people out to a score that’s way too loud and overpowering.
Joker Scarecrow should have been filed away as a learning experience for the cast and crew. Maybe posted to YouTube as a free watch to get opinions and advice for how to improve. But not released and passed off as a professional film for people to pay to see. This makes Mark Polonia at his worst look like John Carpenter. It even makes Scarecrow’s Revenge and Scarecrows of the Third Reich look good.
If you’re feeling masochistic, Joker Scarecrow is available to stream.