It goes on too long and ends up pretty much where you'd expect, but this playfully scary film is still great fun most of the time, with energetic comedic performances and clever sound and camerawork. Written and directed by Josh Ruben -- who also stars as Fred -- Scare Me feels like it must have originated as a series of improv games, with the wild, springy actors hurling lines and ideas like fastballs. Even in the movie's quiet moments, Ruben plays with horror movie cliches, such as hearing a noise in the basement, opening the door, taking one look, and closing it again without investigating. Cash's arrival ramps things up quite a bit; she's a smart, prickly delight.
But when Redd turns up with the pizza quite a ways into the movie, things start to feel a little too busy -- and a little like showing off. The movie wears out its welcome. Still. Ruben makes the spoken stories wonderfully visual, with shadows, sound effects (both studio-made and mouth-made), characters racing around the cabin, and rhythm-precise cutting, and these tricks go a long way into making things feel more dynamic. Moreover, Scare Me is brave enough to explore male-female power struggles -- specifically, the ways that men can feel threatened by more powerful women -- and to maneuver that into the movie's true terror.