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Scarecrow on Seattle: FRAYED







Every month, Scarecrow Video reviews a film made in the Pacific Northwest for the Seattle Office of Film + Music's e-newsletter.


Frayed (2007)

Though he’s not a household name Tony Doupe is one of Seattle’s hardest working actors. He seems to show up in every other local movie made during the past ten or so years. Often times it is bit parts like “Worker #1” in The Diary of Ellen Rimbaur or “Man #1 in Sports Bar” in Life or Something Like It. But Doupe has also enjoyed some larger roles in noteworthy projects like Megan Griffiths' The Off Hours. Frayed puts the busy actor front and center in a derivative, low-budget horror yarn that features a scary looking clown on a murder rampage. Doupe stars as a small town sheriff named Pat Baker with a tragic and horrific past. Thirteen years ago his wife was brutally beaten to death at his daughter’s birthday party and the crime seems to have been committed by his young son Kurt. Pat has moved forward with his life--raising his daughter, getting remarried, etc. Things seem like they are going fine for the Baker family….until Kurt escapes from a local insane asylum! It is probably best to end the synopsis here as the script of Frayed unleashes an almost absurd series of plot twists and I don’t want to spoil things for anybody.


Frayed was shot mostly in the tiny former mining towns of Carbonado and Wilkeson in Pierce County and Kent spin-off Covington in south King County. There aren’t any particularly noteworthy locations from any of these places but they do offer a good mix of suburbia, remote gas stations, and spooky woods. The most recognizable spot the filmmakers use is Kenmore’s Saint Edward State Park and, in particular, the former Catholic seminary located on the grounds. The seminary has made several cinematic appearances as a school (The Chocolate War, Eden) but in this case it serves as the picture’s insane asylum.


The people behind Frayed certainly have their hearts in the right place with their attempt to make an 80s style slasher film with an emphasis on suspense rather than gore. Unfortunately the script (by five different screenwriters) ends up being fairly predictable if you’ve watched many horror movies as much of the film’s twists are directly borrowed from other, better known, movies. John Carpenter’s original Halloween is, naturally, a big inspiration. There’s also a French film from 2003 that I don’t want to mention as Frayed takes one of its biggest plot twists from this European horror hit. If you manage to forget about all these other films and are to suspend your disbelief for some of the plot twists, Frayed does a decent job with this type of a story and would have been right at home on the shelves of Mom and Pop Video Stores next to the movies from which it found inspiration.—Spenser Hoyt

Frayed is available for rent in our Murder / Mystery / Suspense section.

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