Scalper (2023) is an upcoming slasher horror film, written and directed by Chad Ferrin. Chad is mostly known as the creative mind behind Parasites (2016), The Deep Ones (2020), and Pig Killer (2022). The film is a direct continuation of Chad’s previous film Night Caller (2021), featuring many of the same cast members returning in the same roles.

Just when she thought it was finally safe, those around psychic Clementine Carter are being brutally murdered homogeneous to the previous string of serial slayings. Is there a copycat killer in their midst? Has the original killer returned from beyond the grave? Or has a new horror beyond comprehension risen from the depths? It’s again up to Clementine’s clandestine abilities to keep her and her friends safe and conclusively solve this mystery.

Being a direct sequel to Night Caller (2021), the story in Scalper is heavily tied to the events of its predecessor—plunging the audience back into the terrifying events of a psychotic killer on a rampage. As such, there is little introduction to the characters and the film certainly relies on the viewer having watched the events of the first chapter to fully understand the overarching story. Additionally, Scalper maintains the “who-dun-it” style mystery of the killer’s identity produced in the first film perfectly. Is there a copycat killer on a rampage or, due to the film’s solidification of the supernatural, has the original killer returned from the realm of the dead to enact their revenge? The film is sure to keep the audience guessing until the final, shocking reveal!

As a straight continuation of the story, Scalper sees numerous members of the cast from Night Caller reprise their roles, with Susan Priver, Robert Miano, Bai Ling, Kelli Maroney, to name but a few returning. However, the majority of these characters receive little screen time, seemingly returning only to meet their demise soon after for dramatic effect—severing the majority of its ties to the original rather quickly. Unfortunately, the performances delivered throughout the film are a mixed bag at the best of times. With decent performances from Susan as Clementine and Kate Patel as Detective Lupino, certain cast members’ deliveries are sub-par to effortless at times, draining a scene of its intended impact.

Following a similar level of cinematography portrayed in Night Caller by Kyle McConaghy, Jeff Billings’s near-seamless prolongation of this level of technique is natural in its implementation. Featuring similar establishing shots, camera movements, and manipulation of depth of field, the perpetuation of this level of cinematography is undoubtedly the film’s strongest aspect.

An auspicious resumption of the dark slasher series, Scalper certainly continues the pitch-black tone and gritty violence established in Chad’s previous film. Unfortunately, the film does little to differentiate itself from its prequel. With the introduction of new supporting characters aside, Scalper treads the same footsteps into an explored territory and is much of the same in that regard. This isn’t necessarily a negative, though, as fans of the first film are sure to obtain a similar kick out of this film as it preserves its fast pace and mysterious veneer.


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