SCOOTER * USA 2019 Dir: Matthew Wohl. 72 mins
Writer-director Matthew Wohl’s mercifully short feature debut follows a trio of childhood pals who have achieved YouTube stardom with their channel “The Three Amigoes”, earning 10 million subscribers by taking on a different childish or daredevil-style challenge each episode. In episode 23, the trio (Stephan Pineda, Joshua Zimmerman, Dondre Tuck) set out to drive from Miami to New Orleans on scooters with sub-50cc engines. The film purports to be pieced together from nearly 70 hours of footage – most it their self-shot Go-Pro and drone clips, plus some CCTV tapes for good measure – and, in the tradition of found-footage horror, the opening text effectively gives away the outcome: “This will be their last adventure…” The biggest problem with SCOOTER is that the three protagonists are the kind of idiots you’d go out of your way to avoid spending time with in real life. Their personal tiffs (one caused by Zimmerman shagging the star of a mermaid show) and laddish antics (duct tape pranks, shoplifting) are as obnoxious as their banter is annoying. It’s tough to care when their lives are imperilled after bearing witness, while camping, to a stranger assaulting and killing a woman. Unfolding in daylight and roping in a ludicrous local Sheriff caricature, this plays out like an unofficial remake of the above-average 1980’s slasher-thriller SHALLOW GRAVE, which – by contrast – had at least one person to root for, some suspense and an actual ending.
Review by Steven West