Bespectacled killer Jansen (Peter Lee-Wilson) is traced down and cornered in his lair by armed cops. When he refuses to relinquish his blade to them, they shoot him umpteen times. We know he's dead - we witness the subsequent post-mortem performed upon what's left of his corpse. Sadly, the young girl he'd abducted also died.

Twenty years later, that girl's younger sister is still traumatised by losing her. She's grown up to be Sam (Charity Wakefield), a cop who when we first meet her has been suspended from the force on account of her being "unstable".

So, imagine how Sam reacts when she's notified by an anonymous telephone call that a similar crime has now taken place. She races round to a flat where she discovers the police are already there, picking up the pieces of the gruesome murder of 17-year-old Caz (Arlissa Ruppert). The methods used are strikingly similar to those that Jansen used to employ.

Retreating to her favourite all-night bar for a dose of heavy boozing, Sam's drinking is interrupted by the arrival of Luke (Danny Horn). He reveals to her that the flat belongs to him, and Caz was his best pal. Luke was out celebrating his birthday the night before, he insists, and when he awoke his friend had been murdered in his bathroom. The only clues Luke has are a text telling him where to find Sam, and a video clip also sent to his 'phone. The clip is footage of Sam's sister moments before she died.

With zero help forthcoming from the cops - after all, they think Luke is the culprit, despite police coroner McQueen (Imogen Bain) discovering Jansen's DNA all over Caz's remains - Sam and Luke reluctantly work together to try and fathom who the killer is, and why they have both been implicated in their plans.

SCAR TISSUE was written and directed by Scott Michell. It's his first feature credit in 17 years, the previous one being the little-seen 1996 crime flick THE INNOCENT SLEEP (which, if nothing else, boasted a great cast: Michael Gambon; Franco Nero; Rupert Graves ...). The casting is a lot more low-key here, admittedly, but for the most part the fresh faces do a fair job of eliciting suspense when needed.

Wakefield is saddled with the "tough bitch" role. She plays the part quite convincingly - she's an agreeable blend of grit and sassiness. She is, however, weighted down with some truly risible dialogue which does its level-best to undermine her at every turn. Fortunately she just-to-say overcomes this handicap.

Horn is an affable stooge to her kick-ass heroine, baffled and scared for the majority of his screen time. He's the everyman of this situation, the director by proxy (possibly) and our moral compass (almost certainly). That his character falls into a relationship with Sam mid-investigations is predictable, even if it makes for a highly unlikely pairing.

A lot of SCAR TISSUE is similarly far-fetched. From McQueen's overacted cursing ("if there is a God, she's a wanker"), to implausible plot twists, through Sam's tough-as-old-boots shenanigans, to the outdated police procedural tropes - so much of this feels exaggerated and clich�d: it's as if Michell is fastidiously ticking boxes in a bid to make a "transatlantic thriller". With this in mind, it seems wholly appropriate that his London streets are dark and damp a la SE7EN, and the score is laughably melodramatic whenever a set-piece is around the corner.

At loggerheads with this approach though, is the gritty low-budget British vibe felt throughout. Often the action translates as more "Silent Witness" than Hollywood shocker. This is a shame because there's a decent story with an intriguing premise here, struggling to get out from beneath a succession of stupid characters (Sam's obnoxious male cop colleague takes the biscuit) and piss-awful dialogue.

Sterling's region 2 DVD presents SCAR TISSUE uncensored and in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The sharp, colourful picture is enhanced for 16x9 televisions. Images are clear and crisp, while a filmic quality is afforded to each scene by virtue of canny colour correction. Blacks are generally strong; compression is never an issue.

English audio is provided in 2.0 and 5.1 mixes. Both are dependable, though the latter rarely gets a chance to work out to its full capacity.

The disc opens to an animated main menu page. From there, a scene selection menu allows access to the film via 12 chapters.

Extra features begin with a Making Of documentary. Despite being only 13 minutes long, there is some good insight to be had here from the likes of Michell and Wakefield along with interesting behind-the-scenes footage.

The film's original trailer follows. At just 30 seconds in length, this is too brief to be of true worth.

SCAR TISSUE is an entertaining film. It's also extremely handsome to look at. But it does suffer from some terrible dialogue and badly-written characters. Still, if you can overlook those shortcomings, there's a neat little thriller at its heart.

By Stuart Willis

Released by Warwick Films
Region 2 - PAL
Rated 18
Extras :
see main review