Still from "Scream Therapy" (2023)

At first glance, the log line for “Scream Therapy” — the debut feature-length film from Little Rock native Cassie Keet — sounds pretty intense: “A cathartic girls trip to the desert turns deadly when demon-worshipping incels discover their secluded house and decide to make these girls their sacrifice.” 

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The film’s trailer, however, suggests that Keet’s approach to the subject material is mostly zany and lighthearted, the victims’ savviness far surpassing that of their seemingly inept attackers. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s local film scene reporter Al Topich went so far as to call it “a hilariously violent and bloody good time that takes a tired genre and breathes — or screams — a breath of fresh air into it.” 

As of June 18, “Scream Therapy” is available to rent or purchase on digital platforms like Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV+. The movie won Keet a $60,000 Panavision New Filmmaker grant at Arkansas Cinema Society’s 2023 Filmland festival. According to Deadline, she’s using the grant to make her sophomore feature, “Abigail Before Beatrice,” which stars Olivia Taylor Dudley and Riley Dandy and is currently in production in Little Rock.

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If the synopsis (“the film is about an isolated woman who must confront her past when a fellow former cult member reaches out with news that their leader has been released from prison early”) is any indicator, the film seems much more serious than “Scream Therapy,” but perhaps Keet has another playful bait-and-switch up her sleeves.