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John’s Horror Corner: Slumber Party Massacre (2021), a remake of the raunchy classic, written and directed by women as a parody of the slasher subgenre.

April 2, 2022

MY CALL:  This horror comedy definitely has some fun with its source material, gender-centric horror tropes, and the very premise of the franchise. No, it’s nothing special. But it’s entertaining enough for at least one viewing if you enjoyed any of the franchise predecessors.  MORE MOVIES LIKE Slumber Party MassacreIn terms of the goals of the writer and director, this reminds me of The Final Girls (2015)—a good film. If you want to go see where this franchise got started, visit The Slumber Party Massacre (1982) and Slumber Party Massacre II (1987).

In 1993, Trish’s friends were slaughtered by the driller killer at their cabin by the lake. Now a mother, Trish (Schelaine Bennett; Monster Hunter) sees her daughter off for a girls’ weekend in a remote cabin by the lake. Trish was the name of the main character hosting the slumber party in The Slumber Party Massacre (1982).

Almost 30 years later, young Dana (Hannah Gonera; Spell), Maeve (Frances Sholto-Douglas; Black Mirror), Alix (Mila Rayne), Ashley (Reze-Tiana Wessels) and Breanie (Alex McGregor; Blood Drive) plan a slumber party. But there’s a fun spin on this remake: they’re setting a trap for the driller killer to put an end to him for good!

REMAKE/REIMAGINING/REBOOT SIDEBAR: For more horror remakes, I strongly favor the following: Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978), An American Werewolf in London (1981), The Thing (1982), The Fly (1986), The Blob (1988), The Mummy (1999), The Ring (2002), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), Dawn of the Dead (2004), The Hills Have Eyes (2006), Mirrors (2008), Friday the 13th (2009), Piranha 3D (2010), Let Me In (2010), Evil Dead (2013), Carrie (2013), The Town That Dreaded Sundown (2014), It (2017), Suspiria (2018) and Child’s Play (2019). Those to avoid include Body Snatchers (1993; the second remake), War of the Worlds (2005), The Invasion (2007; the third remake), Prom Night (2008), Night of the Demons (2009), Sorority Row (2009), Patrick: Evil Awakens (2013), Poltergeist (2015), Martyrs (2015), Cabin Fever (2016), Unhinged (2017), The Mummy (2017) and Wrong Turn (2021). I’m on the fence about An American Werewolf in Paris (1997), The Grudge (2004), Halloween (2007), It’s Alive (2009), My Bloody Valentine (2009), A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010), Fright Night (2011), The Thing (2011; a prequel/requel/remake), Maniac (2012), Rabid (2019), Pet Sematary (2019) and Castle Freak (2020), which range from bad to so-so (as remakes) but still are entertaining movies on their own. For what it’s worth, I also enjoyed the recent “requels” of Scream (2022) and Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022).

In the spirit of the franchise, this was written (Suzanne Keilly; Ash vs Evil Dead, Leprechaun Returns) and directed (Danishka Esterhazy; The Banana Splits) by women. Not that anything about this franchise would lead us to expect more, but the writing for this remake… isn’t the best. I’d put the original above it. However, in terms of visual effects, gore, and on-screen death scene quality, this is a welcomed improvement to its very low budget source material.

The real success of this remake is that, unlike parts 1-2, this actually seems to have captured the slasher parody atmosphere. For a little history, it was the intention of 1982’s script to be a parody, but this idea was squashed by the producers who insisted it be “serious.” The girls are here to kill the killer, the guys in the cabin across the lake literally have a topless slow-motion pillow fight, the killer always has a comically exaggerated side-faced glare, a guy trips over a rock and helplessly crawls from the killer, a man is literally named “Guy Two” and referred as such in the dialogue, toxic masculinity is practically a character in this movie, and there is a shower scene… of a dude. I enjoyed the silliness and commentary of the slasher subgenre.

The gore is decent enough. Drilled eye sockets spew blood, all that fun stuff. As honoraria to the franchise, the killer’s drill itself is a good replica of 1982’s killer, a guitar in the cabin seems just like 1987’s, and the killer is acted with more convincing weirdo demeanor.

The movie comes to a rather unexpected turn in the third act, followed by a pretty fun and satisfying finale… even if I wasn’t wowed by the movie, that should be acknowledged. Still, a fun watch for me having recently revisited the franchise.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 3, 2022 10:32 am

    Thanks for the heads up about this one. Might give it a go, sounds like it might be a fun one to watch.

    • John Leavengood permalink
      April 3, 2022 4:06 pm

      Don’t expect much, and you should enjoy it a bit. I’d call this a rainy afternoon watch, not a Saturday night watch.

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