Thursday, October 21, 2021

The Slumber Party Massacre (2021)


It wasn't until this year that I took the time to experience the joys of the original 1982 Slumber Party Massacre and 1987's even weirder Slumber Party Massacre 2. The female written and directed series (Amy Holden Jones and Rita Mae Brown on number one, and Deborah Brock on number two) is a lot more thoughtful and feminist than their titles may suggest. Male characters barely exist, or are completely and purposefully underwritten. That is, other than the Driller Killer himself, Russ Thorn, a madman with an enormous phallic power drill.

Thematically the series is very rich, so the 2021 version of The Slumber Party Massacre has a whole lot to. Not only does it have to carry with it the ideas first put forth by the originals, but it also has to exist competently in a post Me Too era, which piles on a lot more baggage for this kind of story to juggle.

The Slumber Party Massacre begins in a way that is instantly pretty off-putting. The "SyFy Original" of it all seems to immediately show itself. Unknown actors spouting hammy dialogue and cheap sets where doors do not meet flush with theirs frames are pervasive. The camp of it all is very reminiscent of Slumber Party Massacre 2, which is pretty gonzo.

There is a twist at the end of the first act that caught me completely off-guard, and completely recontextualizes the beginning of the film, making the cheese and the camp click in a way that I did not expect to happen. It's so good that I wouldn't dare to spoil it here.

The film is very heavy handed with its metatextual ideas. The group of young men in the film behave in the ways that are most regularly saved for teenage girls in films. They take their clothes off and have a pillow fight. They poor champagne on each other. Towards the end of the film, a man takes a slow motion shower with several straight on ass shots. There are characters named Guy #1 and Guy #2. It's about as subtle as a brick to the head, but damn is it all so funny. There are so many other instances of the film subverting expectations, and I'm so excited for audiences to take it all in.

The Slumber Party Massacre is so smart and so even handed, and deftly tackles its subject matter in a way that updates it for the modern world. If you're a fan of the original movies, you're really going to love this remake. And even if you aren't, I think you'll have a lot of fun with the twists and turns that this one takes.