SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE (2021)
Directed by Danishka Esterhazy.
Written by Suzanne Keilly.
Starring Hannah Gonera, Frances Sholto-Douglas, Alex McGregor, Mila Rayne, Reze-Tiana Wessels, Rob van Vuuren, Jennifer Steyn, Schelaine Bennett, Masali Baduza, Michael Lawrence Potter, Eden Classens, Nathan Castle, Richard White, Braeden Buys, Richard Wright-Firth, Arthur Falko, Reem Koussa, Jane de Wet
Beginning in 1993, SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE starts with a group of gals taking a vacation in a cabin in the woods, cooking brownies, having pillow fights, and dancing in their nighties, like ya do when you’re having a slumber party…and about to be massacred. Soon a driller killer named Russ Thorne (Rob van Vuuren) shows up and kills them…with a drill. The lone survivor of that night Trish (Masali Baduza) gets out with a hole in her hand and a lot of mental issues. Issues she carries into the present day when her own daughter Dana (Hannah Gonera) plans a weekend trip with her girlfriends to a remote location for brownies, pillow fights, nighties, yadda, yadda. Through a series of extreme coincidences, the gals end up at the same cabin and wouldn’t you know who comes knocking on their door with a mechanized drill, but Russ Thorne, back for more massacring.
SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE is a good, clean fun film despite itself. It is definitely self-aware and full of social commentary that is spot on the nose. It’s got lines that address toxic masculinity, male gaze, female empowerment, and that hole ball of feministic wax. But just as the original THE SLUMBERPARTY MASSACRE was written as a feminist reaction to slasher films, this one manages to be actually funny and entertaining. All of the “you go girl” -isms are done in a tongue in cheek fashion. It’s as much laughing at the ultra-feminism as it is the overpowering masochistic cliches that populate the horror genre. Yes, there are scenes where the male members of the cast bumble around and end up getting killed, but its done in such a ridiculous manner that you can’t help but laugh. I mean, it’s got a male pillow fight in tighty whities and two guys named…well…Guy One and Guy Two. Details like this will make the most butthurt of anti-feminists crack a smile. It’s smart humor. I’m not saying it’s genius, but it does laugh at itself and knows mostly everything in this film is ridiculous.
And the gals are ridiculous too. Yes, they are supposed to be the most capable of the bunch, but they do some of the stupidest things as well. Writer Suzanne Keilly and director Danishka Esterhazy do something that is almost unheard of in this day and age. They don’t play one side against the other in order to make their point. All sides get poked fun at. The girls, who are supposed to be tough and ready for action at any moment, are thrown for a loop once the shit goes down as well. While they are supposed to be pushing a “tough gal who takes no business from a man” attitude some of them melt into a puddle when they see the guys without their shirts. They get distracted and end up being just as much fallible players as the guys are against this unstoppable killer with a drill. And it’s downright refreshing to see these directors spread the tragedy and reveal the basic truth—that at the end of the day, we’re all fucking idiots.
SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE has some surprisingly decent gore. I guess you’d have to with that drill as a main weapon. It’s also acted really well with all of the cast displaying some great comic timing. This is a film that heavily relies on the comedy and also relies on everyone to get the stick out of their ass that’s been lodged there for the last five years. It’s a film that still manages to be pretty thrilling and at some times scary. Rob van Vuuren is surprisingly effective as the creeper Russ Thorne, especially when he murmurs in a high voice, “I love you.”
This isn’t a film that sets out to save the world. It just takes the status quo of horror films and turns it on its ear and laughs at it. It’s not meant to be taken seriously and those who angrily stand up and applaud this film for being a feminist achievement or boo it for being woke trash are missing the point. SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE is a silly film that sets out to be fun and I thought it accomplished that goal with honors. Fans of the SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE series will have some fun Easter eggs to enjoy. There’s a certain guitar that shows up and there are all kinds of nods to the original. But even though this really is more of a vacation than a slumber party, it’s still goofy fun. There are hot gals, buff dudes, lots of gore, and a weirdo with a drill. There’s even a cool nailgun scene for you NAIL GUN MASSACRE buffs out there. If you can check your preconceived notions about dueling sides of discourse for a moment and want to simply watch a fun, popcorny horror film, SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE should be in your cue immediately.