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Friday, June 1, 2018

Pool Party Massacre (2017)

I dig slasher movies. So much so that I’ve already done a marathon of them for review here at the Horror Dude Blog. Since it is summer again I figured it was time to do another one. This subgenre of horror has always been something that popped up regularly in my viewing schedule but for the most part I’ve avoided the newer ones. Especially those that try to capture the vibe of the cheesy slashers of the ‘80s. Most of the attempts fail miserably and I’d rather not be constantly negative in my reviews. So, it was with a great deal of trepidation that I sat down and watched Pool Party Massacre.

The movie opens in the present day. This alone is a good start because trying to make a movie that takes place thirty years ago is beyond the budget and skills of most people interested in making a new slasher movie. A woman is sunbathing while trying to get the attention of the pool boy, who is oblivious to her. Soon she has her throat slit and the pool boy gets a screw driver to the eye! Not a bad way to start things off.

Cue the opening credits, which are done in a nifty 8-bit video game style, and we then meet our main characters. Blair and her annoying friends are rich girls and totally vain. Well to be fair she has one “poor” friend that hangs out with her. Finishing out the victims are one of the girl’s boyfriend and his brother who just show up. Oh, and a creepy German lady who lives next door also appears long enough to die. Who is killing them and why? Why is Blair such a bitch to her friends? All these questions shall be answered before we are done with Pool Party Massacre.

I liked this movie and from the feedback I’ve gotten on the tweet I sent out when I was watching this there are many people who hate it. I’m going to do my best to explain why I think it is worth a look. First is the dialogue. It is very cleverly written and funny. There are some one liners here that will stick with you for a long time. When the killer is revealed and one of the other characters yells at them that they are a psycho the response is classic. “I know I’m a psycho. Did you see what I’ve done?” We get dialogue like this sprinkled throughout the movie and I loved it. There was more than once that the movie made me snicker. As jaded as I am that is saying something.

The kills are good in this one!
I also liked the characters. Most of them are self-centered and annoying so when they die it is satisfying. They are also kind of stupid, so the fact that no one notices the bodies building up around the house makes sense. Not kidding as they are written it is entirely possible that they are so stupid and self-absorbed to not notice bodies piling up. We do get one character that is the exception to this, the poor friend, and she is written and portrayed as a normal person. But mostly I was able to enjoy the carnage because the victims sort of deserved it. This is reinforced when the killer is revealed, and their motivations fit perfectly with the rest of the plot. I have to be careful to not spoil anything.

The kills have a low budget feel with quite a bit of CGI assistance. That was kind of a bummer, but I appreciated the effort made to keep it as practical as possible. The killer also uses a lot of different weapons which means each kill has its own unique design and feel. That shows real planning and effort which made me like this one all the more. The big drill from another similarly titled slasher put a smile on his face, especially when the killer finally pulls it off the wall to kill someone. Nice nod from the filmmakers to the genre and the slashers that have come before.

Two other things that I wanted to mention. One most of the soundtrack is great. I cringed the couple of times that the loud poorly played metal came blaring out of the speakers. New horror movies seemed to be obsessed with this crappy music being played loudly and it sucks. Luckily most of the time we get a fun throwback synth soundtrack, especially during the stalking scenes. The second was the pacing of the movie. The kills are spread out evenly and the movie never feels slow during its short eighty-one minutes. Pool Party Massacre gets in and out without overstaying it’s welcome. The editor should get a pat on the back for that.

I liked this movie. Hopefully I’ve been able to explain why to the satisfaction of those that think I’m an idiot. Though probably not. The last point that I want to make is this. Pool Party Massacre isn’t meant to be an homage to the best slasher flicks of the past. In my humble opinion, it is trying to remind us of the second-tier flicks that we all rented on VHS. Think less Halloween and Friday part one. It is more along the lines of Prom Night II and Slumber Party Massacre. That is something I think we can all support.

© Copyright 2018 John Shatzer

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