I came for the kills!

It was time once again to scratch my slasher itch with a trio of films I found on Prime and cable, so let’s get right into them.


This is one of the most agonizingly cliché teen films I’ve seen in years. I’m not sure if the creators didn’t realize they weren’t demonstrating even on ounce of originality or if they just figured there’s a whole bunch of kids who haven’t seen a whole lot of movies yet and therefore won’t realize they’re getting a total rehash of dozens of other movies.

Making matters worse, there isn’t a single well-developed or vaguely likable or memorable character here (other than the fact that one guy is from Love, Victor). Our main girl should be the upstanding moral one we want to root for at the end. She no longer connects with her childhood friend, who hangs with a bunch of privileged punks now, yet when they welcome her into their group under the condition that she help them destroy a teacher they feel is ruining their lazy lives, she doesn’t even hesitate to agree.

Worst of all, all their hangout time and simplistic, underwhelming take-down of the teacher drags on for 43 minutes before one of them is sledgehammered to death by someone in the school mascot mask…in a cutaway death scene.

The final act is where the slasher elements finally kick in, when the kids become locked inside the school. But other than the halls being saturated in horror light and some shots of the masked killer lurking in the background, this just totally fails to thrill, with very little in the way of slasher excitement. We get:

–that first cutaway kill

–a character who decides to bring a short crowbar to a long sledgehammer fight

–one dude getting clobbered in the head while kissing a girl

–one character dying not at the hands of the killer, but during a fight with a friend

–the most expected killer reveal ever

–the final girl going through the motions of a final battle with the killer

–a final victory walk that fails to capture the tone it’s going for (one that has been done successfully dozens of times before)

The performances of the cast were as low-energy as the writing and they seemed as bored as I was. The best thing about this movie would be a couple of now wave tracks used as the soundtrack.

GETAWAY (2020)

After a satisfying scene of killer POV as a girl is filmed leaving school and getting stabbed to death, I immediately worried that this film was going to feel like another Scream fan film as a bunch of students stood around name dropping horror movies and discussing their film projects.

The kids end up going to a cabin in the woods to film their movie for class, and this turns into a surprisingly straightforward, focused slasher that gives us nods to some classic slasher scenes while overall doing its own thing.

They make a pit stop on the way to the cabin and grab a mask off a scarecrow for their movie. They’re warned of impending doom by a crazy old person—this time a lady with a gun. There’s also a creepy caretaker at the cabin.

That doesn’t stop the kids from having sex, delving into their relationship tensions, getting into cat fights, and most importantly, getting killed.

The death scenes are the highlight. They’re evenly spaced between all the drama and fights, and while they’re not particularly gory, they are notably brutal, particularly scenes in which the killer slowly pushes the knife into the victim and you can feel every inch of it.

There’s some some diversity in the casting, including what I’m guessing is a gay guy considering he makes a Real Housewives reference. Damn right I’m stereotyping, but the film seems to go for coding the character instead of making him proudly gay so that it won’t be on the receiving end of the same old “woke” attack the straight white horror gatekeepers are using these days.

Having said all that, I wasn’t crazy about the final act, which does indeed go for the Scream style denouement, removing the survivors from the whole setting of the movie to accomplish it, which really ruins the general flow for me.

HELL TRIP (2018)

Based on the title and the IMDb description, Hell Trip gave me high hopes of a dark…well, not backwoods horror. Back jungle? It takes place in Africa where a group of vacationing Americans is forced to hike to their cabin after their van breaks down.

I am so used to and a fan of generic slashers as long as they deliver on the thrills and chills. Hell Trip offers some grisly and gory kills, body reveals, and a substantial chase scene, but there are no surprises here at all. Even the fact that the killer wears a mask is underplayed and shrouded in darkness to the point of not even mattering. I had to excessively lighten this photo just to make out the mask.

The guy they leave behind to fix the van is killed off screen, and then they encounter a raging native with a knife so that we are set up to assume this is the danger they will be encountering.

In response, their tour guide does something that tells us exactly how this movie is going to play out and drains it of any sense of mystery. By the time the survivors conveniently find a computer that holds all the answers to why they’re being killed off, I was rolling my eyes at this 21st century version of finding a bunch of newspaper articles pinned to a bulletin board.

And then we get to that ridiculous moment when for no explicable reason, the killer, who has been slicing and dicing people up without hesitation all along, suddenly decides it’s time to instead abduct a victim and give a complete motivation monologue first. Sigh.

About Daniel

I am the author of the horror anthologies CLOSET MONSTERS: ZOMBIED OUT AND TALES OF GOTHROTICA and HORNY DEVILS, and the horror novels COMBUSTION and NO PLACE FOR LITTLE ONES. I am also the founder of BOYS, BEARS & SCARES, a facebook page for gay male horror fans! Check it out and like it at www.facebook.com/BoysBearsandScares.
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