I’m always up for a slasher fix, and this foursome delivered in a variety of ways, so let’s take a look.
THE BONE GARDEN (2016)
The Bone Garden is a novelty horror flick that goes for the meta vibes with all the characters named after those in 80s horror movies. On top of that, it brings together original actors from several of the Friday the 13th movies, most notably the leading couple, played by Tracie Savage and Norman Hardy of Friday the 13th Part 3. Norman is a daddy now, but he’s still rockin’ the bod enough to get a shirtless workout montage. Nice.
Anyway, this film has a Rear Window plot. Tracie and Norman are married, but their relationship is on shaky ground. He’s a two-timer, she’s bored. That is until she spies her new neighbor carrying what looks like a body and dropping it into the lake.
She decides to investigate on her own with a little help from her best friend…who is a hoot and totally steals the show.
It’s an okay thriller for a low budget film, and Tracie even starts cozying up to a hottie she meets while walking her dog.
Thing is, the plot mostly feels cliché…until the final act, which is the part it seems that most reviewers on Amazon Prime criticize.
I, on the other hand, think the movie is given new, wacky life once it seems Tracie is near to cracking the case. In fact, this is the part when the movie really turns into a horror movie, complete with gore, body reveals, and a seemingly manic indecision by the writer on how to end the film. Awesome.
Remember when there were a whole bunch of sleek, really bad slashers coming out for a decade following the Scream craze at the turn of the millennium? Dreamcatcher feels like it came right from that era. It mostly reminds me of the weak Prom Night remake, with a touch of David DeCoteau’s stabs at the genre, like Final Stab and The Frightening.
Two newly reconnected sisters go to a club with their friends to see a sizzling hot DJ spin.
When a tragic event occurs (after various drug trips that deliver an attempt at artsy visuals—and yes, a dreamcatcher does come into play), the friends get an offer they can’t refuse from the DJ’s agent…who makes plenty of snide remarks with a political bent, including a goodie about Mitch McConnell.
Anyway, the friends begin getting killed off brutally by someone in the same mask the DJ wears. I thought maybe it was Marshmello, pissed the movie was stealing his shtick.
I guess the kills are okay, but this film just lags and goes on and on. There are no likable characters and their numerous side stories do nothing to hold the viewers interest since most of these kids are assholes.
There are a couple of hot boy bods (yay) and a gay reveal with a promise of a gay kiss…that cuts away to another scene. WTF? Anyway, it still lands a spot on the does the gay guy die? page.
As the film finally crawls into its final act, it becomes one of those headache inducing denouements with too many talking points and characters just going off the rails in order to convince us there are multiples twists.
And if you stick around until after the credits begin to roll, you’ll get to see an unnecessary reminder that the gay guy doesn’t stand a chance in a horror movie…even if it means bringing him back after the credits start rolling…
FEAR STREET PART 2: 1978 (2021)
Part 2 picks up right where part 1 left off (in 1994) with the surviving friends determined to figure out how to stop the witch from turning others into killers.
So they track down a survivor of the 1978 massacre to ask for help, and she tells them what happened at summer camp in 1978…
As a result, the movie is loaded with music from the 1970s, such as:
Captain & Tennille “Love Will Keep Us Together”
The Runaways “Cherry Bomb”
Cat Stevens “The First Cut is the Deepest”
Blue Oyster Cult ” Don’t Fear the Reaper”
Kansas “Carry On My Wayward Son”
Buzzcocks “Ever Fallen in Love”
Thelma Houston “Don’t Leave Me This Way”
So yay! It’s a summer camp slasher. But first we establish who the bullies are at the camp, who their victims are, and how they use their belief in the witch against each other. When someone at camp goes a little too psycho, the kids start poking into the witch legend, find an underground lair in the woods, and unleash another killer…
This film starts off so much more streamlined than the first messy plot, and when the kills start, they totally rock the gore. And then…
…because the film is 110 minutes long it does exactly what the first film did; it becomes chaotic, with too many characters and unnecessary side stories to fill the time. I can’t fathom why they would want to keep drawing us away from the core witch story and slasher structure, but that’s what we get once again. Good news is there are sex scenes that include some man butt, and the death scenes really do rock.
The bad news—at least for me—is that the third installment is going to be a period piece (blech) that takes place in the 1600s.
SLASHENING: THE FINAL BEGINNING (2021)
As a huge fan of director Brandon Bassham’s slasher comedy The Slashening, I was ecstatic when the sequel came my way. Now that I’ve seen it, I simply must have a hard copy for my collection, so I hope it gets a disc release.
As much a spoof as it is slasher (poking fun at the cat scare, mask POV, dumb victim, etc.), the sequel begins with a group of friends gathered in a house discussing the events of the first movie, and then getting hilariously killed off within the first ten minutes while going off to have sex. Wahoo!
Even better…one couple is two gay guys, and let’s just say the scene is a funny delight that involves a sex act that pretty much never even gets any recognition in gay porn.
Next, we meet a support group in which there is a character that makes for one of the best links ever created for a sequel—it’s the daughter of a man who couldn’t live with himself due to his part in a running joke from the first movie.
The film is smartly a short and streamlined 80 minutes long, the performances of the quirky members of the support group bring on the humor, there’s some gross out humor (and it involves a guy who has, um, performance issues), the killer is campy, and the main girl is a blast…especially when she fights real dirty at the end.
This is most definitely the winner for me in this bunch. It’s hitting film festivals at the moment, but let’s hope it get distribution soon.