This mini marathon of flix about kids in peril offers a variety of subgenres, but are any of them worth a watch?
ROADSIDE MASSACRE (2012)
If you’re itching for a backwoods cannibal family slasher but feel like you’ve seen them all, you still might feel like you’ve seen them all as you watch Roadside Massacre.
Kids road trip through a rural area. They have a convo with an attendant at a gas station. They make a pit stop at a restaurant that is actually run by a family of cannibals using people for meat.
This is the usual case of an aspiring filmmaker essentially just making a copycat of some favorite horror classics (hint: the original title of the film was The Texas Roadside Massacre). However, a) there is one aspect concerning what happens to certain victims that is unique, and b) the film is competently made with some effective scenes, plus likable characters and actors that do a decent job.
The well thought out sequences here make this feel like more than just another low budget hack job, but considering the subject matter, there’s no blood, gore, or grisly scenes. Also, the film is moving along pretty smoothly for a while, but then falls into a repetitive rut of the main girl being captured, escaping, running, and being captured again.
I think the problem is that even with the film running (smartly) just over 80 minutes long, the number of victims is limited, so the cannibals just ran out of things to do!
No, it’s not The Crush with Alicia Silverstone, but it’s the same kind of fatal attraction, giving it that old 90s thriller vibe.
Lucas Till of MacGyver is the main boy.
His girlfriend is Sarah Bolger of The Lazarus Effect. The weird girl at school who seems obsessed with him is Crystal Reed of Teen Wolf. And even Leigh Whannell of Saw makes an appearance.
This one seems as basic as can be. Weird girl acts weird, people close to main boy start getting hurt.
It even has a mini Misery section. Nothing suspenseful, scary, or gory here. However, it’s the fun little twists near the end that make it stand out from the pack.
DEADLY DETENTION (2017)
I purposely watched this one on Netflix because I heard it was horrible. It managed to defy the odds of me always loving what everyone else hates, because it was awful.
The most obvious group of kids (the bitch, the religious freak and black dude rolled into one, the pretty boy, the outsider edgy girl, the goody goody girl, the geek) gets bused to detention…at an old prison. Holy tough love.
They meet their icy principal there, she locks them in a room, and then we get a bunch of clique banter right out of The Breakfast Club.
The bitch is the only salvageable aspect of this film, giving us a good dose of campy horror comedy with her lines and delivery. All the other characters are uninteresting, except the black Bible dude simply because he comes across as super gay. I can’t believe they didn’t write it into his story.
I guess this is supposed to be somewhat of a comedy slasher considering the characters’ reactions when bodies start piling up are ridiculously unconcerned. I can see why. The killer (who finally shows up 44 minutes in) is barely ominous or threatening and the deaths are tame lame. The laughable dialogue that comes over a loudspeaker threatening the kids is basically someone reciting Jigsaw’s lines from the Saw franchise.
The only good news? The bitch sticks around through the whole film to keep us entertained.