Monday, August 12, 2013

Review: Don't Go to the Reunion (2013)

This next review is one that I'm doing at the request of one of my friends at Death Awaits, who emailed me a review copy to check out.

Don't Go to the Reunion (2013)

Don't Go to the Reunion is an homage to '80s slashers made by people who not only clearly love the genre, but also know how to make it work. It's hardly new or groundbreaking, and its ultra-low budget can be visible at times, but it's still a fun throwback filled with cool shout-outs to its inspirations, all of it moving at a quick pace (it's only seventy minutes long) that rarely feels dull. Outside of jokes about hipsters and the presence of modern technology, it really feels like it came out of the '80s, and while it's hardly the most stunning example of its genre, it's still a fun midnight romp.

The plot is something out of a million old slasher movies. Scott was a horror movie buff and in the running for valedictorian, leading some of our group of main characters to pull a prank on him in order to knock him off his toes and allow their friend Brandon to pull ahead of him on the honor roll. Unfortunately, that prank involved planting a big-ass sickle in his locker with a note talking about how he wanted to go on a murder spree, and when the principal and the police combined that with his love of graphic horror flicks, they had him expelled and institutionalized. Ten years later, these former friends who pranked Scott have been invited to a special "A-list reunion" at a deserted lakeside cabin, and when they find some of Scott's old sketches of them being murdered in ways reminiscent of various slasher flicks... well, you can guess where it goes from here. What follows is your typical slice-and-dice, with acting and writing ranging from decent to cheesy, a number of bloody kills that call back to many of the splatter classics (though the number of cutaways before many of the most graphic shots is telling of this film's indie budget), and a twist that not only made a surprising amount of sense, but also made for a fun reference to a particular slasher from after the '80s.

It's these references and shout-outs that truly make this movie, though at the same time, they also make it one that you'll probably get a lot more enjoyment out of if you're already a fan of horror movies, particularly slashers. If you're not, then a good number of the references and in-jokes will likely fly over your head. Most of the kills explicitly reference similar kills in films like Happy Birthday to Me, Madman, and Night School, and to be honest the film treads a fine line between homage and simply imitation. However, the tone of this film makes it clear just what the filmmakers were intending to do here, and that was make a tribute to the sorts of films that they loved to watch late at night on VHS when they were younger. And to that end, I'd say that they pulled it off.

Score: 3 out of 5

I wouldn't call this film particularly scary, but if you're a horror/slasher buff, then this homage will leave a great big smile on your face. (One that will make me want to stay more than a few feet away from you, but a smile nonetheless.)

No comments:

Post a Comment