Saturday, 2 August 2014



Really? Again? Honestly, I have absolutely nothing against generic teen slasher movies: back in the heyday of VHS rentals I enjoyed, to varying degrees, many a production line horror movie like My Bloody Valentine, Prom Night, or Rosemary's Killer, or many a second-stringer like Happy Birthday To Me or He Knows You're Alone. Even the Friday The 13ths and the Halloweens, before sequel boredom set in. They didn't have to be wildly original or stylishly directed; just competently nailed together with a degree of panache or craft. Sure, they weren't all great - Terror Train, Hell Night and Graduation Day are particularly terrible - but so long as they lined up an attractive young cast and bumped them off in inventive and splattery ways, it didn't matter that much. Sadly, those movies were all thirty years ago or more, and the next generation of bog-standard teen slashers shows every sign of the genre's inbreeding: exactly the same, but a bit uglier and a lot stupider.

Bloody Homecoming isn't so much a throwback to the 80s teen slasher movie as a photocopy: a straight-down-the-middle high school killfest which goes out of its way to ensure that any potentially fresh ideas are mercilessly stomped underfoot like cockroaches. Even the music score is as close to Halloween as the lawyers will let it. Who is the maniac in the firefighter's uniform slaughtering the kids at Winston High three years after the accidental fiery death of the champion quarterback and rapey Men's Rights scumbag? The dead boy's Sheriff father, still angry about what happened? The pervy principal lusting after his barely legal students? The creepy simpleton janitor (who's also a part-time volunteer fireman)? Who could it be, and who will survive the Homecoming Dance?

It's commendable that the film extends a surprising level of acceptance and respect to the openly gay student. Other than that it's the usual round of bitchy backtalk, gratuitous shower scenes, drinking, sex, and running screaming from the maniac: not just nothing you haven't seen before, but nothing you haven't seen before at any point in the last three decades. By all means do throwbacks - the entire grindhouse movement is basically modern filmmakers riffing nostalgically on the movie experiences of their youth. But there's a galaxy of difference between riffing on those movies and simply xeroxing them - and not even xeroxing them in an interesting way.


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