POOL PARTY MASSACRE
Director: Drew Marvick
Year of release: 2017
Country of origin: USA
Running time: 81 minutes
DVD/Blu ray: Both
Tagline: "Worst pool party ever".
Casting the spotlight on the slasher genre
Story: With her parents away for the weekend rich kid socialite Blair decides to throw a pool party at her lavish mansion home for her girlfriends. Among the guests is an old friend of Blairs who is back in the area after previously leaving town for study reasons. Coming from a working class background this academic friend is looked down on by the other guests who for their part are all snobby rich girls from even more successful families than Blairs. Though the party is supposed to be an all-girls affair someone’s boyfriend shows up with his horny brother in tow to swell the numbers and add to the drama.
What no one initially realises is that a maniac with a penchant for utilising gardening and household tools as weapons has previously killed off one of the next door neighbours and has now secured himself inside the mansion. This spells bad news for the party goers who begin to get whittled down whenever they leave the relative safety of the poolside.
Good points: *Perhaps the first thing which grabbed my attention with this film is that it looks great with bright vivid colours and crystal clear visuals throughout. This isn’t always the case with these lower end budget productions but this one really excels in this department. The colourful box art gives an indication of what’s to comer and it certainly lives up to the promise.
Something else noteworthy that ties in with the visuals is how the entirety of the film takes place in the bright and sunny daytime. Even the inside scenes are well lit and bright so it’s a departure from the majority in this sense and stands out because of it. The setting of the house and pool side area are well chosen and attractive also which helps no end.
Lastly when it comes to the visuals I was impressed with the art style which was featured for the opening credits. Reminiscent of something out of an old school video game of the 8 or 16 bit era it made for an unusual and cool beginning.
*This is a light hearted slasher film which often plays for laughs and more often than not I think it manages to hit the mark in this area. The cast of characters do a good job with he comedy and the banter between some of the bitchy girls in particular like Blaire, Tiffany and Jasmine was entertaining to me.
Two other characters worthy of a mention in the humour stakes are stereotypical airhead Britney who was sometimes a highlight as well as Clay who’s antics in trying to impress the ladies were mostly fun to watch.
I don’t recall the name of the final girl but she’s a bit different to the others in that she’s presented as more down to earth and somewhat more serious, studious and intelligent than everyone else. At the same time she has a bit of banter and attitude about her which prevents her from falling into the trap of coming across as too much of a stick in the mud type. As it goes on she becomes the voice of reason among the rich idiots and even the voice of the viewer in a way which makes it easy to get behind her when she’s later in peril.
*The deaths are varied with a different weapon being used for most. In a novel touch the killers hands are seen selecting each tool from a wall mounted display rack in a garage. He even goes as far as to put the previously used one back before selecting the next. Some of the deaths are of course better than others and though I felt some were too unrealistic they mostly work and the gore effects remain very decent throughout.
*I was somewhat surprised by the twist of sorts at the end so I think they did a good job in disguising the fact that it’s not all quite as straight forward as it initially seems. Though I didn’t twig myself I’m sure many would guess it before the reveal but even in that case it still throws up some witty dialogue so makes for a satisfying conclusion.
Bad Points: *The comedy angle was mostly well played for me but there were some moments where I did feel it went a tiny bit over the top. The bitchiness between the girls could have been toned down ever so slightly as it was marginally unrealistic that they would be quite so rude to each other seeing that they were supposed to be friends.
Though I liked the Clay character he was a silly guy and as with many of the girls was dialled up just a bit too high on occasion. In the scene where he’s masturbating for example it seemed to me that he was getting too worked up and excited to be believable. It would have added to the realism without sacrificing the comedy all that much if they’d have lowered it down a notch so that certain characters weren’t quite so obnoxious at certain times.
*Tying in with the above point there is one lengthy scene which could have been trimmed where two characters are talking about Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Fight Club. It’s going to go right over the head of anyone who hasn’t seen these films and even for those who have it goes on for way too long and outstays it’s welcome. One of the characters involved even tries to continue the discussion with another character after it seemingly ends. It’s a fly in the ointment in another wise solid enough script.
*There’s no disguise or mask for the killer which is disappointing. The film instead goes down the alternative route of always obscuring the killers shoulders and head until the reveal at the end. This takes away some of the fun for me as a good mask is something I always enjoy.
Though it’s most likely been heavily delayed by the virus situation a sequel is supposed to be in the works so if that goes ahead hopefully a mask and more unique costume will be featured next time.
Verdict: I didn’t go into this with very high expectations but it turned out to be a rather pleasant surprise. In particular I liked the look of the film and how it takes place in such bright and sunny surroundings which though unusual works well enough. Aside from this the characters are a comical bunch as well and the varied deaths come thick and fast.
The absence of a mask is the only major thing I was left disappointed with and for some the humour may be a bit too over the top at times as well. All in all though this is a very fun ride and I’d place it firmly in the upper echelons of the lower budget slasher films on the market.
Bodycount (contains major spoilers):
1)Mrs Stevens: Throat cut.
2)Pool worker: Killed off camera (found dead stabbed in the eye with screwdriver).
3)I forget this characters name (one of the girls I think): Impaled under the jaw with claw end of hammer.
4)Old lady: Hit on the head with axe.
5)Tiffany: Head cut off with axe.
6)Troy: Killed with an axe in a similar way to #4.
7)Chet (pizza guy): Eviscerated.
8)Clay: Impaled on a drill.
9)Jasmine: Killed in the shower with a strimmer.
10)Britney: Stabbed in the back with machete type blade.
11)Blair: Slashed on the forehead with an axe.
Review added on the 1st of September 2020.