SORORITY PARTY MASSACRE
Director: Chris W. Freeman & Justin Jones
Year of release: 2012
Country of origin: USA
Running time: 99-103 minutes
DVD/Blu ray: Both
Casting the spotlight on the slasher genre
Story: After running into trouble at the city police department due to anger management issues Detective Watts finds himself reassigned to the quiet and secluded location of Grizzly Cove. Here he is charged with watching over his boss’ daughter Holly who is visiting the Cove to participate in a competition to crown the county’s top sorority sister.
After only being in town a short while Watts is concerned to learn that no one knows anything about Holly whereabouts and she seems to never have made it to the competition at all. Things only get worse once both telephone communication and travel to the outside world get cut off around the time of an apparent murder in the grounds of the estate where the sorority competition is taking place.
Detective Watts finds he has to team up with the bungling local Sheriff to solve the mystery before more locals and sorority girls are killed.
Good points: *Things begin with a really strong opening segment which managed to spike my interest level and leave me quite keen to see what would occur for the rest of the running time. Sadly it wasn’t able to maintain the momentum but never the less the opening segment remains a standout moment and easily the highlight of the film.
It’s nothing original, a female victim finding herself in isolated surroundings at which point her car turns out to be vandalised leaving her at the mercy of the killer. It’s all done rather well done though and is reminiscent of Scream in the way that the killer taunts the victim on the phone before revealing himself.
The weapon used at this stage is novel, not something we see too often and it reminded me of something similar from the opening of Cheerleader Camp 2 the Death. As well as the interesting choice of weapon we get a nice looking gas mask at this early stage coupled with a dark outfit to conceal the murderer. It’s effective if not original but unfortunately this is the height of things in this area as it tapers off as it goes on with this mask not being seen again.
*Without giving too much away as to who the murderer turns out to be I can say that it wasn’t exactly what I was expecting and in some ways I was surprised with the developments towards the end. When it came to the villains identity it wasn’t predictable and I’d argue the film has a satisfying enough payoff in the final third in this regard.
*The two male leads of Detective Watts and Sheriff Lumpkin are entertaining. The same could be said of the Deputy Lang character as well to a lesser extent though along with the Sheriff himself she was a bit too silly for my taste at times. The trio were largely fun to watch however and to some extent managed to hold things together. There is some fun to be had here with these characters if you keep in mind it’s not supposed to be taking itself too seriously and is tongue in cheek.
Bad Points: *As mentioned above I understand that the film is meant to be light hearted but on occasion it was too silly for it’s own good and went beyond what I enjoy in this area. An example of it being too over the top were Deputy Lang wearing high heels as part of her police uniform and then putting them up on the seat in the car close to the Detective’s face.
Worse were the introductory segments for the sorority girls. At one point here the Brooklyn character after winning a chess match climbs up on to the table and rubs her behind in her defeated opponents face. Too silly in my view and totally unrealistic to the point of being ridiculous.
A final example would be the segments near the beginning which showcase Watts’ anger issues such as when he dumped the ice cream on the kids head. Just a bit too over the top I felt.
Films like Girls Gone Dead and Spirit Camp have gone down a similar comedic avenue with a peppering of T&A but have pulled it off a lot better in my view than what we have here in Sorority Party Massacre.
*Spoiler: I thought the story was a bit threadbare and muddled when it came to what was supposed to have happened with the very first sorority girl competition years ago presided over by a young Stella. Specifically I’m talking about the scene where Brooklyn is talking to Jessie-Lynn towards the end of the film. Seemed like it was some waffle about someone, possibly the first winner of the competition being hung and then someone else being murdered. I watched it back a few times and still didn’t fully understand what they were talking about. It didn’t matter too much as it wasn’t an integral part of the plot but it was something I was confused with and that was poorly explained.
Similarly the gimmick of the characters being done away with in relation to their worst fears was somewhat under developed. Though a nice idea in theory it wasn’t utilised as well as it could have been as I don’t feel we heard or learnt enough about the fears beforehand to even make the connection that one had been played upon when someone died.
*The characters of the sorority girls I didn’t find to be very memorable at all with not enough effort being made to give them any meaningful dialogue to help us become attached to them. They mostly just came across as instantly forgettable cannon fodder types. As such the film was lacking a final girl with Detective Watts having to bear the load entirely on his shoulders as a final boy of sorts.
*First one aside the kills are all pretty rubbish, very tame stuff with next to nothing in the way of gore or special effects. A number of them also occur off camera. The film carries a fifteen certificate here in the UK so I wasn’t expecting a bloodbath but it turned out to be even more lacklustre in this area than I anticipated.
Verdict: I was initially quite keen to see this as I thought it looked pretty good from watching a trailer and this feeling only intensified after the impressive opening sequence to the film. Sadly it all went downhill from there as it quickly deteriorated and went well and truly off the boil. A lack of gore and any memorable female characters are fatal flaws. There is a bit of originality towards the latter parts regarding the assailant but it’s not enough to save it. There are many much worse films out there but that said I really can’t recommend this.
Incidentally it was supposed to be followed by a sequel called Bachelorette Party Massacre which some seven years later at time of writing still hasn’t materialised. There probably wasn’t much demand for such a sequel anyway.
Bodycount (contains major spoilers):
1)Holly: Burned with some sort of chemical spray/corrosive acid. Sheriff Lang responsible (I think)
2)Veronica: Stung to death by bees in estate stables. Paige later claims responsibility for the bees.
3)Mayor Carson: Killed off camera and we at no time see the body but it’s implied he is decapitated by Sheriff Lumpkin.
4)Deputy Lang: Stabbed in the stomach and dumped in the lake by Sheriff Lumpkin.
5)Stella: Asphyxiated/neck broken from being hung. Brooklyn responsible.
6)Kioko: Found dead stuffed in a fridge. Death is off camera but Brooklyn presumably responsible.
7)Sloan: Set on fire and burns to death. We don’t see her actually set on fire but I assume Brooklyn is responsible again.
8)Jessie-Lynn: Struck in the head with an axe by Brooklyn.
9)Brooklyn: Beaten up by Paige and choked to death in submission hold.
10)Paige: Drowns after grappling with Detective Watts in the lake.
Note: I’m not counting Sheriff Lumpkin as he is revealed to still be alive in a short scene after the credits.