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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Spring Break Massacre

Spring Break Massacre. Awesome title, mediocre movie. I haven't felt this letdown since...uh...The Forest? The Sorority? Man, I watch a lot of crap slasher films, don't I? SPOILERS AHOY!!

Anyway, the premise is stupidly simple: There's a guy named Stanley Peterson, and he delivers pizzas. One night, he delivers a pizza to a home where a girl was brutally murdered by two ambiguously gay guys who were friends of hers. The murder itself was dopey...they play around with a Ouija board, and ask it, "Will one of us die tonight?", to give her a hint that they plan to murder her. Stanley was convicted of her murder, because they were long-gone when he arrived with the pizza. He eventually escapes prison the very same night someone is going psycho on a group of kids and a local law enforcement group.

Believe it or not, this thing does have some recognizable names in it: First, we have Reggie Bannister, the hero of countless Phantasm films; then there's scream queen Linnea Quigley, who I didn't recognize AT ALL(luckily I saw her name in the trailer...this chick really hasn't aged well in the years since Return of the Living Dead and Night of the Demons); and the third is a guy who the trailer claimed was featured in The House Bunny, which was a pretty funny movie. Eh, 2 out of 3 ain't bad, as Meatloaf once sang.

So, after the murder of the girl by her two buddies, we see the aftermath of the massacre we HAVEN'T seen yet. Reggie Bannister is the sheriff, and he's going over the crime scene and evidence as a flashback device. An FBI guy arrives, flashes his ID at the sheriff, and asks him to describe what happened. This leads to a somewhat funny bit where the two men stare at each other(in dramatic slo-mo, no less!) while Reggie keeps tilting his head. Christ, are they gonna make out? Just tell him what happened, man!

We get the first flashback, to The Previous Day. A group of 10 young adults are hanging out at a lake, 6 girls and 4 guys. One of the girls, Heather, mentions that her dad is going away on a business trip. This being during Spring Break, the girls plan to have a slumber party to keep Heather company. The guys, being guys, plan to crash the party to score with the girls. And there you have most of the "plot", in a nutshell. There's a blonde named Zoey, and a guy named Rob, but none of these crash test dummies are particularly memorable. Hopefully their death scenes are.

After the assembly line of corpses-to-be, we are introduced to the sheriff and his deputies. The sheriff, as mentioned before, is the affable Reggie Bannister, being the likable hero-doofus he always is; his second-in-command is Linnea Quigley as Michele, and she looks like what I imagine would happen if Florence Henderson was bitten by a zombie and turned; and another deputy, who is the generic goofball one who usually gets killed first.

Heather's dad leaves for his trip, and the movie introduces my favorite character: the next-door-neighbor Ralph. Every scene he is in is comedy gold. He offers to "keep an eye" on Heather, and demonstrates by planting said eye on her ass. Ralph is great. I hope he's the killer.

So we catch up with the 4 guys, who are all drinking at the local bar and comparing biceps. There's one who I'm going to call "Larry", because he looks like that annoying "Cable Guy" comedian; there's the guy who the trailer claimed was in The House Bunny, so his nickname will be Bunny; there's Rob, who looks like he's bummed out not to win the audition to be in The New Village People; and the 4th guy, a generic Jason Bateman-type, who shall be dubbed RedShirt, for the red shirt he wears, and the generic-ness of his look(like the guys who always died on Star Trek's many missions) . All four try to pick up the bar's waitress, who makes Linnea seem hot by comparison, before deciding that they'll stick to the plan and crash the slumber party.

The girls are equally generic, sad to say. There's Heather and Zoey, of course; also we meet an Asian lesbian(she must've been born in the Year of the Pussy), and her nickname will be Margaret Cho; the short dumpy virgin, whom I'll dub Ugly Betty; and 2 others who have made no impression on me whatsoever. I think one is named Jane Doe. Anyway, while the girls and guys both discuss what to do that night, Crazy Ralph shows up at Heather's front door. It's dark out, but he claims that he wants to give Heather her mail. There wasn't a mix-up by the mailman, Ralph just stole her mail so he could come over. When that doesn't get him invited in, he asks if Hather needs him to look through each room for intruders. Also a no. Ralph then just lays all of his cards on the table, and point-blank asks if he can watch the girls all make out with each other. Brilliant. He then lets out a hearty, robotic laugh, goes back to his stoic face, and strolls back down the lawn to his own house. I hope the walls are padded.

We get our first potential victim of the slumber party group around 35-40 minutes in. One of the girls is having a cigarette on the back porch, and hears noises. When she finally decides that she's had enough, she turns around and comes face-to-face with Ralph. Ralph, awesome guy that he is, is doing yard work with a large machete. When the girl puts out her cigarette and goes back inside, Ralph robotically waddles away. Damn.

The girls discuss the weird neighbor, and Heather decides that it would be wise to make sure that the doors and windows are all locked. Right on cue, there's a loud knock at the front door. Ralph again. He waves at Heather like a 3rd-grader trying to get picked for basketball in gym class, and shows her the cigarette her friend threw to the ground. After a very brief discussion, he waddles away again.

We get treated to a largely unhelpful scene in which the sheriff hangs up a phone and put out a cigarette in an ashtray filled with his other smoked butts. After this largely uninformative scene ends, we are treated to the guys all putting on Halloween masks to scare the girls, who are ALSO putting on scary masks. Now, if we just have a scene where someone loses the rent money, we could be watching "Three's Company". After both groups deny that they had been trying to scare the others, 2 of the guys go to get the car, while the other two try to figure out how to break into Heather's house. Why not just ask Ralph?

The sheriff, meanwhile, is having a bad night. He ran out of smokes(maybe he should check the wastebasket...?), and now his two deputies, named Harris and Hendricks, aren't answering his calls. A car is shown driving around in the dark, so I guess we're meant to assume it's him looking for his police force. In the present, we see a body taken out of the house, and Heather makes a face while the FBI guy and the sheriff get bored.

Okay, back in flashback territory, Margaret Cho has two of the other girls playing Truth or Dare. Being a horny lesbo, her dare is rather obvious: she wants the two to take a shower together. Before that can go anywhere, the 2 guys who went back for the car drive up. They find Bunny and Larry still on the porch, in a position that Bill Clinton probably knows all too well. Both are, upon further inspection, dead. Great. 2 guys murdered, and we never get to see a second of it. When he turns back to tell Rick that they've been slaughtered, Rick is now also dead. Before I get a chance to bitch about how the movie keeps skimping on the death scenes, the last guy is killed before he can even turn around again.

The lesbian is next. While she's distracted by the 2 friends kissing in the shower, the killer sneaks up behind her and bludgeons her to death. Then, before I can do more than blink, the sheriff tries calling Hendricks again on his walkie. Hendricks is shown with half of his face gone. Where the hell are the death scenes???

The two wanna-be lesbians emerge from the shower and rejoin the remaining 3 girls in the living room. The fat chick lights up a crack pipe, and mumbles a bit about how she's smarter than any of them, and they have beliefs from the dark ages. Whatever, Rachel Dratch. Congrats on the only movie you'll ever be in, I guess. (I hope she kept the crack pipe after filming)

The sheriff is getting pretty antsy by now. When his phone rings, we get the closest thing we've had to a plot twist up to this point: it's the prison, calling to let him know that Stanley escaped earlier that night. That's not the twist, but this is: he was visited by someone wearing a deputy's uniform who aided his escape. Could one of the sheriff's deputies be working with the killer? Hmmmmm...

Before we get to explore that idea any further, the power in Heather's house flickers on and off. The girls decide that it must be Margaret Cho, working with the guys to scare the rest of them. Yeah, right. They decide to make as much noise as possible, to draw out the boys, and to start getting naked as a group. FINALLY!! A scene I WANT to watch!!!

The girls were going to lure out the boys by skinny-dipping, but the water outside looks like run-off from Chernobyl. Grossed out, the Topless Wonders all head back inside and put their shirts back on--just as the lights go out once more. Heather grabs a flashlight and almost jumps out of her skin when she hears a police radio transmission nearby. She gets upset and tries to convince the rest of the girls to leave the house, but they all try to assure her that it's still the guys playing a scary prank.

At the same time, the sheriff gets a call back, finally, but not from who he expects. It's Stanley, and boy is he pissed! He blames the sheriff for his false conviction, and this little murder spree is his revenge. He ends the call by telling the sheriff that the deputies are still at the station, prompting the sheriff to rush out the door. Sure enough, he finds their bodies in a police car, covered in bloody wounds. Oops. Okay, so now my question is: what was the stuff about the deputy uniform on the person visiting Stanley at the prison?

Okay, so now we get another scene that makes very little logical sense...The girls panic and rush to the front door to escape. Upon opening the door, they find neighborhood weirdo Ralph, just waiting for them, holding up a knife with some blood on him. He asks if they need help, and when they scream that they've called the cops, it pisses him off. He yells that they shouldn't have called the cops, then he is stabbed from behind. While the killer finishes Ralph off, the screaming girls go running...back into the house.

Still not sure who the killer is, the girls decide that they have to stay together and work as a team to survive. Tiptoeing around in the dark, the girls make it downstairs and try to get a glass door open as quietly as possible. Upon opening the door, they find themselves face-to-face with Heather's dad! He tells them that Ralph called him earlier, to report on all the weird stuff happening in the house.

Happy to be able to escape, the girls try to leave, but "Daddy" has other plans. He tells Heather that he knows the boys came by, and that HE was the one who killed them. Then he starts smacking her around, as part of her "punishment". Wow. Didn't see THAT twist coming. He bashes Heather's head into the floor tiles, before stabbing her in the back. Terrified, the other girls try to escape in the car outside. Bad idea.

The car won't start. This just makes the girls scream louder. Eventually, Daddy shows up next to the car, and holds up a coathanger. taking his time, he methodically reshapes and uses the hanger to unlock one of the car doors, and drags the driver outside. He makes some dumb joke about parking, before shoving a drill into one ear and out through the other. This is followed by another joke.

He chases the last few girls around, before catching the fat virgin. Inexplicably, he makes a remark about how the virgin always lives at the end of horror movies, then mentions that he's a former LAPD cop. Okay, look psycho-dad, just kill them. We don't need corny one-liners, nor do we need a killer who knows he's a movie character. Just do your thing, get killed, and let me return you to whatever foul cave Netflix had you in.

Anyway, the last girl finds Heather alive. I guess the other girl he killed must've been someone else, although it doesn't make much sense that he would scold a total stranger in a way, you know what? I'll just let it slide. Go ahead, movie. AMAZE ME. Dazzle me with all the great stuf you've failed to show me so far.

So Heather is alive, this other girl finds her, and they both ask the father why he's doing all of this. That leads to the dumbest, most illogical plot twist yet: Dad somehow stole a deputy uniform, broke Stanley out of prison, then tied him up and dragged him along back home to pin all the murders on. Sobbing, Heather tells her father tht he'll never be able to get away with the elaborate (and insanely stupid) lie, and he replies that Stanley not only killed her friends and the deputies, but also shot himself. Then he shoots Stanley in the head.

Daddy then tells Heather that her mother's death, in a tragic housefire, was also a murder he committed, for the insurance money. He planned to kill her and her friends, blame it on Stanley, then collect the money from Heather's policy as well. She responds by kicking him in the balls and trying to flee. She gets as far as the edge of the forest near the property, before he catches up. Aiming his gun, he prepares to kill his daughter, and a shot rings out.

Lucky for Heather, the gunshot came from the sheriff's gun. He shoots Heather's dad again, then gets the whole story from Heather about the massacre plot. He radioes his wife and asks her to call the paramedics and as many state investigators as she can to come to the murder site and collect all of the bodies and evidence.

Then we get back to the present. He tells the other investigator that he discovered that the neighbor was a wanted sexual predator who was renting the house from Heather's dad, which pretty much explains his general weirdness. The sheriff also admits that the phone call from Stanley was probably the father as well. The 2 investigators part ways, and the sheriff returns to the ambulance to check on Heather once more.

She seems fine, even when the sherif worries about where she will stay. The movie ends with her telling him that if worse comes to worse, her dad's huge insurance policy will allow her to afford a house of her own. Then she grins, and the movie ends. Over the initial credits, we get bloopers. THE END. Ugh.

Man, this thing was a mess of stupidity. Why weren't the 2 guys in the opening scenes the killers? What about all the evidence the father would have left behind for forensics to find? Did the daughter's thing at the end imply that SHE was in on it too? 1 killer tree, for both annoying me and failing to deliver most of the kills in a satisfying way.

And what did Spring Break Massacre teach me?
-That a movie can pretty much lie to its' audience in the very title.
-Fat virgins aren't necessarily safe...I may be in trouble!
-Linnea Quigley was bitten by a REAL zombie in Return of the Living Dead, but still acts. Wow.

Next up will probably be Friday the 13th 2, because I have Netflix now streaming movie to my WII. YAY!!!!!! If not, I just got my hands on The Fear, so we'll see...