Written by: Israel Luna and Todd Jenkins
Directed by: Israel Luna
Starring: Chad Allen, Richard D. Curtin, and Todd Jenkins
Reviewed by: Brett G.
Well, here’s a slasher flick courtesy of the guy who brought us a demented pack of Ticked of Trannies With Knives. If anything, that’s an attention grabber, as director Israel Luna certainly showed an appropriate lack of restraint and plenty of irreverence with his gender-bending rape/revenge tale. These qualities have carried over to this follow up, Fright Flick, which actually offers few frights; there are, however, a few laughs along the way (both intentional and unintentional) as Luna gleefully hacks up his cast.
We open with your typical shower scene, complete with a busty model type who is having a little bit too much fun washing herself. When she emerges from the shower, she’s found her lover hacked up in bed, and she can only scream in response. We then pull back and discover that this has all been part of a new horror film production (entitled, you guessed it, Fright Flick). After the day’s filming is complete, someone isn’t done playing psycho killer and decides to really murder our film’s heroine; we then cut to two years later, where the same cast and crew are now filming Fright Flick 3. Life begins to imitate art again as everyone starts to die in mysterious fashion.
What more can be said about a movie like this that hasn’t been said about the hundreds of slashers that have preceded it? Not a whole, lot, really. If you’re well-acquainted with this hack and slash sub-genre, you’ve seen this movie dozens of times before, often to better effect, sometimes not so much. I suppose the meta-fictional/tongue-in-cheek approach will warrant a comparison to Scream (or more specifically Scream 3 due to the movie-within-a-movie aspect). Such a comparison is pretty superficial, mostly because Scream had a leg to stand on as it poked fun at the genre due to actually being better than the films it lampooned. Fright Flick can't boast as much, as it not only highlights the usual slasher absurdities like stupid characters and bad acting, but also features them in full force. It doesn’t skewer them, but rather revels in them in an absurd fashion.
And make no mistake, Fright Flick is not really a good movie because of this, but you can kind of tell that it realizes it at times. This is particularly true when the film gets down to the bloody business of slashing; the cast is pretty ample, which provides plenty of effects fodder and gore showcases. Gunshots, guttings, impalements, and slashings are among the various over-the-top mutilations, and no corn syrup is spared in the process. The reason behind all the mayhem isn’t nearly as interesting (is it ever really in these movies?), as there’s all kinds of melodrama between the characters that provides plenty of red herrings. The ultimate reveal and climax is actually lifted straight out of another pretty famous body count movie, which just makes the whole thing feel even more derivative.
Style (or at least blood) over substance is often the slasher calling card, and this one is no different. Luna’s direction is solid enough, and his visual style often exhibits some flair and polish that at least make the film nice to look at. He’s also smart enough to crank the bombast up to 11 most of the time as well, as the film doesn’t deal in characters as much as it does a bunch of flamboyant, cliché caricatures, some of whom are able to provide a few chuckles here and there. Other characters don’t fare as well and manage to be pretty dull knife and exposition fodder (wait until you hear these characters tell the same story twice during a dialogue-filled climactic scene that kills any sort of forward momentum the film might have).
At worst, Fright Flick is just another slasher movie, which should really be enough for that particular fan base. It doesn’t re-invent the wheel but instead just puts some freshly worn tires on it and takes it out for yet another spin. Breaking Glass Pictures (via their Vicious Circle Films imprint) will bring the film to DVD on January 25th. The release will feature an anamorphic widescreen transfer, a 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack, a blooper reel, deleted scenes, and a behind-the-scenes documentary. If you’re in desperate need of a night filled with blood and breasts, this is your ticket. Rent it!
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