A huge shocker as an 80’s classic gets the remake treatment and guess what?…..its surprisingly good and a whole of fun….
Lets start this review by being honest. If you were not a fan of Amy Holden Jones’ 1982 film The Slumber Party Massacre, a slasher that has rightly gained a cult classic status thanks to its female perspective and its loose play on the slash genre ( a rarity in the golden age of horror), then you may not get anything out of this stylish remake that ticks all the boxes for die hard fans of the original (and its remakes).
Not wasting anytime in setting out its intentions, this new addition kicks off with a 90’s prologue that shows a bunch of young girls in a cliché heavy setting – the usual slumber party – when of course the notorious bogeyman The Driller Killer aka Russ Thorne (Rob van Vuuren, turns up with his very HUGE TOOL and….well….you know the drill -excuse the pun!
Skip forward to the present time and we catch up with the only survivor of the first carnage Trish Devereaux (Schelaine Bennett), and is now of course really protective of her teenage daughter Dana (Hannah Gonera,). Much to her dismay, Dana has planned a weekend away with her friends and despite her reservations, she waves them away in hope she’ll be OK.
But being a slasher film, of course, Trish should have trusted her instincts.
When the girls car breaks down in the very same town her Mum survived her horror ordeal – what are the chances? Dana and her friends Ashley (Reze-Tiana Wessels), Maeve (Frances Sholto-Douglas, Breanie (Alex McGregor) and her younger sister Alix (Mila Rayne) manage to rent out a creepy house in the middle of nowhere, where there is no chance of making a phone call. What could possibly happen?
Skimpy nightwear, pizza with booze and dancing by the window can only attract the interest of an horror bogeyman and soon Russ Thorne is standing outside with his drill out, gazing at his next apparent victims. So far, so slash, but then a left field twist turns the film on its head and it was from that moment, I was totally onboard with the carnage on offer.
Writer Suzanne Keilly seems to be a name to keep an eye on. Having worked on the Ash Vs Evil Dead TV Series and also brought back another 80’s icon in the well received Leprechaun Returns, Keily clearly knows her horror and litters the film with many 80’s Slash homages that while at times it dips its toes into parody, the script soon offers the gore hounds what they need with a scene of a poor victim having their head basically drilled into.
The basic flip of the Slash Rules are in place here, with the obligatory pillow fight and a slow motion shower scene which by reading this to then watching, will no doubt not be what you’d expect it to be, but along with the accomplished direction by Danishka Esterhazy, Slumber Party Massacre 2021 is everything the awful 2019 remake of BlacK Christmas failed to be in that that it sends out the right message about horror females, but still manage to contain the essence of what a horror film should be.
It may fall into Friday the 13th territory a tiny bit too much with its final act, but with some genuine laugh out loud moments alongside some creative sequences, this remake/reboot fully deserves to be in the same bracket with the likes of the modern greats The Final Girls and it shows that with the right people behind it, a horror remake can actually work.
Fans of the original Roger Corman classic will have no cause to complain.