The Jokesters (2015)

AJ Wedding’s found footage movie mostly gets by on its interesting concept that I had a very good time with. Wedding takes the found footage concept and imagines if the “Jackass” crew pulled off one too many pranks on one their crew prompting a psychotic murderous rampage. “The Jokesters” has a ton of potential to be a very original and fun horror comedy, but in the end shockingly feels only half developed. At eighty minutes, it’s surprising how little it realizes the big hook with the descent in to pure gore and horror.

“The Jokesters” centers on a group of friends who make up a comedy prank group on the internet known as “Master Pranksters.” When their leader Ethan finally gets married, the friends decide to indulge in one final extreme prank on him before he disbands the group and moves away. Donning skull masks, they sneak back to his cabin on the night of his honeymoon. As things begin to escalate to the point of actual violence, members of the group of friends begin to die, and suddenly the pranks stop being funny.

“The Jokesters” is about eighty minutes in length and only realizes its full horror narrative in the last ten minutes. The minutes before the big twist are primarily built as a wedding comedy where the group of friends runs around the wedding pranking each other, and causing havoc on the guests. Thankfully the writers are able to build fascinating and entertaining characters, as well as some funny stunts along the way. If you enter in to “The Jokesters” blindly, you’ll spend a majority of the movie wondering where it’s all going and how it’s going to end, and in that respect, Wedding’s film kept me hooked on it for the long haul. This movie could literally go anywhere, as its final half is set in a cabin in the snowy woods, and takes a more direct but fascinating route that I was fascinated with.

The big element that keeps the film from being a recommendation though is that Wedding never stretches out the climax, embracing the whole horror motif. Instead it’s about seventy minutes of a comedy centered on a small group of assholes, and ten minutes on a blood soaked rampage that had a lot of potential to be much me suspenseful and tension filled. To top it off, the movie ends on a silly, poorly filmed news cast book end that hints on a sequel. I don’t know how Wedding and his writers are going to pull that off. In either case, “The Jokesters” is a solid horror comedy, and while it doesn’t re-invent the wheel, it garners some solid suspense if you enter in to it oblivious to what unfolds.