Spring Break Massacre (2008)

SBM031110I’m not sure what the point of watching a horror movie is if we know everyone dies beforehand. Writers Hoffman and Jones take the unfortunate road of meeting us at the end with Reggie Bannister’s sheriff protagonist at the crime scene of said Spring Break Massacre explaining how every character dies. Meanwhile the story is told in completely disjointed formats and confusing shots that really left me in the dust. Why is this so high concept if it purports to be a slasher throwback? Why exactly is it called Spring Break Massacre if the majority of the story occurs during a slumber party?

The slasher movie homages are obvious, but most of the movie just doesn’t take the road it promises to go down and just tries to turn a simple hack and slash in to a pretty convoluted premise that is told by Bannister through flashback after flashback that is sometimes green, sometimes black and white, and in one instance grainy film stock. I’m still curious why we needed to see all of that experimental filming for a movie that’s merely just a bunch of hot girls kissing and romping around as a killer sneaks in the darkness killing hapless college teens. Meanwhile we’re set up with pretty unnecessary red herrings, obvious foreshadowing in the opening involving the main character’s father, and a plot hatched that really didn’t make too much sense. For what it’s worth, this is not a bad movie, it’s just unnecessary in many areas.

Hoffman seems to want to pay tribute to the old early eighties slasher films, but also wants to make it cerebral and it doesn’t mesh at all. The direction is really sharp and eye catching as he opts for a fuzzy film stock that makes the movie look like something out of a mid-nineties direct to video library, and he sticks with this style throughout a greater portion of the arc. Hoffman paints his film in shades of dark blue and gray making the house in which our females in peril are in seem very desolate and grim, especially when the shit hits the fan in the climax. Reggie Bannister is considerably restrained as the sheriff here who is tormented by the psychotic convict who escaped from prison and is anxious to find out where he went. Which is confusing considering the psycho takes pride in killing his deputies (one whom is the great Linnea Quigley) outside his door. What’s the point of that?

And Hoffman and Jones also commit the error of explaining too much for the audience leaving nothing to the imagination at all. Bannister’s character goes on and on about what occurred on the crime scene never allowing the audience to experience the events for themselves. Hoffman seems to have included the framework of the sheriff as a form of using Bannister as much as possible, but when you stop and think about it, there’s not a lot of point to it at all. Especially when Alyssa, who experienced the events, should be telling us what occurred. Bannister gives a solid performance as usual, as this sheriff desperate to find this psycho before he starts murdering folks around town, and his interaction with Quigley is a highlight.

We also spend time with the male characters of the piece who do nothing but sit around a bar and talk about the legend of the murder that occurs in the opening of the film that’s clearly just padding and exposition that will not mean much when we roll around to the finale. Technically the film is very competent with some wide angles and interesting shots of our victims in peril that gets creative, but I’m still not sure why the story had to be so overly developed and confusing when the credits rolled, and the aftermath as depicted by heroine Alyssa is underwhelming and lacks an actual payoff.  All in all, “Spring Break Massacre” is just barely watchable and worth investing time in if you want to see Reggie Bannister and Linnea Quigley bounce dialogue off one another while also drooling at some girl on girl and sweet nudity. Otherwise, don’t expect much of a coherent story at all as director Hoffman just over complicates matters in the end.