It’s fair to say that not all remakes or re-imaginings are created as good as the original. There have been plenty of duds, from 2006’s The Omen and 2009’s Friday the 13th to 2010’s A Nightmare on Elm Street. The list goes on and on, especially in the Horror genre, however there are a few exceptions which standout as pretty decent remakes.
Originally released in 1982, The Slumber Party Massacre, written by Rita Mae Brown and directed by an uncredited Amy Holden Jones, is one of those films that came about at the heart of the Slasher craze. A sort of pardon on the genre, it is a title that still come up in conversation when recalling ’80s Slashers. That said, it would be hard to imagine it being remade, but it has been done in 2021 under the title Slumber Party Massacre, and the result is quite surprising.
Directed by Danishka Esterhazy (Vagrant Queen series, The Banana Splits Movie 2019) and written by Suzanne Keilly (Ash vs Evil Dead series, Leprechaun Returns 2018), 2021’s Slumber Party Massacre premiered on Syfy on October 16th, became available to purchase or rent digitally on October 19th, and will now be available on February 1, 2022 on Blu-Ray thanks to Shout Factory.
The new story beginning with a flash back to 1993 when Trish Devereaux (Schelaine Bennett: The Red Sea 2019, Monster Hunter 202) has a sleep over with friends Jackie (Jane de Wet: The Other Side 2019, Trackers 2019), Kim (Reem Koussa) and Diane (Larissa Crafford-Lazarus: Ballad of a Hustler 2020, Ladies Room 2021), in a cabin near Holly Springs. The girls’ fun is fast ruined by serial drill killer Russ Thorn (Rob van Vuuren: The Devil’s Mistress 2008, The Mauritanian 2021). Trish believes she succeeds in stopping Russ, but not finding his body allows doubt to creep in.
Fast forward in time to present day Los Angeles, Trish’s daughter Dana (Hannah Gonera: Jamillah and Aladdin 2015, Spell 2020) and her friends Maeve (Frances Sholto-Douglas: Samson 2018, The Kissing Booth 2 2020), Breanie (Alex McGregor: Blood Drive 2017, Searchers 2017), Ashley (Reze-Tiana Wessels: 7de Laan 2021) and Maeve’s stowaway sister Alix, (Mila Rayne), arrive at Holly Springs (renamed Jolly Springs) for their own sleepover adventure. Once again Russ’s homicidal urges get the better of him and he starts slaying anyone he encounters. Upon discovering the terrifying news, rather than flee, the girls and Dana’s mom Trish have their own surprises in store for Russ.
A fun watch all the way through, the cinematography by Trevor Calverley (Sink 2015, Beyond the River 2017) and special effects by Andrew Robertson (10,000 BC 2008, The Kissing Booth 2020) compliment a well-written, clean script which does not rely on the same old tropes. That in mind, Suzanne Keilly expertly incorporates themes of feminine strength, solidarity and diversity in the face of toxic masculinity.
When it comes to Slumber Party Massacre, think more ‘The Sisterhood of Travelling Lethal Weapons’ rather than The Joy Luck Club. Additionally, despite its fast pace, there is still plenty of character development amongst the gore. A must watch for fans of the original or newer Horror fans looking for a quality flick, Cryptic Rock gives 2021’s Slumber Party Massacres 5 out of 5 bloody stars.
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