10th Mar2014

‘Bloody Homecoming’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Jim Tavaré, Rae Latt, Lexi Giovagnoli, Alex Dobrenko, Randi Lamey, Branden Lee Roth, Taryn Cervarich, Elizabeth Bigger, Shaleen Cholera, Grainne McDermott, Jesse Ferraro, Steve Earnest, Victoria Park, Hilary Wagner | Written by Jake Helgren | Directed by Brian C. Weed

bloodyhomecoming

Three years earlier Billy Corbin died trapped in a fiery storeroom. Now the ones who let him burn are attending their school homecoming party and it could be their last. 
It’s payback time without pity for the young, the foolish and the beautiful. One by one they disappear, each meeting a gory, terrifying end. The corridors of Winston High are dark, slippery and wet with the blood of those who came before.

First off, you’re probably all aware of just how much I love slasher movies. If I have one particular genre love (behind 80s teen flicks I might add) it’s 80s slashers. I could never get enough of them as a teenager and, to be honest, I’m still discovering “new” old slasher movies today thanks to the likes of Code Red, Scorpion Releasing et al. So when a new slasher-wannabe comes along I’m often very skeptical. After all, for every great modern slasher like Scream, we get a terrible slasher like I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer

Thankfully more recently there seems to have been tidal change in the genre. No longer are filmmakers trying to create new genre-literate horrors, with the self-referential nature of the likes of the aforementioned Scream. Instead there’s a new wave of “homage” films, that are referencing the genre’s heyday and the ever-increasing lunacy that filmmakers found themselves at the mercy of when trying to create a new slasher villain. Sleeper, which I reviewed last summer, falls into that camp. As does Bloody Homecoming.

Imagine if 80s slasher movies The Prowler, Prom Night and My Bloody Valentine got together and had a bastard lovechild. Well that lovechild would be Bloody Homecoming… Costumed silent killer. Check. Sharp stabby weapon. Check. Set of nubile teens. Check. Plenty of red herring characters. Check. See? It’s really not that hard to recreate the 80s slasher.

This time round our killer is dressed in fireman’s garb and carrying a sharpened cheerleader’s spirit stick, wielding the weapon in a similar manner to the combat-gear clothed killer from The Prowler – there’s even a nod to the death of Carl in that film (which itself was co-opted from Lucio Fulci’s The House By the Cemetery). Of course central to the slasher is the mystery and Bloody Homecoming poses plenty of questions on just who, or what is behind the murders: Is it the creepy, paedophilic principal? Or could it be Billy’s father who’s also town’s Sheriff? Did Billy somehow survive the fire? Or is the killer really Fred the creepy janitor?

Speaking of janitors, it was something of a surprise to see British stand-up comedian turned character actor Jim Tavare in the cast. A self-confessed Michael Berryman lookalike, Tavare turns the creepy up to 11 in his role as the “is-he-or-isn’t-he the killer” Janitor Fred. Of the rest of the cast, final girl Loren, played by Lexi Giovagnoli (who worked with director Weed on the TV show Passport to Explore) is the real highlight, showing the same gutsy attitude as many of those scream queens who have come before her. It’s just a shame Giovagnoli doesn’t get to really take it out on the films villain like those final girls who have survived slashers of the past.

The feature film debut of Brian C. Weed, who previously worked as a cameraman and cinematographer on a number of TV shows and shorts, Bloody Homecoming is a fantastic independent 80s-style slasher. The type of film that shows Hollywood how to successfully bring back a much loved, and often much maligned, genre. The type of film that the Prom Night remake should have been, instead of the by-the-numbers crapfest that it was – easily ranking up there with such superb examples of the modern-day slasher such as Tamara and The Sleeper.

Bloody Homecoming is available on DVD, in stores across the UK, from image Entertainment.

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