02nd Oct2014

‘Sorority Party Massacre’ DVD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Marissa Skell, Eve Mauro, Ed O’Ross, Yvette Yates, Thomas Downey, Casey Fitzgerald, Rebecca Grant, Adrian Kirk, Alison Mei Lan, Keith Compton, Richard Moll, Leslie Easterbrook, Louis Mandylor, Ron Jeremy, Kevin Sorbo | Written by Chris W. Freeman | Directed by Justin Jones, Chris W. Freeman

Sorority-PM-DVD

Imagine if you let a horny, ADD-riddled teenage boy watch a whole bunch of 80s slasher movies, introduce him to a gaggle of nubile young women, and then make his own take on the genre but without a decent budget, or decent gore effects. You’d probably end up with something like Sorority Party Massacre

When his daughter goes missing, an L.A. police captain (Kevin Sorbo) dispatches Detective Watts (Thomas Downey) to investigate. As Watts is due to be suspended for growing anger management issues, he is keen to earn the favour of his captain. However, on arriving in Grizzly Cove, the setting for a gathering of sorority girls, it quickly becomes clear to Watts that the missing girl was merely the first victim of a killer who will strike again and again unless he is stopped.

You know, there’s one thing I miss about the 80s era of slasher movies. Short running times! Back in the day there was no need for a film to outstay its welcome – if a film needed to be 75 minutes it was 75 minutes, none of this spinning out scenes to make your film into a close-to-two-hour epic. Sadly Sorority Party Massacre takes the VERY long route to get to it’s conclusion and after an hour I couldn’t help but wish the film would be over already; and there was still 40 minutes to go!

Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot to enjoy about this film, it’s just there are so many lulls in narrative and action that the pace slows down to a crawl. A bit tighter on the storytelling and editing and, as a fan of the slasher genre, Sorority Party Massacre would have been right up my [blood-filled] alley. Top of the “reasons to recommend” list is none moreso than actor Ed O’Ross (Full Metal Jacket, Red Heat) as Sheriff Lumpkin. O’Ross brings the real acting kudos to a film which, for the most part, is very much amateur hour. His performance is matched only by Leslie Easterbrook as sorority house mother Stella. Whilst Easterbrook may be famous for her comedic role as busty Sgt. Callahan in Police Academy and it’s sequels, here she’s a hard-nosed, love-to-hate her character and you can’t help but cheer when she finally gets her comeuppance.

Of course on the flip side, there’s plenty about Sorority Party Massacre not to like. First off, can we get some better on-screen talent? Some of the sorority sisters in this film look like they’re in their 40s, let alone your usual thirty-somethings as teens, and 90% of them can’t act for toffee. It doesn’t help that the script, editing and direction are all just as weak too. Plus someone needs to tell writer and co-director Chris W. Freeman that half a dozen twists does not for a good horror film make – in this particular case they just muddy the water even further!

Starting out as a fun slasher parody, Sorority Party Massacre takes a serious turn part way through and it’s all downhill from there. If Justin Jones and Chris W. Freeman had just stuck with the comedic light tone of the films early going we could have had a slasher to rival the Slumber Party/Sorority House Massacre series and not the mess that this becomes. Here’s hoping the duo can rectify some of this films problems with the proposed sequel, Bachelorette Party Massacre.

Sorority Party Massacre is out now on DVD from Anchor Bay UK.

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