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Review: Slumber Party Massacre (2021)

Slumber Party Massacre (2021)

Directed by: Danishka Esterhazy

Premise: A remake of the 1981 film. A group of women gather at a remote cabin and are preyed upon by a killer with a giant power drill.

What Works: 1981’s The Slumber Party Massacre was one of the better regarded films to come out of the classic slasher era. It satirized the genre while also fulfilling many of the conventions that audiences expected to see. The 2021 remake only replicates the basic premise—young women are threatened by a killer with a power drill—but it enhances the satire. If the 1981 film was made for an audience familiar with Halloween and Friday the 13th, the remake is made for an audience whose frame of reference is rooted in The Cabin in the Woods and It Follows. Viewers who have seen the original Slumber Party Massacre films will recognize the callbacks but that familiarity is not required to appreciate this film. The moviemakers aspire to the kind of feminist messaging of the 2019 remake of Black Christmas but that is done much better here. The sexual politics mostly grow organically out of the story and the filmmakers approach it with a sense of humor, making the political point easier to take. 2021’s Slumber Party Massacre plays on horror cliches and skillfully sets up and then inverts our expectations but does so in ways that are smart and develop the characters.  This film balances humor and horror effectively. It’s gory and scary when it needs to be, especially in the last half hour, but the film also has a glib sense of humor and the cast demonstrate suburb comic timing, in particular Mila Rayne as the youngest member of the group.

What Doesn’t: There are a couple of narrative problems with Slumber Party Massacre especially in its final stretch. Characters walk in and out of the story at the filmmaker’s convenience and the picture concludes very abruptly.

Bottom Line: 2021’s Slumber Party Massacre is a good remake. The filmmakers pay homage to the original while making their own movie for a contemporary audience. 

Episode: #874 (October 24, 2021)