As a child, I loved going to the video store. I would quickly scan over the new releases (what my parents would let me rent), pick something out, and head on over to the horror section. I loved staring at the cover art and reading about the horrors that were hidden inside that innocuous black tape. My brother would be looking at Nintendo games, and my parents would pick out an action flick.
I was introduced to many movies in this manner (despite never seeing them until later): April Fools Day, Return of the Living Dead, Hellraiser, etc. There was even this weird movie (I forget the title) about a magician that killed people on stage, brought them back to life, and then those people were found dead later of the injuries they suffered on stage. I remember that it had a picture of the magician holding a hammer and stake up to a lady’s head while she smiled, and then another picture of her now bashed in head while he smiled to the audience. The cover art was so memorable that I had to make it a point to see all these movies eventually (except for that magician movie…I still don’t know what that was called.).
I can only imagine that this is what life was like for the makers of Don’t Go To the Reunion.
Don’t Go To the Reunion is an updated retelling of Prom Night and an homage to the slasher genre in general. The kills are OK, but the dialogue in the first half of the movie is phenomenal. There are some flaws, but for a first time independent slasher, it’s pretty damn good.
Scott is a troubled young man that loves watching horror movies with his friends. Unfortunately, he is also the target of an elaborate prank by the “In” crowd and is expelled from school. 10 years later, the group returns home to attend their reunion.
The group rents a house together on the lake, and begins catching up. Like most reunion movies, the group did not live up to its expectations of what they thought life would be. The most popular guy is a drunk. The jock is insecure. The popular girl seems to be the most successful of the group, but everybody is just average.
That night, an unseen killer starts taking them all out one by one.
There are so many old horror movie references in this movie that I probably missed quite a few. It takes us from a Prom Night set up to a Friday the 13th unseen killer movie. The names all seem horror related (Carpenter struck me.). The deaths are all eerily similar to those I’ve seen in other movies (spoiler) that I was not surprised at all to have it revealed that they imitated famous horror kills. As a horror fan, this is a great nod to that little bit of knowledge that we store away as fans. As a horror fan, this does bring down the movie as the finale becomes predictable.
After the prank (which can be best described as generic), the movie really takes off. The dialogue between the characters seem real, and it becomes fun. The characters seem one dimensional, but I came to realize that is the high school persona they are trying to hold up to one another. When they are alone, the insecurities come to light.
Once this movie makes the transformation to slasher, it’s just ok (but nothing to write home about). The characters react oddly to the situation at hand. Personally, if I am running from a killer, I’m not going to be coming onto my high school crush. The kills (although familiar) are handled in a “new” fashion so I did appreciate that. As a horror fan, though, the ending is easy to spot (although you will over-think it to get there).
Don’t Go to the Reunion is definitely worth a look. It has a Sleepaway Camp-iness to it that had me wondering what tricks were going to be pulled out for the finale, but it shines where most movies fail: in the story. This is Slasher Studios first feature film, but I expect great things from them in the future.