Classic american style slasher ‘Varsity Blood’ has body counts in big amounts
Alive in well in the landscape of horror films is the all american slasher movie. All it takes is a mask, a big knife or axe, and some screaming young debutantes and your recipe for an orgy of blood is complete. While it is becoming increasingly hard to bring anything new to the genre there are still studios invested in projects dealing with the classic formula of line em up and chop them up films. One such flick is the new movie from director Jake Helgren VARSITY BLOOD. The classic late night slasher homage flick has a decent body count to make up for not so inspiring work by the talent in the film.
Outside of the petite fembomb that is Elyse Bigler most of the cast gave a lukewarm performance that at times felt more read then initiated. This writer would have enjoyed seeing the film with a retroesque look as it would have added a nice solidity to the film. This aspect unfortunately allowed the film to move at a snails pace at first as the dynamics of the popular high school cliches are being developed. Once the killing starts VARSITY BLOOD gains momentum and a night at an abandoned farmhouse because a Halloween party bloodbath.
A directors unrated version of this movie is a must as many scenes felt unsatisfying when there were moments of smut and carnage. What has always made some slashers work is the ability to allow this world to exist in the film to create a carnal nature for the audience. When this is not achieved its hard to look at the film as much more than a teeny bopper slasher with no true substance to entertain the viewer. VARSITY BLOOD walks a fine line on this thought with too many scenes leaning more towards the worse outcome.
Potential for a good campy slasher? Yes! VARSITY BLOOD is the type of popcorn flick that invaded drive ins for a crisp 2 decades in the 70’s and 80’s. Maybe if this film had a look and feel from that time period the results would have been more rewarding. Director Jake Helgren is truly a student of the slasher genre but I do feel as the story arch in his previous high school romp BLOODY HOMECOMING was a tad better. We would be curious to see what he can do outside of the high school realm with his love for the giallo inspired who done it killer films. Not sure if we see it anytime soon as Jake also writes more family oriented things. Having genre icon Debbie Rochon in the film proves VARSITY BLOOD is a testament to the love of the horror craft.One last good thing about VARSITY BLOOD is it’s not too over the top for older children to enjoy so this may be one you want to have in time for your own Halloween festivities. If you are into campy slasher why not give it a view.
VARSITY BLOOD is directed by Jake Helgren and stars Lexi Giovagnoli, Wesley Scott, Debbie Rochon, Natalie Peyton, Blair Jackson, and Elyse Bigler. It will be available on DVD on August 19th courtesy of Image Entertainment.