When it comes to the slasher genre in horror films there are some pretty straight forward rules to go by. Fans have grown accustom to having plenty of nudity, crazy teenagers, great kills and above all an awesome killer. The latest, Varsity Blood, comes from Jake Helgren, writer of the 2012 insane film Bloody Homecoming but this time he is stepping into the director’s chair as well. He has proven he can write for the genre, but does he manage to bring another great slasher flick to life or will this be a fumbled play?
Varsity Blood follows a pack of small town jocks and cheerleaders with a dark secret who head out to a remote farmhouse for a raucous Halloween pasture party, only to find themselves up for slaughter by someone dressed as their high school mascot, an Indian warrior wielding a lethal fighting ax and a bow and arrow. At first this film seemed like it was going to knock it out of the park with the killing starting right away, but then it just slowed down to a crawl. For the majority of the film there is nothing going on except for the annoying teenager situations, which is typically fine if things are building to somewhere. Here they are trying to get you to buy into who it might be without really doing anything to keep you all that interested. When they killer does show up from time to time throughout it only works well about half the time. The kills aren’t overly creative or gory, which isn’t always necessary, but can really make up for pacing issues in this genre. The killer himself is a great idea, but the mask choice comes off more comical than menacing or creepy therefore never really sells the idea all that well. Sure with this story you have to have a mascot that will work as an actual mascot as well as the killer, but they could have gone a much cooler direction.
In the end this film fell a bit short on really selling it as a whole. The twist ending wasn’t all that unexpected, but it does still showcase enough kills to keep fans of the genre likely entertained. This is one genre that is harder to judge than most as fans are so all over the board you can never really tell what will resonate with them, so if you are a hardcore gore hound then give this flick a shot and make your own decision when it hits DVD on August 19th.