A group of five women go camping in the woods to celebrate a friend’s birthday over 4/20 weekend. But when they cross the turf of an illegal marijuana grow operation they must struggle to survive the living nightmare.
Buddy (Mark Schroeder) and Dug (Drew Talbert) are hiking through for miles, heading deeper and deeper into the wilderness. Their destination unclear, the brave the scorching heat and the endless horizon to arrive at their destination. Finally, they have found it! A legendary stash of marijuana being grown in the middle of nowhere. Suddenly The Shape (James Gregory) draped in scraggly camo-gear attacks the hikers for their trespass, stabbing them with a hunting knife as the two thieves try to run. Okay, I thought, I can see where this is headed and I am fine with it. However, after establishing a nice set of rules in creating a dangerous and hallowed ground not to be trespassed on, writer-director Dylan Reynolds takes left turn and begins telling another story.
“A legendary stash of marijuana being grown in the middle of nowhere…”
Jess (Jamie Bernadette), Aubrey (Vanessa Rose Parker) Donna (Stacey Danger) Rachel (Justine Wachsberger) and Michelle (Marissa Pistone) are wandering into the same arid woods. This group is looking to return to the campgrounds that Jess and Aubrey knew as children. Friendly ranger Rick (Jim Storm) rolls up alongside them and warns them of not going too deep in the woods and getting lost. They assure him that they know the area and know exactly where they are going. After plying the ranger with beers they set off to find their camping spot.
They choose what could be described as one of the least picturesque camping spots one could hope for. The sparse trees and the thick bed of dried pine needles centered by a singular log for sitting. The camp is established and Jess and Aubrey go off to explore vistas and have long, meaningful conversations while Rachel and Michelle run off to make out under another canopy of combustible, dry pine trees. This leaves the best character, Donna, alone to sit and partake in 4/20.
Then the killings start. Not provoked by the characters trespassing and attempting to steal, but by merely being in the area. Okay, that worked for Jason. But why bother with the guys stealing at the begg… Nevermind.
“…a lazy throughline, plotlines being abandoned, and inexplicable behavior that is a lot easier to take in if you don’t question things.”
A slasher movie made by and for apparent kush heads exhibits the exact thing you would expect; a lazy throughline, plotlines being abandoned, and inexplicable behavior that is a lot easier to take in if you don’t question things. It’s not that the characters are unlikable, the acting is not terrible, it’s pretty on-par for an indie actually. It’s just that Reynolds’ script has a hard time with focus and brevity. Scenes go on for ages and emotional moments are delivered before they are earned making us all go “Cool story bro.”
I will give props on a few of the kills. Most of which I can almost hear high viewers reacting to with a shocked exclamation, “GNARLY!” In fact one kill with a bong made have been borrowed from PSYCHOTIC!, but it’s still a good one.
What we have here is a serviceable movie with arid production design, moderate acting, and a script in need of focus. If you can get past those misgivings and make your way from one kill scne to the next, you might have a good time.
4/20 Massacre (2018) Directed by Dylan Reynolds. Written by Dylan Reynolds. Starring Jamie Bernadette, Vanessa Rose Parker, Stacey Danger, Justine Wachsberger, Marissa Pistone, Jim Storm.
4/20 Massacre is worth VOD (**).
Norm’s Rating System: Full Price (****), Matinee (***), VOD (**), Don’t Bother (*)