Pillow Party Massacre Image

Pillow Party Massacre

By Bobby LePire | June 6, 2023

With a title like Pillow Party Massacre, there are only two ways a picture can go. The first is pure absurdity, a la Save Yourselves or Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes: evil pillows attacking people in their sleep. The second option is the route writer-director Calvin Morie McCarthy takes: a 1980s-inspired slasher in the vein of cult favorites Slumber Party Massacre or Sorority House Massacre. One of those titles still holds up as a creepy, thoughtful take on the genre, while the other is as exploitative as one imagines. So which camp does McCarthy’s horror offering land in?

For several seniors, this school dance will be their last one. Carter (Sebastian Bjorn) and Ashley (Savannah Raye Jones) decide to get away from the crowd for a more intimate and memorable moment together. But, it turns out Carter set up Ashley for a cruel prank, in which most attendees saw her naked. Humiliated, devasted, and outright pissed off, she storms out of the dance crying. However, Ashley comes back and (justly) kills Carter.

“…a patient has escaped from the same institution housing the criminally insane Ashley. Soon after, the bodies begin piling up.”

Two years later, the remorseful Sam (Laura Welsh) meets up with the other girls involved in that prank. She’s hoping for closure, while Alana (Jax Kellington), Mikki (Nicolette Pullen), Miles (Allegra Sweeney), and Barbra (Chynna Rae Shurts) want to keep the past behind them and reignite the friendship these five formerly shared. Unfortunately, they soon receive word that a patient has escaped from the same institution housing the criminally insane Ashley. Soon after, the bodies begin piling up. Is it Ashley seeking to finish the job she started years earlier? Is it a different convict just wishing to cause mayhem? Is it somebody else entirely, and if it is, why would they be targeting Sam and her friends?

The 1980s inspiration behind Pillow Party Massacre is evident in almost every scene. If cellular phones didn’t play such a prominent role here (an Amber Alert style text is how they learn of the breakout), it could be mistaken for an entry from that time frame. In fact, the narrative would be strengthened if it were actually set back then. That none of these ladies were charged with involuntary manslaughter (or some such) when they are so obviously complicit in Carter’s death rings false in this day and age. Also, the killer’s identity is so easy to figure out it is almost funny, but mostly, it’s frustrating and dumb.

Pillow Party Massacre (2023)

Directed and Written: Calvin Morie McCarthy

Starring: Laura Welsh, Jax Kellington, Nicolette Pullen, Allegra Sweeney, Chynna Rae Shurts, Savannah Raye Jones, etc.

Movie score: 6.5/10

Pillow Party Massacre Image

"…seriously, the songs are just terrific."

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