The DTV horror market has been inundated for years with slashers attempting to capture the glory of the 1980s. While it’s easy to amp up the gore and the body count, what makes many of these films fall short is the intolerable characters. Not every character needs to be likable, but if the whole roster is made up of unbearable pricks, then who cares if they get killed or not? Ya gotta root for someone.
Bloody Homecoming goes through the classical steps of a slasher film and during its 85 minute run time, gets a lot of things right. It’s a whodunnit slasher as well, with the killer revealed in the final minutes. From its prologue to its cliffhanger ending, the film is totally competent in what it’s doing in regards to the slasher tradition. It’s got its share of blemishes, but it’s damn nice to be able to put on a DTV slasher and not have to fight fast-forwarding through huge chunks of it.
A major part of Bloody Homecoming‘s success is due to its actors. The entire cast is made up of young, inexperienced kids who are (thankfully) high school age. What they lack in experience, however, they make up for with a whole lotta heart. It’s actually believable that they would be friends in real life too. None of them are overly stereotypical or seem like they would roll with cliques. A few of the kids are just plain bad, but thankfully they’re mainly the secondary roles. All of the main kids are decent.
Oh, wait. There is one that sucks. He plays the boyfriend to a girl who looks like Hot Topic exploded all over her. He hams it up way too much – even doing a sincere Austin Powers impression at one point. So besides that one kid, the main cast really gives it their all.
The film takes place three years after a tragic accident left a sophomore student of Winston High burned to death on homecoming night. I guess I shouldn’t call it a “tragic” accident since a few minutes before burning up, he tried to rape a girl. Now it’s homecoming again and the kids involved with the accident are seniors gearing up for that magical night. Then someone dressed in a fireman’s outfit starts killing them in ways that range from the everyday (stabbing) to the creative (vinyl balloon over the mouth).
The effects are all practical and look pretty good for a limited budget. The gore is pretty tame for a slasher – most of it is impaling and eye-stabbings. Blood is used really well too. Not just to splatter everywhere, but there’s also a great part during the homecoming dance where some horny kids are unknowingly partying next to a growing pool of blood. It’s a nice, humorous touch.
The film’s final 20 minutes or so are an extended chase scene between the killer and the main cast. Throughout this well-crafted and well-paced chase, it’s still a mystery who the killer is. Once revealed, it’s a bit of a head-scratcher. Besides a dwindling cast of characters, there’s nothing prior to the reveal that would allow you to guess who it is. Overall it’s a pretty good revenge set-up, albeit one that comes maybe a little too outta left field.
With my home video gig at this site and others, I’m forced to endure through a lot of shitty slasher “throwbacks.” Bloody Homecoming was a nice breath of fresh air. Even if it is recycled air that we’ve all tasted before, it was still nice to watch a capable slasher with tolerable characters. Bravo, director Brian C. Weed and writer Jake Helgren.