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[Review] ‘Varsity Blood’ Is Just Another 80’s Slasher Homage

Directed by Jake Helgren, who wrote 2012’s Bloody Homecoming, Varsity Blood is another drop in the pool of ’80s slasher homages that the DTV horror market is inundated with. While the film has its moments, overall it’s a frustrating, tedious experience that viewers will most likely dismiss shortly after watching it.

Released on the heels of the wickedly original All Cheerleaders Die, Varsity Blood follows a much more worn narrative path where a group of knucklehead jocks and their cheerleader counterparts are slaughtered by a masked villain. There’s not much originality here, but Helgren does balance the stereotypical characters with nicely sympathetic ones and others who break the mold. One of the main jocks, for example, is actually not a caricature and kind of a nice guy. That being said, the other jocks are beer-guzzling, tail-chasing nimrods that I couldn’t have cared less about.

The film is set on Halloween, always a good sign in my book. The holiday amounts to nothing but set dressing though. Nothing that occurs in the movie, besides a small bit of trick or treating, has anything to do with Halloween. Bloody Homecoming star Lexi Giovagnoli returns as Hannah, the new girl in school who recently transferred after her father was killed by a drunk driver. Her new stepbrother also saw tragedy at the hand’s of a drunk who killed his girlfriend. What does all this backstory amount to? Well, not much. It all gets scrapped later on for silly twists and the infuriating motivation of the killer.

Hannah meets her fellow cheerleaders at an abandoned farmhouse on Halloween night for some “end of the school year partying.” What school district ends its year on Halloween? Were these kids in school all summer? Anyways, the dialogue between Hannah and her friends is pretty fun and even clever at times. One cheerleader refers to her “cheergina” and another tells a trick or treater that costumes are for ” preadolescents and perverts, princess.” It’s the type of dialogue reminiscent of Heathers and Mean Girls, the kinda stuff I love in a high school movie.

Aside from that, there’s not much else to enjoy in Varsity Blood. The killer’s mask is pretty cool (it’s their high school mascot, a tribal mask), though any mystique surrounding him is shattered by the reveal of his identity. His motivation is so painfully stupid I thought it was a red herring at first. Once the kids arrive at the farmhouse, the film is terribly underlit, so even anticipated moments of gore are nearly impossible to make out. In a movie like this, populated with mostly negative characters, the kills are what you look forward to. Varsity Blood takes that away from its audiences. Bummer.

Varsity Blood has some good dialogue and some fun scenes, but overall it’s a lazy, unoriginal film. Save yourself the time and watch All Cheerleaders Die instead. Helgren obviously knows his stuff, but is it just enough to be an homage to ’80s slashers without bringing anything new to to the table? Of course not.

Varsity Blood is available on DVD August 19, if you hate yourself enough to watch it.



  • BryBryTheNiceGuy

    Good review, but I disagree! I thought this film was a fantastic homage to 80s slashers, and I gave it a 9/10 on my blog 🙂

    • Richter Belmont

      After viewing the trailer I noticed that the killer bears a striking resemblance to the Witch Doctor from an episode of ‘Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?’ called ‘A Tiki Scare is No Fair’.

      Is this really any good? I’m very forgiving when it comes to slashers because I don’t ever expect them to be groundbreaking, I only want to have a fun time. As long as it’s better than that horrible ‘All The Boys Love Mandy Lane’ I’ll be happy.

  • AtariJunkie

    I will have to disagree with the review – just watched it and it paid a great tribute to the 80’s slashers. All Cheeleaders Die started off good then failed horribly. This movie is by far better. It had all the 80’s style – questionable acting / everyone in their mid 20’s pretending to be teens / characters you hate / bad music / wasn’t an obvious insult like Scream / wasn’t bad as in shot on a $100 budget / gore was actually present and they showed it AND it wasn’t CG! The cheesy sex/drunk/high/die formula.
    It gave us what we were expecting. That’s a rarity in modern horror.

  • The acting is PAINFUL to watch.

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