Personally, I find stoner comedies and slasher flicks to be two of the most comforting things in existence, and I often wonder why filmmakers don’t combine these complimentary genres more often. While there’s commonly a throwaway stoner character in many horror films, there’s yet to be a horror comedy that follows in the footsteps of classics like Cheech and Chong or Harold and Kumar. That’s why I jumped on the opportunity to review Dylan Reynolds’s new film, 4/20 Massacre!
The aptly named 4/20 Massacre features Jamie Bernadette, Vanessa Rose Parker, Stacey Danger, Justine Wachsberger and Marissa Pistone as an ensemble of stoners who embark on an ill-fated camping trip. Once the girls encounter a costumed stranger who’s more than willing to kill in order to protect his unorthodox plantation, things get messy with plenty of pot humor, murderous thrills and a retro soundtrack to boot.
Stoner humor has always been a love-it or hate-it kind of affair, and your appreciation of these tropes will ultimately decide whether or not you’re going to have a good time with 4/20 Massacre, as these elements outweigh the slasher elements of the flick until the final act. This isn’t really surprising, as most classic slashers spend the majority of the runtime “hanging out” with the potential victims before shit hits the fan, and it just so happens that in this case, all the victims are potheads.
Despite the emphasis on humor, there are a lot of punchlines that don’t quite land, and many of the jokes aren’t all that original to begin with. This, coupled with some uninspired kills, makes the film feel way too slow at times, though it never becomes entirely devoid of entertainment. It’s a real shame that the horror aspect isn’t fully fleshed out, as making the slasher elements more gruesome could have made for a nice change of pace, contrasting with the more laid-back approach in the humorous scenes.
Nevertheless, we did get an interesting backstory and motivation for our killer, though it was poorly delivered through some expository dialogue. The characters were also likable enough that their untimely demise still packed a punch in spite of some relatively tame effects. Of course, much of this is due to the charming cast, but the script admittedly did a great job at characterizing these young women with their own unique issues and personalities.
In the end, 4/20 Massacre exists in a weird state of cinematic limbo, as it’s not especially funny or scary, but it’s still somehow charming enough to recommend if you’re a fan of stoner humor and/or classic slasher flicks. The pacing is rather off and the horror elements could have used some more polish, but the script is just clever enough to make it all work. Plus, the movie ends on one of the coolest closing shots in recent memory, so why not give it a shot?
4/20 Massacre will be available in select theaters starting (you guessed it) April, 20th!