Written by: Tera Kirk
Directed by: Jake Helgren
Cast: Lexi Giovagnoli, Wesley Scott, Debbie Rochon, Natalie Peyton, Blair Jackson
It’s almost Halloween, and Hannah’s recently joined the cheer squad at Hogeye High. For a new kid, she seems to be fitting in pretty well–all her new friends just invited her to a Halloween party. However, between her mother’s overprotectiveness (no hanging out with friends after the game!), the principal’s daughter who died in an accident exactly a year ago and the killer dressed as the Hogeye team mascot, maybe a late-night shindig in a barn isn’t such a good idea.
The new film from the people who brought us Bloody Homecoming, Varsity Blood is clearly a throwback to the glory days of the slasher, but the end result is neither inventive nor satisfying. The characters do a lot of talking. Important plot developments are revealed by characters talking to each other. One of the murder suspects never actually appears—he’s mostly only discussed by the sheriff and his secretary over the phone.
For all their chattiness, though, I don’t care about any of these people. The film obviously wants me to feel something about how sometimes-mascot Jeff’s in love with Hannah but she’s dating football player Blaine and doesn’t know how deep Jeff’s feelings go. Or how something tragic happened to Hannah in the past that may have to do with why her mom keeps her on such a tight leash, and why she’s so determined to disobey. But the writing and acting are so flat that all I feel about anyone is: When is the killer going to start picking them all off?
When the masked killer finally does show up, it’s too dark to see what’s happening. Hell, I only got the gist of how the principal’s daughter died, which is a Big Reveal essential to potential suspects’ motivations. All the slow-motion in the world couldn’t compensate for the bad lighting–and the death of the principal’s daughter is one of the best-lit deaths in the whole movie.
With uninteresting characters, no budget and mostly-obscured murders, Varsity Blood is a pretty mediocre slasher film. At least the killer wasn’t the really obvious suspect–but even then, the movie is still mind-numbingly boring.
About the Author: Tera Kirk has loved horror movies since before her mom allowed her to watch most of them. (One of her fondest childhood memories is being terrified of the trailer for Stuart Gordon’s Dolls.) She has written for Monsters At Play, and reviews video games for GameCritics.com. Her more-or-less personal website is Sweet Perdition.