DIRECTED BYJeff C. Smith
Jovan Meredith - Kane
Ashley Schneider - Julie
Devin Marble - Alfie
Lindsay Gareth - Tiffany
Renee Dorian - Madeline
Cory Assink - Geek One
Jonathan Brett - Geek Two
Will Deutsch - Ryan
Genre - Horror/Comedy/Parody/Independent
Running Time - 80 Minutes
Score - 1.5 Howls Outta 4
With the abundant of remakes and sequels of classic films from our past, it seems that the movie industry is looking back to make money for the future. But instead of making these films similar or better than their original copies, they're pretty much damaged to the point where the violence is less subtle, the camera shakes more to nauseate people, and instead of an R rating, we get PG-13 so the teen market can eat it up like candy. So fuck nudity. Fuck blood and guts. Let's turn a horror remake of a much better film into a horror equivalent of Gossip Girl. Yeah, true horror fans want to see that.
The industry doesn't seem to realize that horror fans want the horror from the 1970s and 1980s back. That's when horror was not only violent and perverted, but fun to watch for all the right [and most of the time, wrong] reasons. It was also intelligent too, which is why films like HALLOWEEN, A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, THE EVIL DEAD, and THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE hold up even to this day. While mainstream Hollywood refuses to go back to the old way of doing genre flicks, the independent scene seems damned in bringing back the horror most of us grew up with. One example is Jeff C. Smith's STUPID TEENAGERS MUST DIE!. Smith attempts at a homage of the 1980s by bringing back cliches: the seance, people getting possessed by demons or evil spirits, nudity, stereotypical characters, and 80s fashion. While I appreciate the attempt, STUPID TEENAGERS MUST DIE! doesn't really succeed all that much. It's not a horrible film at all like some people made it out to be, but it's not a great one like some others made it out to be either. Better gather around my Ouija board because I'm about to summon a review for this sucker.
A group of thirtysomethings [who claim to be teenagers] get together at some haunted house where some dude named Murder McGee killed his entire family and then himself. These stereotypes attempt to do a seance inside the mansion, leading to releasing the spirit of Murder McGee. McGee begins possessing these stupid "teenagers" one by one, committing murder by using their bodies. Can these stupid "teenagers" find a way to get rid of this evil spirit, or are they forced to spend the 1980s "Oh oh oh oh oh oh...just Hangin' Tough"?
STUPID TEENAGERS MUST DIE! advertises the following:
- Excessive violence.
- Gratuitous nudity.
- Zero budget.
Riiiight. Besides the zero budget [and believe me, this film has a ZERO budget], everything else was false advertising.
Excessive violence? Sure there's blood and guts in the film, but we don't really see the violence happening half the time. Shit, I see more violence in a single episode of The Real World then I did in this horror film. FRIDAY THE 13TH has excessive violence. SAW has excessive violence. FINAL DESTINATION has excessive violence. ELEKTRA has excessive violence [well at least to my head anyway - oy]. STUPID TEENAGERS MUST DIE! has no excessive violence. It's just enough violence that you could see in mostly any other horror film. And you could barely see it anyway due to the excessively poor lighting. I'll get back to that later.
Gratuitous nudity? Really? How so? Two or three boob shots? That's gratuitous? No bush? Not even an asscheek? What kind of 80s horror homage is this? When I'm promised "gratuitous nudity", I want to see a massive amount of breasts on screen so I can pop a boner and give myself a happy ending. Wolf Jr. barely woke up from his nap during these "gratuitous" moments. When Wolf Jr. doesn't wake up when promised, The Big Bad Wolf is not happy. At all.
However, the "zero budget" part was dead on. How can you tell? Well it looks like it was shot with a camcorder that probably cost no more than 100 bucks. The lighting sucked 60 percent of the time. For a film that takes place at night and in a dim haunted house, that's a pretty big fuck up. The audio was so bad that I could barely hear the actors when I had the volume close to the max on my television. Maybe that was a good thing though considering some of the dialogue. And the SFX of the film? Laughable at best. Everytime someone got possessed, they looked like Alice Cooper rather than a scary demon. I like my Teenage Frankensteins, but that make-up had me dying. But it goes with the promise of a "zero budget", so it works.
I do feel that the "zero budget" part is a cop-out in a way though. 80s slasher films, even though they didn't have blockbuster budgets, didn't really look as cheap as this film does. They did look sort of professional. And I've seen some low budget flicks like this one that look impressive even with a small budget. IT'S MY PARTY AND I'LL DIE IF I WANT TO has a similar theme to this and it looks a million times better than STUPID TEENAGERS MUST DIE!. So I think Jeff C. Smith took a cheap way out with this one, no pun intended.
I think Smith also missed out on the fact that he was making a parody here. Sure, we get the cliches and the things that make a slasher film what they are. But without a large body count, large amounts of T & A, and a villain we can get scared by or root for, what's the point? And the film is not even all that hilarious either. Sure, the two geeks do have some funny one-liners and the token black dude, Kane, told it like it is, but other than that? I was kind of bored and waiting for something funny to make me laugh. Plus it didn't look or feel like an 80s film to begin with. Just because you cast two Madonnabes and have a black guy wear a "Thriller" jacket doesn't make your film an 80s film. It looked wrong. It felt wrong. I see the attempt that was being made here but it didn't work for me at all.
I will say the direction isn't all that bad. Sure the lighting and cinematography sucks, but the way the film was shot was actually nicely done. It was edited good and some of the possession stuff at the end was nice. The build up was pretty slow but I liked that there was some sort of mystery in the film. I didn't love it but I didn't hate it either. Jeff C. Smith has some talent as a visual storyteller. He just needs a bigger budget to really make it happen.
The acting was decent as well. The best one was Jovan Meredith as the token black guy, Kane. He took what was stereotypical by those annoying token black characters in horror films [the ones that usually died first] and destroys them. He's the only character I was really invested in, as he said things I would say and did things I would do. He was really the only fleshed out character here. I liked the dude alot and I think he has a future ahead of him if he can pick a better film. I also liked the two geeks played Cory Assink and Jonathan Brett. I gotta admit - they made me laugh. They had the best dialogue and were enjoyable to watch.
The other actors didn't do much for me though. They were pretty annoying and I wanted them to die really quick. Unfortunately it didn't happen soon enough. Fuckin' thirty-year-olds playing teens. What is this, Beverly Hills 90210!?
THINGS I'VE LEARNED WHILE USING A FLASHLIGHT TO SEE WHAT THE HELL WAS GOING ON IN THIS FILM
- Always wash your fake tombstones. You don't want them filthy before you stick them into dirt. ::scratches head::
- If you're not careful inside a haunted house, you could get stabbed to death by someone under a sheet. That's what happens when you forget to change the fabric softener. I knew that teddy bear was evil.
- Seances seem to bring out the passion in hot lesbian chicks. I really need to buy a Ouija Board. H-L-A? Y-E-S!
- Madeline calls herself the Death Master. Yet, she walks amongst the living. Yeah, she's the best at what she does. Poser.
- Two nerds were tied up while sitting in chairs as they wore pink pillow covers on their heads. I'm sure it's not the kind of pink they were hoping to have their heads inside of, but it's a start I guess.
- Tiffany claims the haunted house is very Amityville. Yet, the house hasn't possessed anyone, made the walls bleed, or told anyone to "GET OUT!" Yeah, I can totally see the connection.
- Madeline told the punk wannabe, Alfie, that if he were a better lay, she'd be more into sex. I guess his Sex Pistol is shooting blanks.
THE FINAL HOWL
STUPID TEENAGERS MUST DIE! is pretty much a failure, in my opinion, but it's not bad enough to be one of the entrants of my WTF? Vault. It has some decent stuff going for it, but it just didn't click for me like it did for other people who really enjoyed this film. I'll stick to NIGHT OF THE DEMONS. At least Linnea Quigley shoves a tube of lipstick in her boob in that film. That scene alone is more entertaining than the entire 80 minutes of STUPID TEENAGERS MUST DIE!. Rent this at your own risk. Other than that, don't bother.