Slumber Party Massacre (2021), written by Suzanne Keilly and directed by Danishka Esterhazy, is an update on the classic 1982 slasher The Slumber Party Massacre. Like the original trilogy, this new version stays true to the franchise roots with its spotlight on women behind and in front of the camera.
Slumber Party Massacre follows a group of friends going on a trip where they come face-to-face with Russ Thorn aka the Driller Killer (Rob van Vuuren). Dana (Hannah Gonera) joins her friends Maeve (Frances Sholto-Douglas), Alix (Mila Rayne), Breanie (Alex McGregor), and Ashley (Reze-Tiana Wessels).
Slumber Party Massacre offers a new look into the familiar story, while staying true to the spirit of the original film.
This reimagining of the classic film makes changes which include structuring the film as a return to a location where a murder happened years ago, allowing the film to give us a more personal story about these girls fighting for their lives.
This also creates opportunity to subvert the slasher genre in new and unique ways, similar to how the original film was highlighting and commenting on slasher tropes as they were just becoming recognizable.
Slumber Party Massacre changes location, but keeps the same spark and feeling of the original film. Being in a more secluded locale allows the film the chance to play around with tropes found in other subgenres of the slasher such as the summer camp and secluded small town slasher.
The film moves its action from multiple houses in a neighborhood to multiple cabins around a lake in a small, forgotten town. This gives the film a chance to create something new, while still maintaining the mounting pressure of trying to find safety and seeing shadowy figures from far away, yet too close for comfort.
Slumber Party Massacre is fun and memorable in its own right, and the references to the original franchise are welcome and not overpowering. One particularly enjoyable cameo comes in the form of a weapon. One of the group of guys our protagonists meet finds the guitar from Slumber Party Massacre II inside their cabin. This is a fun and sweet moment for fans of the original films, but does not take away from the flow and tone of this reimagining.
The Slumber Party Massacre (1982) is well-known for its feminist interpretation of the slasher — a genre which is more feminist than some might think. Slumber Party Massacre maintains this focus on women standing up for themselves against predatory men.
This version features strong imagery such as the killer's overtly long drill-bit being cut down by a woman, but it also deals with issues of women being blamed for for causing men to assault and murder. Villainous characters spout lines about tempting men through clothing choice and throughout the film men question the validity of the experiences of women.
Slumber Party Massacre keeps the satirical tone and dives deeper into specific issues people who are not straight cis white men face all too often.
The film takes time to highlight real, serious issues through satirical commentary and allows the victims in the film the chance to fight back and try to reclaim their lives.
Slumber Party Massacre examines the often-used slasher trope — the shower scene — to further bring to focus the film's examination of the male gaze and how that can lead to danger and destruction.
Slumber Party Massacre deals heavily with men feeling they deserve access to women's bodies and view the clothing choice of women as the reason for their killing. This is explored throughout the film, but Slumber Party Massacre also sparks this conversation by focusing their shower scene on a man.
This reimagining goes all out with its kills, giving us creative, gory, and memorable moments that are distant enough from the original film to feel fresh and exciting.
There are a few kills and aftermath moments which reference specific moments from the original with subtlety and individuality. One of the most memorable moments from the original film deals with a character opening the fridge door without seeing the gory carnage inside. This moment is referenced and comes across a nice nod without recreating the scene beat-for-beat.
Slumber Party Massacre opens with a flashback showing another group of teenagers stalked and murdered by Russ Thorn. This sets the film up well, establishing the level of gore early and giving us another connection to the original film. The group within this opening segment represent the characters from the original film, allowing the major action of the film to explore new characters, while still having a connection to what came before.
The kills keep coming throughout Slumber Party Massacre and never feel harmed by the film's television release. There were never any moments where I felt the level of gore was toned down for its television release.
Slumber Party Massacre is a gory, entertaining film with just enough commentary on sexist excuses, the validity of women's voices, and the inherent feminism of the slasher genre. This is a perfect film to prepare you for Halloween and is a wonderful addition to the Slumber Party Massacre family.
Slumber Party Massacre aired October 16th on Syfy.
What did you think of Slumber Party Massacre? Which horror remakes are your favorites?