Six strangers are thrown together as part of a slasher movie re-enactment. It seems like good fun, what with them being left in the woods and pursued by serial killers. But what happens when it becomes real? And who will survive? And, of course, what will be left of them?
Marcienne Dwyer starts with the heroine, Alex, who is filling in for her boyfriend’s best friend as they go to Slasher Sleepout, an escape room style weekend. The relationship between her and Nathan, as well as the event itself, are not what they seem. While Alex seems like the best girlfriend ever, the truth is much different. And Nathan’s reasons for bringing her aren’t all that pure either.
All manner of slasher tropes show up here, from the sinister gas station to the victims that are along for the ride, like the gothy and gore-obsessed Marina and Pitch, horror film lover Larry and Tim, who is a cipher and may just be part of the game. They’re all abducted and taken into the woods for the game, where there are set clues and objects that they all need to get to the next point.
Halfway through the movie, a stylistic change suddenly happens, taking the film from Friday the 13th to Saw. That’s also when we learn a lot more about our two main characters. There’s a lot of fan service to slasher fans, but if you’re looking for a film that recalls those movies and says something new, this isn’t it. It’s not a bad film, but the narrative switch veers from pure slash and stalk to psychological horror.
This is co-writer (along with Trysta A. Bissett) Preston DeFrancis feature directorial debut and he does pretty well with it. I’ve read other reviews online complaining about the poor acting of some of the characters in here, but I didn’t really notice. That said, if you look at most of the stuff I watch, I care more about being entertained than by the quality of the performances. I chalked it up to the slasher roots at the heart of this one.
To be honest, I liked where the film was heading before the shift, but I was still entertained by where things ended up. But hey, make up your own mind. You should watch it for yourself. It’s streaming exclusively on Shudder.