The horror genre has used the holidays as a platform and theme for the stories that need to be told. Christmas and Halloween being the dominant two used to give us a scare. Did you ever think that you would ever see a movie based on a holiday that celebrates marijuana? The date April 20th is known as the day for marijuana a.k.a. weed enthusiast to celebrate their favorite pastime which is to smoke. The code “420” is usually referred to as weed. This is why on the day April 20th has now become an unofficial holiday.
Director Dylan Reynolds has decided to cash in on that and create a movie surrounding the joyous day. 4/20 Massacre involves 6 women, all friends, who decide to go camping and celebrate the birthday of Jess (Jamie Bernadette), whose birthday just so happens to be on April 20th, and she doesn’t even smoke weed. During their journey they stumble upon illegal marijuana grow operation which is guarded by a dark force that will protect it at all cost.
I like this plot and concept. It is something that has been touched before in subtle ways and I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a true story out there of unfortunate events of people dying because they stumbled upon a secret stash. It’s just another case of being at the wrong place at the wrong time. My first impression is this going to be a supernatural film, a ghost or a cursed apparition. Is it just a maniac who is completely high all the time protecting his investment? This could go either way which I think is good when making a film, you have all these possibilities you can go with it.
The story starts off pretty traditional for any slasher film by introducing all of the players, getting to know the dynamics of the relationship. There are a few of them who are lesbian who mentioned their sexuality or attraction or love for another in the group. I thought that was a nice touch to the characters. There of course is the one stoner chick that is all about the weed and nothing but the weed. What I like about the characters in this film is that it shows another side of the stoner troupe. Yes, they all love weed, with the exception of one, but they don’t treat these characters like lazy stone boneheads most people perceive them to be. These women are strong in personality and their chemistry was great and it was nice to watch them casually and effortlessly interact with each other through the first act of the film.
Another strength this movie had going for it is the practical effects and the kills that were executed in the film. When you come across under the radar movies like this you can expect a lot of bad performances, cheesy one liner, and just poor editing. This film however used practical effects and in a good way. Some of the kills made my jaw drop, mostly as a surprised as I didn’t expect this particular film to accomplish. The villain of this story didn’t hold back. There was no mercy or drawn out toying around and stretching a scene when it came to the attacks for the most part.
My experience however watching the movie as a whole was a little different. While there is a kill in the prologue of the film just to tease what is to come, there really was nothing but dialogue for the next 1hr and 10 mins or so. This movie is a very character driven movie vs. a typical slasher film where someone dies every 10 – 20 mins. Depending on the type of horror movies you enjoy watching, that would be something to think about when checking out this film if it’s the right one for you.
By the second half of the movie, you pretty much learn who the big stars are or who you believe to be the final girl of the picture as well as what is this shape that is attacking all the campers. After the reveal, it gets a little bit hokey as there was a bit of a drawn out sequence of how to finish this movie off on a high (pun intended). At this point I couldn’t tell if this was a horror comedy or just a straight up horror action movie. With all that being said, keeping the cast small gave it that realistic feeling of a random occurrence that ends up in bloodshed. However, I do think there was a little bit of a missed opportunity, just with the amount of kills or entertainment on screen by having this take place at a festival that is holding an event for the cannabis day.
This movie is recommended for anyone who celebrates and appreciates the pastime of smoking weed. It doesn’t give the psychedelic feeling or suspense you would get if you were high like in the movie Shrooms. The film still provides and concentrates the central focus and topic of conversation focused around weed. This movie also is for those who would like to see something different when it comes to watching a cast of characters that step out of the horror troupe and actually have character in their roles. This isn’t a solid hit for me though; the second half of the film kind of lost my attention. It started to become a bit predictable as the movie looked like it was trying to catch up with all the kills that should have been evenly spread out throughout instead. I wanted a bit more entertainment than what was given.
You would think this movie will be released on VOD on 4/20 but nope, actually it will be released on 4/3 on VOD and also DVD. With strong leads and better than expected kills, this is not a miss but no matter what I always enjoy watching a slasher film of any kind.
2 ½ out of 5
Thank you for reading this latest review. If you happen to find yourself having the opportunity to check this out, come back and comment your thoughts on the film. Remember, every movie has at least one fan. If you are a fan of the film, I want to hear from you. I’ll see you at the movies.