Article first published as DVD Review: ‘Varsity Blood’ on Blogcritics.
There’s nothing wrong with a director wearing his inspirations on his sleeve. It worked wonders for the Scream series, but writer/director Jake Helgren has gone and made his directorial debut Varsity Blood so straight-faced it’s ripe for the Mystery Science Theater 3000 treatment.
Unintentional comedy abounds. Plus, it doesn’t just nod at other, and
far greater, horror films, it blatantly rips them off. I said out loud
the final line of the movie before the main character could, which is
the same last line from the original Friday the 13th.
Now, any horror movie aficionado will know how it ends, so this would
normally be a spoiler alert, but don’t they all end that way? Find out
who’s picking off the poor jocks and cheerleaders on DVD August 19 from
sets up way too many lambs to slaughter, good luck following who’s who,
how they’re related, or care if anyone finally bites the dust. As it
stands, Hogeye High School is a day away from celebrating Halloween
festivities, but someone has gone and killed Herman (Vincent
Giovagnoli), the team mascot. Now, the killer is running around in the
costume, but only has time to kill off one person before forcing us to
spend another 40 minutes before the next kill.
Needless to say, of course, the killer shows up at an abandoned
farmhouse party where no one has cell reception and characters spout out
that they’ll be “Going to our graves remembering this night.” Well, at
least they got that right. There’s also a subplot involving the death of
the school principal’s daughter exactly one year ago, and if it weren’t
for those “damn meddling kids” (I kid you not) the killer just may get
away with his dubious plans.
Sadly, there’s no way you can’t guess who the killer is the first time you see him out of costume. Even while Varsity Blood sets up at least a dozen red herrings. It’s almost as if director Helgren watched the Scream
films and wrote down all of the rules to making a horror movie on
pieces of paper, tossed them on his bed, and rolled around in them. As
if the actors weren’t bad enough already, they get to recite such
“fantastic” lines as “She must be on her period or something.” That kind
of absurdity sums up the entire film. Had it had a sense of humor, it
might have worked, but considering how long it takes before anything
finally happens, all we’re left with is a bore. Avoid at all costs no
matter how much the DVD artwork may entice you.