The seeds of a new genre has taken root. 4/20 Massacre has been dubbed the first Stoner Slasher film. What else would you call a story about five female campers heading out into the woods, only to find a lush marijuana crop and a monster who kills anyone who gets their hands on the buds?
4/20 Massacre was written and directed by Dylan Reynolds, the man who brought you Nipples & Palm Trees (2012).
First I should point out that 4/20 Massacre features a practical monster and uses practical gore effects for the most part. So you Horror purists will feel right at home during the many kill scenes in this movie. Some of these kills are done in creative ways, I might add. This movie is true to form.
One of the ladies, Donna, Stacey Danger (The Neon Demon, The Morning After), is the stoner of the group. Donna, brings her own bong and educates the other girls on weed culture and what 4/20 is all about. It is more than just being a day and time for weed enthusiasts to blaze up.
This element is not relied upon too much, the movie briefly hits on it, it leaves one to wonder if Horror filmmakers have any other Holidays left to set a story around?
At any rate, 4/20 Massacre does deliver on its premise and genre. Better yet, there is actual character work in this script.
Some of the women are lesbians, some are not. This dynamic and other aspects of their personal lives give us a few scenes where the ladies are people and not just attractive bodies waiting to be vaporized.
This is an ensemble of female characters, which is refreshing to see. In that regard it reminded me of The Descent.
The main reason these friends are getting together is because today happens to be someone’s birthday. Jess, Jamie Bernadette (American Satan, 13 Days) is the birthday girl, who ironically does not smoke weed.
Rounding out the cast are Rachel, Justine Wachsberger (Insurgent, Now You See Me 2), Michelle, Marissa Pistone (The Last Girl, What If He Wins) and Aubrey, Vanessa Rose Parker (Gordon Family Tree, Brick Madness).
I have to point out that the actress who plays Aubrey is married to Dylan Reynolds, the writer/director of the movie.
Yes, Vanessa Rose Parker has a good part and was given a hefty dramatic scene to play, but she put forth a strong performance so, nepotism is not a fault in this case. Vanessa Rose Parker also produced 4/20 Massacre.
The women meet other victims – I mean characters – along the way. There is a male hiker, Buddy, Mark Schroeder (Earthling Cinema (TV), Pretty Little Liars) and Ranger Rick played by Jim Storm (Spanners, Dispatch).
Will Ranger Rick be able to prevent more than just forest fires? At very least Rick serves as being the character to warn these girls about the dangers out in those woods.
He tells the group that the Guerrilla Growers in these parts are not hippies, they are ruthless criminals who will do anything to protect their merchandise.
Also, on the plus side, is how the filmmakers made use of the picturesque landscapes of Big Bear, California. The green, tree lined hillsides are a nice contrast to all the red you will see.
4/20 Massacre also has fun with the genre and plays off of Horror Films that came before it. Fans will not need any more proof than the fact that the monster is credited as The Shape, the moniker also given to our favourite masked mad man in Halloween.
This movie comes in at a lean fighting weight of 85 minutes, just like a genre film should. Lastly, the creature in this reminds me of The Swamp Monster from Scooby Doo! And yes, we eventually find out who is behind all of this, and would have gotten away with it if….. well, you know the rest.
The only negatives I can find is in one pivotal moment, there is a big error in logic the way a character behaves. It is a plot element so I will not mention it here. This is probably the kind of thing the casual viewer will let go, so I will as well.
While this movie was fun to watch, it was not funny when it could have been, at some points it appears to be attempting humour but falls short.
Overall, 4/20 Massacre is a unique horror movie that is worth a watch. You can sit back, drink a cold one or partake in a Colorado cigarette and enjoy. It is what nature intended after all.
4/20 Massacre will be released on DVD and other platforms April, 3rd and have a theatrical debut at a theatre in Burbank on, you guessed it, 4/20.
Curt Wiser is the Writer, Director of the Suspense movie Cam-Girl. As a filmmaker and artist he is happy to pass on a kind word about other movies and share them with the world.