So, I recently screened the newest film coming out of Film Chest, called 4/20 Massacre (2018). It’s being labeled as the first-ever “stoner slasher” flick featuring today’s hottest young stars against cinema’s next iconic movie monster. Now, I’ve been racking my brain trying to think of other stoner slasher flicks and… can’t think of any. Yeah, there’s tons of slasher movies where stoners have been killed, but I can’t think of anywhere the stoners were the sole target. The stoners usually just happened to be in a group of people that were getting killed at the moment. So, I’ll give 4/20 Massacre the first stoner slasher flick tag. Unless you count Evil Bong (2006) or Gingerdead Man Vs. Evil Bong (2013). Especially Gingerdead Man Vs. Evil Bong because Gingerdead is a serial killer, but both of those films really fall under supernatural killers since Gingerdead Man pulls a somewhat similar trick to Childs Play (1988) and Evil Bong is a sentient bong. So many odd movies in the world, but I’m way off point, sorry.
As far as 4/20’s “the next iconic movie monster”, I’m gonna go with probably not. I’ve seen this type of killer before and variations thereof and I don’t see it getting its own movie monster slot next to some of the Icon greats likes of Angela (Sleepaway Camp), Leatherface (Texas Chainsaw Massacre), Jigsaw (Saw) or Ghostface (Scream). Yeah, I know, you’re wondering where’s Freddy or Jason in the list, but I’m calling out the non-supernatural beings for the comparison with 4/20’s killer.
4/20 Massacre is an action/horror with an eighty-four-minute runtime. It was written and directed by Dylan Reynolds and is rated R for language, violence and has a ton of drug use/references. Not that you couldn’t have guessed that after finding out it was a stoner movie. The story goes like this. Five women go camping to celebrate their friend’s birthday. During their hike to the campsite, Ranger Rick warns the ladies to watch where they go in the woods because there are illegal marijuana growers hiding in the area and they will do anything to protect their crops. After being warned about the dangers, the ladies decide to stick with their plan and have a great weekend. As luck would have it, not only is it Jess’s birthday, but it’s also 4/20 (April 20th), which is a day of celebration for pot smokers to relax and get high. So, you have a handful of people looking to party, dangerous people in the area and an excuse to smoke pot… what could possibly go wrong in this situation?
I’ll start out with this, 4/20 turned out to be better than I expected. Unfortunately, even though it tried, it never becomes anything more than a generic slasher flick. The story is slasher-simple, have an excuse (anything will do) for random people to be out in the middle of nowhere. Let them start to have fun and then show random bad guy (villain) that likes to kill (for whatever reason). Have the two sides meet and watch as everyone runs around, either to kill or be killed, which is what you get here. There’s nothing unique about the story or people to help 4/20 stand out on its own. Upside, Reynolds can write really good dialogue and characters. There are a few spots where it actually gets pretty deep and there are even some political opinions thrown in.
The playthrough was ok. Between the opening of the movie and getting the ladies to the campsite, things are a bit slow at first. Once the killing starts, the pace finally starts to pick up. It just hit me while writing this. The entire movie has a… stoner relaxed vibe. The movie never seems rushed or in a hurry, even during the killings, things are kind of slow and easy going. I don’t want to give anything away, but I have to say I was a bit disappointed with the reason for the killer to kill and felt it was more of a political stab than a good slasher story reason. I thought there were some really cool kills, but a couple were too quick and lacked any imagination given the situations and what they had to work with in the scenes.
Some of the cast is Jamie Bernadette (American Satan), Vanessa Rosa Parker (Samurai Cop 2: Deadly Vengeance), Stacey Danger (The Neon Demon), Justine Wachsberger (Divergent), Marissa Pistone (Raze), Jim Storm (Night of Dark Shadows), James Gregory (4/20 Massacre). The movie has some good talent in the line-up, I’ll give it that. I liked what Bernadette and Danger did with their characters the most. Danger kills it as the stoner chick, Donna, as she hits just the right levels of funny and annoyance with her character. Because when you’re high, everything is funny (to you). When you’re the straight one of the bunch, the jokes aren’t always as funny as they think they are and it can get a bit annoying sometimes. Now, Bernadette’s character is a caring and warm-hearted person that felt the real during her scenes. She’s also the only one, out of everybody, that I was actually rooting for her during the movie.
The special effects were a mix of CGI and practical effects, which I liked. The CGI use ranged from smoke during the pot smoking scenes to some blood work during the kills. I really dug how they went with practical effects when possible. There’s a really gory disembowelment that turned out looking pretty sweet after the effects team was finished with it. The CGI didn’t blend into the scenes very well, but it doesn’t really take away from what’s going on during scenes.
Side note, if you wanna check out 4/20 Massacre for yourself, it comes out on DVD and VOD (video on demand) April 3rd, 2018.
Summary : Overall, if you just wanna chill on 4/20 and kick it with a horror flick, then here you go.
It's rated R for violence and language.