On the surface, the movie looks like a fun romp through the ’80s horror/slasher genre. The main characters from the modern day are transported into an ’80s slasher film called Camp Bloodbath. The group has to use their knowledge of the tropes of the genre to survive and make it out alive. But once you crack the surface of the film, there’s a huge depth of emotion and meaning.
We follow Max, the main character, as she goes to the double feature showing of Camp Bloodbath and Camp Bloodbath 2, which stars her recently deceased mom. Making the experience more poignant for Max, the showing is actually on the anniversary of her mom’s death. When the theater catches on fire, she and her friends try to escape through the screen and are sucked into the film itself.
Instead of fun mishaps, sexy scenes, and gory deaths taking the focus, Max’s partial reunion with her mom takes the forefront. It’s touching in a way that’s entirely unexpected. Even more unexpected are the transformations of the characters themselves.
One of the most fun characters in the film, Tina, is a complete stereotype. She’s the one in the film who’s all sexed up who you know is totally going to die. While she still fulfills that role, she rises above and shows how ridiculous that stereotype really is. She comes into her own, and while she doesn’t get any smarter, she does brave almost certain death to try to fight back against the bad guy.
And let’s talk a moment about the Bechdel test. While this isn’t the end-all-be-all of whether or not a movie is feminist, it does ask a pretty simple question: do two women in a movie have a conversation together about something that doesn’t have to do with men? A surprising number of films don’t pass the test, which in a lot of ways portrays women as men-centric. This movie passes with flying colors. The women talk about their hopes, dreams, and regrets. Amazingly, a slasher flic shows women to be way more complex than commodities to be consumed by men.
This is a must-see film for Halloween. It was a limited released in theaters on October 9, 2015. It’s also been released for video on demand and on DVD. You can also buy or rent it digitally from Amazon.