Jersey Shore Massacre, the boss said.
Here’s one with your name all over it, he said.
I’m not a huge fan of horror comedies; as a general rule, I prefer my horror to be horror, and the reality is that many of these “darkly humorous” flicks are just mindless dreck that isn’t really funny to me, just annoying as all hell (and hey, if you’re one of those people that enjoy that kind of humor, more power to you). I can, however, appreciate a good horror comedy now and again if it’s done well; Shaun of the Dead and Return of the Living Dead come to mind, as of course do the Evil Dead films.
I’m not at all a fan of reality television; I don’t watch Keeping Up With The Kardashians or Lizard Lick Towing or Pawn Stars…or Jersey Shore; I’d rather have elective dental surgery. Of course, we all see enough of the “stars” of such shows on TV and the ‘net to where we know who they are whether we want to or not, but I’ve either consciously or unconsciously made sure that I know as little as possible about all of the above and their ilk.
Thus, feeling that it drew from two sources I’m not real keen on, I went into Jersey Shore Massacre with a little trepidation…
Teresa and Dina are two Jersey cosmetologists heading out for a weekend at the Shore with the girls. They meet up with their four friends and head to their rented beachhouse, but find that due to a mixup between the names “Romano” (Dina’s name) and “Romero”, the witless landlord (the unflappable Ron Jeremy, arguably the funniest part of the film) has rented out the place to other tenants who have already moved in. Undaunted, Teresa calls her uncle, Vito, who owns a place near the Jersey Pine Barrens about fifteen miles further on. It’s a nice place, and the six girls are happy with the digs and the (strangely well-maintained) pool that is theirs for the weekend. After a strange walking tour spotlighting the legend of the Jersey Devil, most of the girls get up early the next day to head back to the beach, where they meet up with a quartet of your stereotypical beach bums (musclebound, tanned, coiffed ass-clowns, natch), and soon plans are made to party that evening. At a local club, the guys and girls mingle, alcohol and a steady beat fueling the hormone-enhanced evening, and after a jealous altercation, the whole kit and kaboodle head back to Uncle Vito’s place to chill; unbeknownst to them, however, there’s someone else out in the Barrens, watching them, with a very different kind of entertainment in mind…the bloody, deadly kind…
The flick started out with a little promise; although the “Jersey Girl” stereotypes were in full swing and the humor was a little juvenile, it still wasn’t as bad as I had feared. The actresses seized upon their roles well, obviously having a lot of fun with the free and loose attitudes of their characters. I was most impressed that although they were all similar, they were all developed just enough to where they were easily distinguishable from each other. I found myself starting to enjoy the flick a little…if the acting was pretty good, maybe there was hope…
THEN…we’re introduced to the guys, and the whole flick devolves into the Douchebag Olympics; I swear, almost every tasteless, unsavory personality trait you can conceive of that could be exhibited by a male of the species is displayed. I’m not faulting the actors, as this actually says something for them; I definitely despised the characters. There wasn’t one single relatable characteristic to draw me to any of them; that said, I realize that was likely the objective: I’m supposed to hate these guys, and root for their destruction. I’ll concede that point, but counter with one of my own: this is billed as a horror-comedy, but because of the disgust and general enmity that the group of males created (the script’s fault), any and all humor that these guys were trying to create was obscured by my distaste. They weren’t funny, they were simply detestable.
And that brings us to the payoff (if you can take the high-pitched cackle of one of the guys and the general assholishness of them all long enough to get to it): in the last reel of the film, pretty much everyone gets bumped off (only the blatantly obvious choice for ‘final girl’ survives the night); it’s somewhat rushed, but you’re damned sure ready to see most of the characters offed by this time. Albeit pretty gory, most of the methodology is unoriginal; virtually every kill you see in this film has been done before (but I do tip my hat to the unusual method of tattoo removal, and for the first use of a…er…feminine massager as an offensive weapon that I’ve ever seen). The blood flowed freely, and the prosthetic effects were pretty impressive, but for me it was too little, too late. My overall feeling is that the flick took a past-its-prime TV show, combined it with a stock slasher plot, and drug the whole thing out trying to pepper in humor that just didn’t fly.
Of course, that’s the way I saw it. Those of you that enjoy trainwreck reality shows or crude, cheesy humor may dig this one, and I certainly wouldn’t hold it against ya…as one who actively avoids reality TV, I’m obviously not in the target demographic.
Technically, I’ll say that I think the film was well shot, with nice practical effects, and acting performances that, considering that the characters were supposed to be shallow and unlikable from the get-go, were pretty damned convincing. I blame my distaste for the flick not on the actors or effects, but on the poorly-chosen humor and general by-the-numbers formula; the only thing new to see was the attempt at satirical send-ups of established TV characters, and in my opinion the attempt at this parody fell kinda flat.
It wasn’t as bad as I expected, but I don’t foresee a situation that would ever prompt me to watch it again.
That’s my two cents, peeps.
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