Directed by Brad Twigg.
Starring Richie Acevedo, Julio Bana Fernandez, Rosanna Nelson, Jimmy Flame, Rene Dupree, Nicholas Yoder II, James L. Edwards, Nikolai Volkoff, Tony Atlas and Jim Fullington.
A disgruntled gardener with a love for professional wrestling becomes a serial killer.
The audience for WrestleMassacre is pretty clearly and concisely defined in its title. If you like wrestling and you like on-screen bloodletting, this movie thinks it’s for you. Sadly, this bloated and misshapen collage of no-budget nonsense, distasteful comedy and miscellaneous gore will struggle to impress anybody. Director Brad Twigg’s ugly movie alternates wildly between the inherent silliness of over-cranked, wrestling-themed splatter and a self-serious take on the story of an under-appreciated immigrant gardener raging against the racist machine.
That gardener is Randy (Richie Acevedo), who does odd jobs for the seemingly privileged Owen (Julio Bana Fernandez) and Becky (Rosanna Nelson). Owen just wants to use Randy to make him look like a liberal – he continues to call him Mexican, no matter how many times Randy says he’s Cuban – while Becky is kind to him, despite gently batting away his romantic advances. When Randy is rejected by a local wrestling school and his bizarre father (Nikolai Volkoff), he decides to let loose his violent revenge on the world.
Inevitably, Randy’s revenge manifests in the form of some actually fairly well put-together practical gore. There’s a wrestling dimension to a lot of the violence, with one guy dead as a result of a backbreaker and another decapitated in a hyper-aggressive Camel Clutch. There are also plenty of easter eggs for wrestling fans within the cast, from the obvious – Volkoff as Randy’s dad – to the slightly less obvious, with Tony Atlas and Jim Fullington – Sandman from ECW – showing up as violent heavies led by Jackie, played by indy wrestler Jimmy Flame looking like Kenny Omega had a love child with Joe Exotic.
Crucially, WrestleMassacre takes a full hour before Randy pulls on his wrestling trunks and starts hacking and slashing his way through those who have wronged him. The opening hour is a ponderous journey that balances clumsy attempts at political commentary with cringeworthy attempts at boundary-pushing humour. Off-colour gags about Ted Bundy, rape, rectal prolapse and 9/11 are delivered freely and with little care as to whether they’re actually funny. They never are.
This is definitely a micro-budget production, with very ropey sound editing and many scenes that look like they were shot on a low-end smartphone in badly lit rooms. Even more depressing is the uniformly wooden acting, with former WWE performer Rene Dupree receiving the lion’s share of the script’s worst lines with a character who could quite easily be cut from the movie. Dupree even finds himself at the centre of an excruciating sex scene which can only be described as being straight from the Tommy Wiseau school of on-screen intimacy. Women in this movie are seldom treated as actual characters, but almost of them take their clothes off.
A movie of the ilk of WrestleMassacre lives or dies on its ability to manage its tone, which Twigg is consistently unable to do. The internet edgelord comedy falls short and, though there’s some joy in the over-cranked wrestling bloodshed, no amount of impressively icky effects work can mask the deficiencies of every aspect of the writing, acting and visuals. Wrestling fans might enjoy the Where’s Wally? fun of picking out faces they recognise, but the film around those cameos is an often tedious, lazy and grubbily repellent odyssey of violence that doesn’t even have the courage to commit to its splattery silliness.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ / Movie: ★
Tom Beasley is a freelance film journalist and wrestling fan. Follow him on Twitter via @TomJBeasley for movie opinions, wrestling stuff and puns.