Directed by Brad Twigg.
Starring Richie Acevedo, Tony Atlas, Julio Bana Fernandez, Jason John Beebe, Rene Dupree, Nikolai Volkoff, Jimmy Valiant, and Rosanna Nelson.
Randy is an awkward groundskeeper who is obsessed with professional wrestling. Longing for a sense of belonging with grandiose dreams of becoming a wrestling superstar, Randy is only met with abject humiliation and alienation.
With a title like WrestleMassacre, one enters the ring with predetermined expectations that indie filmmaker Brad Twigg cannot honor. It’s hardly the ready-to-rumble Canadian throwdown that Monster Brawl is, nor does a script written by four credited minds rise above numbing “tits and gore” offenses. Twigg’s low-budget “slasher” is another subgenre example that gets nothing right about the substance or additional cinematic technique outside of crassness. Wait, this statement comes from the same critic who praised Troma’s Mutant Blast only last month? You betcha, because there’s an often ignored art to nudity and gory gratification in horror fare.
Richie Acevedo stars as Randy, an “awkward” groundskeeper with a professional wrestling obsession. He’s in love with Becky (Rosanna Nelson), who is romantically seeing the massively in-debt Owen (Julio Bana Fernandez). On the job, Randy gets caught peepers-glued, spying on a customer’s naked wife as she showers. Things aren’t much better outside Randy’s landscaping career when he’s laughed out of a wrestling class while enduring public embarrassment. What’s a loner pervert to do after he’s held accountable for his actions? Grab his wrestling tights, lace-up his athletic boots, and start murdering anyone who caused Randy harm in the name of wooing Becky.
Don’t consider this review a lambasting of microbudget “Sinema.” In no way are the faults of WrestleMassacre tied to expenditures. Twigg’s juvenile horror diversion reduces the genre down to out-of-context titillation and bloody deaths. Not more than 10 seconds pass before, without providing any reason, we witness Randy chase two victims through the woods: one fully-clothed male, one head-to-toe naked woman. Why? Boobs and butts sell, and that’s how Twigg intends to mask the film’s many other narrative shortcomings. How a quartet of storytellers couldn’t write a single female character who isn’t introduced as topless, eventually gets topless, or is forced into a not-ok sexual situation is embarrassing at best, dysfunctionally vile at worst.
Speaking to the suplexes, ladder matches, and broken patio tables of WrestleMassacre, action sequences are that of an amateur backyard wrestling federation but less spectacular. Randy’s “massacre” features decapitations and chewed-up flesh as weed wackers become devices of torture, which is all extremely practical and do-it-yourself, albeit with a sometimes enjoyable schlock value. The technical moves themself when Randy lunges into attack mode? It’s hard to tell if there was ever a stuntman on location given how combos pull punches from multiple camera angles. One scene caused me to almost spit-take my water when Randy reveals his champion’s belt prop (think Texas Chain Saw Massacre), but that’s the only moment of relief throughout an otherwise soft-as-mashed-potatoes montage of supposed carnage.
Speaking of “technical” aspects, WrestleMassacre hits the mat with the grace of an accidental bellyflop. Performances range from outright bad to knockoff Jon Moxley (circuit wrestler Jimmy Valiant), all of whom struggle through cringe-worthy dialogue that references everything from 9/11 to prison rape. Characters elevate the most unnatural mannerisms, whether oddly long pauses between talking and eating or thugs barking over one another as lines jumble into an incoherent chorus of posturing machismo grunts. Settings mostly boast the decor of unfinished college dormitories, “fade to black” edits are more rampant than misogyny played for shock value, and sound design can’t match volumes between two speakers on the same sectional sofa. Not to mention how scenes may cut from daylight to nighttime without warning? Appearances by once-famous superstars like Rene Dupree and Tony Atlas mean nothing when intentions are this misguided.
WrestleMassacre is the kind of genre entry that doesn’t further any worthwhile conversation and only feeds into horror-hater diatribes preached by the instigators who are vindicated by each flashed breast. I’m not saying every midnighter has to be as poignant or meta-conversational as Cabin In The Woods or Scream. What I am saying is put some goshdarn respect on horror’s name. Brad Twigg’s conceptual energies tap out before WrestleMassacre even completes its opening credits, proving to be nothing but hack-em-up violence without much more than title curiosity. As a viewer, a critic, I’ve reaped the rewards of renegade filmmakers pointing their cameras on friends and turning passion into celluloid gold. WrestleMassacre? It’s down for the count before a droplet of blood hits the canvas.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ / Movie: ★
Matt spends his after-work hours posting nonsense on the internet instead of sleeping like a normal human. He seems like a pretty cool guy, but don’t feed him after midnight just to be safe (beers are allowed/encouraged). Follow him on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd (@DoNatoBomb).