Cheerleader Massacre (2003)

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Overall Rating 32%
Overall Rating
Ranked #7,843
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Genres / Traits: Horror Slasher Film Cheerleaders

Connections: Slumber Party Massacre

Five high school cheerleaders, their coach and a couple of adolescent sex-crazed guys travel to a cabin in the woods for a weekend getaway only to be killed off one by one by an unseen maniac. --IMDb
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Review by Chad
Added: August 21, 2011
Earlier today, I was in the mood for a giant killer animal flick, and I tried to fulfill that with Alligator II. I wasn't very impressed with it. After typing that review, I found myself in the mood for a sleazy slasher flick - what can I say, my tastes fluctuate. So, I popped in Cheerleader Massacre, a "sort of" sequel in the Slumber Party Massacre series. Now, I say "sort of" because this film was originally entitled Slumber Party Massacre IV, but that name was dropped for reasons unknown. However, Brinke Stevens reprises her role from the first film, and... yes, I know she died in that movie, but the flashback here pretends that she didn't, so it doesn't count. Anyway, it's a loose connection to the series, but hell, it's not like the previous three movies were brilliantly interconnected, so what the hell.

So, Cheerleader Massacre is a sleazy slasher flick, and there's not much in the way of storyline. What is there centers around a group of high school cheerleaders who are heading out to some cheerleading thing - I have no idea what, but it's not important. Led by their teacher Ms. Hendricks (Tamie Sheffield), the girls - Parker (Charity Rahmer), Angela (Erin Byron), Tammy (April Flowers), and Shelley (Summer Williams) - pack into a van with two male assistants (Tylo Tyler and Brad Beck) and the driver (Lenny Juliano) for a weekend of whatever. Along the way, their van runs out of gas and they find themselves stranded in the middle of nowhere, but luckily for them, there is a cabin nearby. Good thing, because it is snowing, freezing cold, and quickly approaching night. Of course, this is a slasher movie, so it doesn't take long for a serial killer to show up and start picking them (and a few random people with no relevance to the plot) off. Look for an appearance by Melissa Brasselle as well.

There are also some other plot points thrown into the mix dealing with the cops trying to track down an escaped serial killer as well as a few conversations with the retired sheriff who put the killer away in the first place. It's all standard slasher fare and there really isn't anything terribly exciting about the plot: you've got the serial killer, the group of girls who get picked off one by one, the random characters who show up to bump the body count, the red herrings, and of course, the shower sequences. You've even got a handful of scenes that were picked from other movies: as mentioned, Brinke Stevens' scene from Slumber Party Massacre serves as a flashback here, and there are also a few clips taken from Humanoids from the Deep as well.

If you're not a fan of slasher flicks, and I do mean a hardcore fan, you might as well stop reading now: you will hate this movie. If, however, you're like me and can't get enough of the "blood and boobs" combo that the eighties made so famous, you may enjoy this one... to a degree. The film is not a classic in the genre by any means, and even as one of the aforementioned hardcore fans, I still thought that it was average at best.

Being a Jim Wynorski production, I shouldn't have to tell you that the "boobs" part of the equation is properly accounted for. Almost all of the girls get naked at some point, including female wrestler Tamie Sheffield, and of course, there are plenty of shower scenes. Hell, there's even a softcore sex scene for those interested. However, given the man behind the camera and the genre that he was dabbling in, this aspect of the film is kept to a minimum. This is a genuine slasher flick and not just another one of his softcore productions, so take that as you will.

The "blood" part of thing is where the film falls apart. There simply isn't much in the way of blood, gore, or inventive killings, and in fact, a handful of the kills simply take place off screen: a no-no in the world of slashers. The kills that we do see are all tame, and the one kill that could have been great (a decapitation) is done with CGI and looks so horrible that we only see it for a split second. The kills that we do see are standard "slash / stab / poke" deaths, and I simply can't say that I was impressed by them.

Instead of tons of kills, we get to see a lot of plot dealing with the cops and a couple of detectives trying to find the serial killer. This basically boils down to "a serial killer escaped, he is killing people, we need to catch him", but it takes up roughly a half hour of the film. This is not some great Seven-style detective story, it is a cheesy b-movie attempt at a manhunt that didn't do anything for me at all.

I realize that I did nothing but gripe about the film throughout the review, but as a huge slasher nerd, I can't say that I absolutely hated it. The girls actually have a good chemistry with one another and are decent in the acting department (a rarity in this genre to say the least), and although I wasn't a huge fan of the detectives / cops / serial killer subplot, it did lead up to a decent twist ending. Cheerleader Massacre does a lot of things wrong, but it also does a couple of things right, and if you enjoy slasher flicks as much as I do, you might enjoy it. You won't love it and you won't even "really" like it, but it's not terrible. 4/10.
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