Cheerleader Massacre (2003)

Jim Wynorski directs this daftly enjoyable ultra-low-budget slasher film. Film 2000 UK R0 DVD.

The Film

A group of cheerleaders are taking a trip into the mountains for a weekend break, but when they miss the coach a small group of them have to hitch a lift in the equipment van. As they head up into the mountains the news reports that a killer has escape from the asylum and is heading their way. Lost in the winding roads their van runs out of gas and the group hike to a seemingly abandoned cabin...

If you come into this film expecting an original and revitalised entry to the slasher genre then you probably need to rethink your hobby. As bretrayed by the title, Cheerleader Massacre is a walking, talking cliché, but it does exactly what it sets out to do. The pacing is generally strong, with the script giving plenty of opportunities for gratuitous nudity and even some surprisingly tense stalking scenes. Fortunately It does not fall into the trap of many similar films which get bogged down with in-jokes and genre references. The build up to the climax is effective and the ending is very clever.

A member of the Roger Corman school, director Jim Wynorski has over twenty years of experience in the cult (read: ultra-low budget) film field. Cheerleader Massacre is no exception to this. Although often resembling a high-school film-project with extra nudity it boasts some slick direction and editing that keep it always watchable and put it above many similar productions. Surprisingly there is very little gore in this film although exploitation fans will be kept happy by the plentiful nudity (particularly those who enjoy a good helping of silicone).

Don't expect too much good acting from the cast, although credit must go to 'Erin Byron' for the best performance in the film. Experienced hardcore porn star April Flowers (credited as Diana Espin) looks surprisingly good here with a natural haircolour and a genuinely erotic sex scene that is a world away from her usual work. Some familiar faces come in the shape of Samantha Phillips (Phantasm II and III) and Brinke Stevens in reference to her character from The Slumber Party Massacre (1982), using a scene from that film as her flashback. The script writer and Wynorski regular Lenny Juliano gives an amusing performance as Buzzy.

Cheerleader Massacre is a surprisingly enjoyable entry into the low budget, straight-to-video horror genre and its focus on sex and nudity makes a refreshing change from the rather tiresome gore-fests that fill the shelves these days. Well written and directed, for a low budget horror film and with not too bad acing, it does exactly what you would expect from the cover-art (even though there is no chainsaw in the film). Recommended to straight-to-video horror and Jim Wynorski fans, if you are looking for a 'good' movie, stay away.

In Brief
Anyone famous in it? No-one well known.
Directed by anyone interesting? Jim Wynorski - after working with Roger Corman he went on to direct dozens of low budget B-movies, from The Return of Swamp Thing (1989) to the Sci-fi Channel original movie Project Viper (2002)
Any gore or violence ? Some blood and a little gore.
Any sex or nudity? Several female nude scenes with a quite vivid sex scene.
Who is it for? Fans of Jim Wynorski and low-budget, straight-to-video horror films should enjoy this.

Visuals Original aspect ratio - 1.33:1 fullscreen. Colour
Picture quality is average, colours are quite poor from a basic NTSC to PAL transfer and the production was shot on video.
Audio English stereo - sounds fine.
Subtitles None
Extras The disc includes:
  • Trailer for this film, plus two bonus trailers.
Region Region 0 (ALL) - PAL
Other regions? Also available on R1 DVD from New Concorde, includes an audio commentary with the director.
Cuts? The film is believed to be fully uncut and includes the bathtub sequence within the film (presented as an extra on the US DVD). English language print.



All text in this review written by Timothy Young - 18th January 2008.
Text from this review not to be used without authorization.

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