Firstly, I’d just like to say thank you to both Katie Armstrong over at OctoberCoast PR, and the team at Fuzzy Monkey Pictures for allowing me early access to an online screener of the new Horror/Slasher film “Wrestlemassacre”, Co-Written and Directed by Brad Twigg (Killer Campout). As you probably guessed it from the title, Wrestlemassacre is a wrestling-themed independent slasher film about Randy (played by Richie Acevedo), an introverted groundskeeper who is infatuated with wrestling, and at the request of a televangelist (James L. Edwards) begins taking vengeance on his employer, members of the wrestling school, and all those that stand in the way of his pursuit of his client, Becky (Rosanna Nelson). The film also stars Brandy Mason (Don’t Fuck In The Woods), Julio Bana Fernandez, Rick Jermain, Rene Dupree, Eric Danger Dionne, and Nathan Hine.
Wrestlemassacre serves as my proper introduction to filmmaker Brad Twigg and Fuzzy Monkey Pictures, who’ve been operating in the horror domain since about 2014. I recall seeing a chunk of their 2015 film “Milfs Vs Zombies”, but despite the promise of a very entertaining premise I wasn’t invested enough to see it through – Anywho, onto the film. The audio track is one noticeable technical improvement from that of the aforementioned film. There isn’t any muffling or fluctuating levels in the mix and everything can be heard clearly. There’s plenty of characters introduced throughout Wrestlemassacre, which is an important step in order to build a sufficient body count, but unfortunately, most of them are rather forgettable. Rick Jermain gives one of the more believable performances as Randy’s boss, Mr Hogan, and is far less cartoonish in his portrayal compared to that of the vast majority of the rest of the cast. Brandy Mason isn’t bad with what she’s given to use, so to the main antagonist who sports the tracksuit (I can’t remember his name), who as luck would have it somewhat resembles the adult version of the infamous Corey Delaney (a kid who made the news many years ago after throwing a massive house party here in Australia). Wrestlemassacre has a couple of good T & A moments involving both Mason, in a sex scene, as well as the lovely Nadia White who pops up in a brief shower scene. Twigg goes for his comedic jabs a number of times but rarely do they actually land. However, the funniest moment is a line about McDonald’s which follows the scolding of a character towards the end of the film. I want to give some credit to the practical fx team though for attempting to bring the gore. There’s a couple of early kills (always a good thing) and although most of the deaths are quite cheesy, there’s still an abundance of them. The highlights include a fatality from a ladder gag, as well as an inventive decapitation sequence. Kudos to well-respected artist Marcus Koch for his fabrication of a unique “Leatherface” inspired wrestling belt that Randy retains.
I’ll start the negatives off with the gigantic watermark that’s firmly planted on the screen for the full one hundred minute runtime. I understand this probably isn’t a fault of the producers, but more so the distributors, though it’s certainly a distraction when permanently affixed. I wasn’t a fan of a lot of the cinematography or editing in this one. The color palette looks entirely blank and the DP immediately opts to break the 180-degree rule during an opening phone conversation, and from there shot choices don’t get a whole lot better. The film is also too long, a 75-minute runtime would’ve sufficed given the amount of repetitive sequencing. Certain scenes are introduced that never actually resolve, such as the group of thugs harassing a warehouse owner for money he owes and saying they’ll be back. The film’s score quite often feels too loud in the mix and the musical choices don’t appear to have any real fluency about them. Not to mention, the one death metal track (a genre I’m a fan of) that’s clearly been performed by a local band is just plain bad. By far and away the biggest issue with Wrestlemassacre lies with the bulk of the performances which are incredibly stiff. Now, I’m a realist, and I understand that this is low-budget, DIY filmmaking so I’m not going to pick apart all these individuals one by one. That said, here’s an example of the standard. Julio Fernandez plays Owen, who owes a crew a large sum of money and they’re threatening violence and rape and all that fun stuff if he doesn’t cough up. So here I am thinking he should be fearful throughout most of the film, right? Wrong. He can’t seem to form an anxious expression and is actually more often than not seen holding back a laugh during a number of scenes. To boot, there’s an extremely cringe-worthy cameo from YouTuber/Actor, Shawn C. Phillips that really doesn’t make any sense but stems from scenes where Randy sits and watches infomercials (an example of more footage that could’ve been cut).
It’s disappointing to have to say that ultimately Wrestlemassacre can only be described as mostly a swing and a miss. I certainly welcome the idea of a fresh premise such as this one, especially within the parameters of the slasher sub-genre where-in which we’ve seen just about everything explored. The audio is much better here, a couple of the performances were more well-rounded and the film contains a sufficient amount of nudity and violence (two staples of the genre). The high body count and willingness to let the red stuff flow adds a certain guilty pleasure charm to this one, even if the quality of the kills do wane from scene to scene. Unfortunately, the film has its share of issues with cinematography, the music mix, pacing, and most chiefly those performances I spoke of. I think perhaps it may have worked better as a short film, although I’d still find it difficult to recommend due to the hollow display from 9/10 of the cast. Be that as it may, different strokes are for different folks so you might just find a little more to get behind here than I did. Feel free to check out the official trailer below and the film will be available from Wild Eye Releasing come June 16th!
Wrestlemassacre – 4/10