My Super Psycho Sweet 16 2009 Review
My Super Psycho Sweet 16 2009
Directed by: Jacob Gentry
Starring: Julianna Guill, Lauren McKnight, Chris Zylka
Review by Luisito Joaquín González
The old school horror enthusiasts that lived through the golden age of the slasher flick are not the biggest fans of the newer wave of entries. With their rock video fast cuts, silicone implanted heroines and perfectly groomed cast members, these modern additions are now categorised as, ‘MTV horror’. The term applies even if they have no production link to the popular TV channel, so imagine what would be made of a slasher that had been developed by MTV themselves.
As the company has expanded with popularity over the years, MTV has moved away from focusing solely on music and has entered the competitive worlds of drama, movies and reality television. My Super Sweet 16 is one of their more popular reality shows, which takes a look at money no object kids and their lack of grasp on the struggle of the everyday person that goes about their life on a modest budget. It conveys how mega rich parents move the earth and galaxy beyond to fund elaborate parties for their children’s sixteenth birthday bashes. Even if the show is fairly rubbish (boasting a 1.9 rating on the IMDB), it is an interesting social study of how the other half live.
What better way would there be for MTV to poke its tongue out at the critics of the style that it’s accused of inadvertently creating, by taking the level of conceitedness to the maximum and making a motion picture version of that reality hit. In an attempt to rekindle the vibe brought to the screen a decade earlier with Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Urban Legend and the like, My Super Psycho Sweet 16 chucks a masked killer in with a bunch of heavily pampered youngsters and goes for the jugular. It was a brave effort from the channel and one that I guess that they knew would meet with disapproval from those already against their input to the styling of current horror
It’s rolling up to Madison’s sixteenth birthday. Her dad has pushed the boat and re-opened the local Roller Dome, which was closed many years ago after a young girl’s father murdered a group of teenagers at a birthday party. The killer’s daughter, Skye, is now at school with Madison, but the pair don’t get along due to Skye’s chemistry with Madison’s ex-boyfriend Brigg.
On the night of the party, Skye and her friend decide to gate crash the celebration. Unbeknownst to them, a maniac in a mask has the same idea and the blood begins to flow…
As you had probably expected from an MTV picture, My Super Psycho Sweet 16 has a well-produced soundtrack, some slick production values and a generally polished look. The director makes good use of the Roller Dome location, but unfortunately he didn’t include any ‘roller skate’ related appliances into his murders like that other recent gore-fest Gutterballs had done so well with the bowling theme. I was hoping maybe for a rehash of the notorious ‘skate and slash’ sequence from Curtains, but you can never be sure nowadays if directors like Jacob Gentry have even seen such classics or if the first slasher that they experienced was Wes Craven’s Scream. There’s no real attempt to add anything to the traditional trappings and the script remains content to stick to the rulebook, which is absolutely fine by me. Despite this being a TV movie, the unrated cut has a few gruesome killings with decent effects and there’s a neat decapitation, which sees a body with a spurting stump stumble straight in to Madison’s exhibitionistic birthday cake. Much earlier in the runtime, there’s another decent gore scene, which sees a pool cue rammed through the head of a youngster. On top of that, we get a couple of solid suspense scenarios and the killer has a brilliant cape and mask combo.
Super Psycho is not the travesty that many would have expected, because it shows its intelligence by poking fun at the modern stereotypes that it knows that it will be accused of creating. The writers succeed in making the characters so awfully arrogant that you actually want them to get splattered and you can smile when indeed they do; viciously. Lauren McKnight was good enough in the role of the final girl and I liked Matt Angel as the geeky Derek too. Julianna Guill makes the most of turning Madison into a horrendously spoiled brat, which was the whole idea, so kudos to her for making the right moves. In fact, the entire cast did a good job with what they were given and there’s never a weakness that can be blamed on bad dramatics.
Whereas Halloween was not a whodunit, the modern day slashers are almost always given a mysterious angle to add depth to their storylines. I thought that I had worked this one out, but it was not as simple as I’d initially envisioned and I guess it could be considered rule bending against the more recent theme. Again, that’s ok with me, because it was done well. The momentum wilts a bit during the mid-section, where we get an overload of teen-romance and character development. It’s not as boring as it could have been though and things flow quite fluidly throughout. I really wanted to know who was under the mask by the time that the conclusion was upon us and I haven’t had that feeling to such an extent for a while.
I can’t really compare Super Psycho to the old skool slashers, because it is in every sense of the word a modern day take on the formula. It seeks to be classified alongside Scream and the like and it sits amongst them quite comfortably. If you hated I know What You Did Last Summer and Urban Legend, then don’t bother with this, but I think it offers what teeny boppers need without totally disrespecting slasher fans that have been their from the start. There was surprisingly very little that I could find to dislike and you have to admire the fact that the producers took on a minefield of expected criticism and dealt with it successfully.
Final Girl √√