The bitchy Hogeye High Varsity Cheer team and their dumb-headed jock boyfriends on the Warriors football team share a dark secret – last Halloween they were involved in the accidental death of the high school principal’s daughter Jenny during a party prank. Now, as Halloween approaches once again, the gang, along with new girl Hannah (Lexi Giovagnoli), head out to a remote abandoned farmhouse for a night of booze, blow and banging (hopefully). But waiting in the shadows is a killer – armed with an axe and dressed as their team mascot, an Indian warrior. But who is behind the mask? Could it be Jenny’s disturbed teen boyfriend Ben, who has just bailed out of rehab, or someone much closer to home?
Using John Carpenter’s Halloween, its sequel and Wes Craven’s The Hills Have Eyes: Part Two as its blueprint, Varsity Blood is unashamedly an old school slasher right down to the Friday the 13th slashing string score, gratuitous near nudity and gory set pieces in which the vacuous good-looking cast get dispatched by hunting knife, shotgun, axe, bow and arrow and drowning in a toilet bowl (all mostly in the dark).
As you’d expect, the acting is pretty ropey, with scream queen icon Debbie Rochon turning up the demento-meter with her crazy momma turn, while Chris Hlozek, who plays Ben’s dad Rick, gets my vote as the worst actor this side of an Ed Wood movie. Despite the paint by numbers plot and typically cardboard characters, I actually found myself getting confused as to what was going on and who was who (well jocks and cheerleaders do lookalike, don’t they?). Plus, everyone talks really fast in some kind of Texan Valley speak. But if you listen real carefully, there are some LOL lines struggling to get out.
Look out for the police dispatcher (Cindy Timms), whose sole purpose is to help us understand what the hell is going on. Now, is it just me or is she channelling Kimmy Robertson’s quirky Lucy Moran from Twin Peaks? Finally, a bit of trivia. It’s shot at the same high school where 1999’s Varsity Blues was filmed (which happens to be the alma mater of writer/director Jake Helgren).
‘Sex is like shooting a bunny – guaranteed to be greeted with guilt’ (Linda)
‘Your negativity is not helping anything’ (Heather)
‘My cheergina’s going to close up if you don’t do it already’ (Tina)
‘Damn meddling kids’ (Rick)
Varsity Blood is released on DVD in the UK from Image Entertainment