Studio: Entertainment One
Director: Jason Sutton
Writer: Jason Sutton
Producer: Jason Sutton, Philip P. Moran, Amber Norell
Stars: Sara Jean Underwood, Patricia Rosales, Bruster Sampson, Amani Atkinson, Haley Boyle, Chelsea Lee, Kevin J. O’Neill
A camping weekend for two young couples turns deadly when they are targeted as the next victims in a series of unsolved murders.
Two buxom ladies and their football-throwing beaus pack a pair of flex-pole tents and prep the cooler for a weekend in the woods. A local camping guide offers friendly forewarning about the lack of cell phone coverage in the area. Bodies start dropping, blood starts pouring, fleeing victims start stumbling, and the audience starts checking the time. What does “Deadly Weekend” offer that hundreds of identical thrillers with the same woodland slasher premise do not? The answer is, not much.
“Deadly Weekend” looks like a charmless squirmer at the outset when a tied and teased encounter including two bare-chested vixens ends with some guy’s man parts meeting the business end of bolt cutters. The wool is lifted and the scene skates by accusations of tastelessness when it is revealed to be part of a cheapo piece of torture porn playing on the television. Katie rolls her eyes at the movie’s poor quality. Her boyfriend Matt rebuts, “there’s a lot of good horror films out there.” Katie offers the unintentionally prophetic response, “well if you force me to do this again, can you pick one of those next time?” Couldn’t agree more, Katie.
Whatever satirical barb “Deadly Weekend” tied in the wire with that commentary, its intention is watered once the actual movie shows itself as not being above similarly base appeal. Shots of fingers scraping so hard that a nail tears off and a squishing finger plucking at an Achilles heel gouge result in shut eyelids and tightly clenched armrests. These are successfully depicted moments of gruesome pain, but the threadbare nature of everything else makes “Deadly Weekend” guilty of being the film its heroine is not so slyly criticizing.
The central foursome has less chemistry than oil and water. The best way to describe the types of people they are is to point out that one of the guys has his nipples pierced and one of the ladies is played by Playboy Playmate of the Year 2007 Sara Jean Underwood. The latter is a fact exploited at every available opportunity as Underwood is photographed from the rear view in cheek-peeking short-shorts more often than she is shown from the front. However long the shoot was, at least an entire day was spent filming nothing but Underwood writhing against rope restraints. The movie’s captive damsel midsection cuts to this footage so often that it becomes difficult to tell if it is a new shot of the same thing or if the previous shot of her struggling and screaming is just looping again.
A wedge comes between the four phony friends after a drunken campfire confession lets it slip that Matt’s best friend Ryan had a one night stand with Matt’s girlfriend Katie two years earlier, before Matt and Katie even knew each other. Matt handles the revelation like a jealous crybaby considering the circumstances of the non-affair that he tries hard to twist into a monumental betrayal. “Happened before they met” angle aside for one second, how is it that a shallow twentysomething like Ryan hooked up with a model-caliber hottie and never bragged about it to his best friend anyway?
Finding something to like in the vapid emptiness of Katie, Brittany, Matt, and Ryan is akin to finding a specific drop of water in the entire Pacific Ocean. The remaining roster doubles with the introduction of a second group, although that is a lateral move among a cast of mediocre personalities.
Trashing the performance of a child actress would be unkind, so let’s charitably say simply that one portrayal in particular is unbelievable in the negative sense of that word. It would not be such a setback if the role were not so critical to the story, but subpar delivery undercuts any impact that a key plot turn means to have.
Topping off the uninteresting production is a visual style matching story and characters in blandness. “Deadly Weekend” never uses its camera as anything more than a tool meant merely for recording action. The lens is noticeably frozen in place during most of the movie, as if unable to pan or tilt for fear of falling over. Action falls into and out of the frame, making for simple static shots that rob the movie of any flow that might come from the medium itself. Add it together with awkward editing that leaves weird gaps in dialogue exchanges and a stilted pace ends up on the other side of that equals sign.
If not for Sara Jean Underwood’s presence, which is presumably notable for someone drawn to Playboy Playmate film appearances, “Deadly Weekend” would have nothing worth mentioning about its content. Otherwise, this is one of those movies where once it drops out of the New Release section of VOD streaming and DVD listings, it may as well disappear from planet Earth entirely.
NOTE: “Deadly Weekend” was previous known by the title “Zellwood.”
Review Score: 35