Studio: Snoot Films
Director: Tomm Jacobsen, Michael Rousselet, Jon Salmon
Writer: Alec Owen
Producer: Michael E. Peter, Sarah Farrand, Ben Gigli, Dave Gare, Jon Worley
Stars: Alec Owen, Paul Prado, Ben Gigli, Mike James, Joey Scoma, Michael Rousselet, Kelsey Gunn, Jon Salmon, Olivia Taylor Dudley, Brian Firenzi, Maria Del Carmen, Jimmy Wong, Greg Sestro, Andrew W.K., Patton Oswalt
Brent Chirino pledges a fraternity plagued by the serial killer Motherface in order to discover the murderer’s true identity and avenge his twin brother’s death.
Sometime during the decade, 80s icon and U.S. Commander-in-Chief Ronald Reagan exercised his presidential power to have all copies of the gonzo slasher flick “Dude Bro Party Massacre III” wiped from existence. Luckily, or unluckily depending on what you ultimately think of it, some teenager in Minneapolis stayed up late one night and recorded a 4am airing of the movie on a good old-fashioned VCR before the ban hammer struck. This slightly garbled and static-scratched VHS version now stands as the only known copy of the ill-fated last chapter in the “Dude Bro Party Massacre” trilogy.
Brock Chirino and the boys of East Chico University’s Delta Bi fraternity already survived an initial extermination attempt by the murderous sorority housemother known simply as “Mother.” A second slaughter at the hands of her face-skin-wearing daughter “Motherface” was then thwarted by Brock himself. So when a new Motherface emerges for a third reign of terror on Greek row, Brock becomes the first frat boy to meet her blade. Now, Brock’s twin brother Brent must infiltrate the ranks of Delta Bi’s beer-swilling, prank-playing, loudmouth roster to avenge Brock’s butchering and unmask the latest Motherface serial killer.
As should be expected from the premise and the production style, “Dude Bro Party Massacre III” is a silly horror-comedy. Unfortunately, the film is fine with continuously wading in this shallow end of a juvenile entertainment pool, only rarely breaking its routine of lowbrow laughs to present brief moments of creative cleverness.
Rather than being an out and out lampoon, the movie virtually celebrates the surfer and film frat brother stereotypes to the point where characters quickly arc from comedic caricatures to overbearing annoyances. I get that “Dude Bro” is half of the movie’s title, but the unendingly obnoxious macho growling and bizarre habit nearly everyone has of yelling dialogue overplays the “brah” angle into utter irritation. 90-minutes is too much time for an already thin gag to wear out through repetition.
Which is a habit much of the humor has. One bit sees a character fantasizing about running a bookmobile with which he can create a “bang” in a child’s mind. His partner tries hinting at the sexual connotation “bang” has, but the character continues proclaiming his desire to “bang” children, get them aboard his “bang bus,” give kids a “bang” in the back, etc., etc. It isn’t the molestation theme that is a turn off. It’s that the movie still thinks the joke is working after the umpteenth repeat.
That’s also the general caliber of comedic writing being dealt with. To announce that he is on his way, one frat brother says, “I’m coming.” Arriving at his destination, he adds, “alright, I came.” Get it? Homoerotic humor. Dick jokes. Even the East Chico University mascot is a “rapier” so one more easy target innuendo can make it into the movie.
In keeping with the “only surviving videocassette copy” fiction, the film employs the telltale trademarks of a slightly soft-focused, overblown video veneer to provide a retro look and feel. Then the movie confusingly adds modern techniques like whip zooms and a “whoosh” sound effect accompanying rapid arm movements, undercutting the idea of being a throwback treasure.
Trying too hard to oversell campiness is what erases effectiveness. Low-rent straight-to-video slasher sequels of the 1980s possess midnight movie madness in the 21st century because they didn’t know enough, or have enough, to put in more effort. “Dude Bro Party Massacre III” goes over-the-top when it doesn’t have to. It could easily extract humor inherent in the concept and build from there instead of being so intentionally on-the-nose with obvious setups involving countless Ronald Reagan visages and constant cocaine snorting. Just once I would like to see a camp comedy sending up the era of the eighties without featuring a Rubik’s Cube as a prop.
There are moments where “Dude Bro Party Massacre III” knows how to get it right. Similar to the faux trailers of “Grindhouse,” “Dude Bro” stays true to its phony “taped off the TV” origins by adding snippets of parody commercials being recorded around. These are more hilarious than the movie, including a quick clip of “Gremlins” ripoff “Pizza Goblins” and an ad for a hair metal compilation album featuring Heaven’s Devils singing “I Want to Bang You Twice.” This is the kind of style the movie needs more of.
From an unlikely cameo by Larry King as a college sports coach to a slightly likelier cameo by Nina Hartley as the aging sexpot dean, “Dude Bro Party Massacre III” is oddly intriguing in an intentionally weird way. But nonsensical non-sequiturs employed out of laziness for creating something more cohesive and endlessly recycled elementary school wisecracks overshadow instances of inventive imagination. (A wildly wicked kill with a beer keg tap is unlike anything seen before.)
On one hand, my personal tastes don’t make me the target audience for frat house buffoonery, so maybe I’m raining on the movie’s parade of dirty jokes and dimwitted dudes. On the other hand, I’m an 80s kid reared on late night horror movies and “Porky’s”-style comedies, so maybe the movie missed its mark after all. Either way, judging by the ridiculously long list of Kickstarter donors thanked in the end credits (4,789 backers pledged nearly a quarter of a million dollars), some sort of audience out there seemingly exists for “Dude Bro Party Massacre III,” and maybe they will have more fun with it than I did.
Review Score: 45