Studio: Midnight Releasing
Director: Peter Herro
Writer: Peter Herro, Christopher Centanni, Adam Buchalter
Producer: Kyle Zingler
Stars: Callie Ott, Nicholas James Reilly, Andrea Hunt, Benjamin Norris, Sarah Agor, Johnny James Fiore, Adam Foster, Perez Hilton
A teenager with a tortured past relives her trauma when her friends are targeted for murder during a Spring Break getaway.
Rachel Hansen is in some elite company alongside Laurie Strode as one of the few filmic Final Girls to survive more than one movie massacre. The first came three years ago under hush-hush circumstances she doesn’t talk about much today. The second comes just two months before high school graduation, when a woodland getaway turns deadly for her and six friends.
It’s pool party time for a bunch of twentysomething teens and pseudo-celebrity Perez Hilton. Already overage when previously seen playing a former student attending his ten-year reunion in “Most Likely to Die,” Hilton cameos in “WTF” as a classmate whose thinning hair should out him immediately as a probable narc. Instead, his cry of, “Spring f*cking Break, p*ssies!” rallies Rachel’s friend circle of stoners, socialites, and sexualized stereotypes to come up with a way to celebrate.
Even though it has no Wi-Fi or cellphone service, because of course, Jacob’s uncle’s remote cabin is the perfect place for seven millennials to chug beers, pass a bong, tease each other about f*cking their mothers, and sexually harass their female friends under the pretense of being funny. But first comes a quick stop at a country convenience store, where a grizzled local manning the register offers an ominous warning that the septet may wish to reconsider their choice of vacation spots.
“F*ck you old-timer!” thinks everyone without saying the words. Kate Mara lookalike Rachel, her cad boyfriend Sam, rich bitch Bonnie, tomboyish hussy Lisa, the professor, Mary Ann, and a partridge in a pear tree have a full weekend ahead of them that involves catting around on their girlfriends, picking up hookers at a roadside motel, putting a hand down the pants while watching another friend shower, and other immature events that sensible advice dare not get in the way of.
Unfortunately for these frolicking friends, an unknown killer has a different agenda. Best-laid plans begin changing quickly as soon as bodies start dropping one at a time. New action items include splitting up for no reason, swearing out loud when escape cars won’t start, and screaming at each sign of slaughter when not screaming at each other.
We already know from the Keyser Soze framing device that Rachel lasts at least long enough to be interrogated by authorities. Who/what else might make it through to the end intact? Certainly not your interest in this movie, that’s for sure.
Maybe you’re reading through the preceding synopsis and wondering, “yeah, yeah, I get the formula and all that. But what’s the hook? Surely ‘WTF!’ has some sort of sly slant on the slasher subgenre or tongue-in-cheek take on its tropes?”
Nope. Not really. “WTF” is as straightforward as all of the above indicates, complete with every annoying cardboard character and cliché you outgrew in your adolescence, or stopped finding entertainment in when your age reached double digits.
“WTF” doesn’t pick a side in determining what kind of horror film it wants to be, e.g. serious, satirical, or straight up scary. Viewers make it well past the midsection entirely unsure if the movie is even in on the joke that it is completely tone deaf, because nothing about its outward attitude invites laughing with it, only at it. The film’s simple story and simpler style merely make it to a point of such obnoxious absurdity that one is forced to believe the filmmakers must have known better, yet couldn’t clue in their audience to that fact.
Incessant insults and nonstop acts of sexual aggression eventually become so excessive that you finally think it was “WTF’s” point all along. Except without any charm to its “maybe/maybe not” comedy, or arty edge to its exploitation of horror movie expectations, “WTF” only ends up as unwoke as any 21st-century teen slasher can possibly be.
What the cast is doing can’t even be considered acting. It’s seven people behaving like typical movie teens, taking their tops off, repeatedly telling each other to “f*ck off,” and possibly improvising the entire affair without any outsider being able to tell the difference. The movie then marches ahead to a “twist” ending less likely to elicit an “ooh!” and more likely to make you mutter the movie’s title aloud.
Speaking of which, as much as I might want to, there is virtually no way to use the movie’s title against it in some sort of clever criticism wordplay that isn’t totally hackneyed. I’ll just leave it at, “WTF?” WTF, indeed.
Review Score: 30