Tag Archives: Friday the 13th

100 favourite slasher movie characters – Part I

There’s no order to this, just a celebration of my fave characters over the years, largely (but not entirely) ignoring final girls and killers. (Some spoilers though – boooo).

Less go!

barb black christmas 1974 margot kidder

BARB

Played by Margot Kidder (R.I.P.)

In Black Christmas (1974)

Why? As the perma-drunk sister of the sorority, fastest tongue in the west Barb is not afraid to bring the drama, from aggravating the loon who has been plaguing the house with obscene calls to calling out people on their shit and pranking the local sergeant.

Quote: “Darling… you can’t rape a townie.”

*

*children of the corn isaac john franklin 1984ISAAC

Played by John Franklin

In Children of the Corn (1984)

Why? Leader of the adult-hating kiddie-cult that resides in Gatlin, Nebraska, Isaac is a scheming little con-man, prone to camp hissy fits when he clashes with tyrannical deputy, Malachai. Endlessly entertaining.

Quote: “He speaks to me always …bitch!” (OK I added that last part, but if you watch the scene you’ll know it’s needed).

*

kaym

KAY-EM 14

Played by Lisa Ryder

In Jason X (2001)

Why? In a crowded, anonymous cast, android Kay-Em stands out amongst the pale archetypes as the (ever perky) single hope the crew has to neutralize the threat of Jason, which she does with cutesy enthusiasm.

Quote: “I’m afraid I’m gonna have to hurt you now.”

*

elaine parker brooke bundy a nightmare on elm street 4 the dream master 1988

ELAINE PARKER

Played by Brooke Bundy

In A Nightmare on Elm Street’s 34 (1987/88)

Why? Short-tempered, wannabe socialite mother of Kristen, Mrs Parker is what we might today call a typical Karen: She won’t listen to anybody, just whips out the chequebook. I do like, in the series, that the guilty parents are left alive to suffer the loss of their kids, whereas most other series’ would simply kill off arrogant, unpleasant type.

Quote: “Kristen, get away from that house! Andale!”

*

mickey timothy olyphant scream 2 1997MICKEY

Played by Timothy Olyphant

In Scream 2 (1997)

Why? One of many background suspects with minimal impact until he’s revealed to be one of the killers, film-obsessed Mickey wants to be caught to manipulate America’s trial-fixated culture by blaming ‘the movies’ and getting right wing Christian groups to pay his legal bills. Frighteningly, this doesn’t seem that unlikely.

Quote: “It’s bullshit generalisation – many sequels have surpassed the originals.”

*

sleepaway camp judy bad hair

JUDY

Played by Karen Fields

In Sleepaway Camp (1983)

Why? Sour teen Judy is the girl all the boys lust after at Camp Arawak – but she’s a total bitch! Her jealousy over attention afforded to shy Angela sets her on a path of nastiness that culminates with death-by-curling-iron.

Quote: “She’s a carpenter’s dream: Flat as a board and needs a good screw!”

*

reese urban legend loretta devine 1998

REESE

Played by Loretta Devine

In Urban Legend 12 (1998/2000)

Why? Something of a rarity in slasherdom was the security guard who isn’t an early casualty of the killing spree; Reese is among the first to suspect something fishy going on at Pendleton U, but is shut down by the Dean, and the ultimately plays a hand in saving the day. Twice.

Quote: “Get up against the wall… you looney, psycho bitch!”

*

devon sawa alex browning final destination 2000

ALEX BROWNING

Played by Devon Sawa

In Final Destination (2000)

Why? High schooler Alex’s journey from Joe Nobody to prescient hero makes for an interesting change to the customary midwestern white girl lead in teen horror. He’s likeable without being too earnest and heroic without being annoying and improbably macho.

Quote: “[We will remove you from this aircraft]” / “Fuck you, I’ll remove myself!”

*

seth vincent van patten hell night 1981

SETH

Played by Vincent Van Patten

In Hell Night (1981)

Why? Frat guys in slasher films are usually douches, and while Seth is largely transfixed with getting into Denise’s pants, once the threat is revealed, he switches into hero mode to save his friends, ultimately at the cost of his own demise.

Sad times.

Quote: “If you weren’t screaming… and we weren’t screaming… then somebody’s trying to mind-fuck us.”

*

brenda friday the 13th laurie bartram 1980

BRENDA

Played by Laurie Bartram (R.I.P.)

In Friday the 13th (1980)

Why? The ‘sensible girl’ at Camp Crystal Lake, Brenda combines smouldering Hollywood Golden Era looks with an endearing, hard-working personality, that likely made her fun to be around.

Quote: “Fat chance, you’re two steps for Pacific Avenue and Skin City!”

Ssshhh… you’ll wake the undead

jason rising 2021

JASON RISING

3 Stars  2021/58m

“Revenge never dies.”

Director/Writer: James Sweet / Writers: Vincente DiSanti, Maurice Cardwell / Cast: Kyle Vahan, Anna Campbell, Jerry Bell Jr., Jason Reynolds, Adrienne King, Lisa Sorenson, Jennie Vaughn, Elizabeth Garrett, Dan Kyle, Alyxandra McCormack, Amy Steel (voice).

Body Count: 10


We should all be in awe of the fans keeping Jason in our hearts and on our screens while the court case surrounding the rights to the name or whatever it is grinds on and on. Spoilers ensue.

After Never Hike Alone in the Snow and Vengeance, 2021 served up Jason Rising, a quirky follow-on from, I think, The Final Chapter, co-produced by the team behind the Never Hike films.

Jason is taken away by the Wessex County Sheriff and two deputies to be buried in the woods not far from Camp Crystal Lake. In the present, the Sheriff’s son, now in that role, is called upon to help a pair of Marshalls hunt down a trio of female convicts who killed and cut off the dick of a guard at a labour farm. The women run into the off-limits section of the forest to hide out at the abandoned camp.

jason rises 2021

Nearby, Pamela Voorhees’ headless corpse reanimates itself and totters through the woods to resurrect Jason and set him about killing the intruders, as well as doing away with some herself before locating her own head. It’s worth praising the choice of actress to play a young Pam in flashbacks – she looks just as I’d envisage a young Betsy P.

Jason merrily does away with the convicts and the Marshalls before hunting down the Sheriff and his lackadaisical deputy, Eve, who sends out a call for help when Jason has her cornered – and it’s overheard by the most unexpected of individuals…

The surviving pair make it back to the correctional farm and are attacked by the re-complete Pamela just as ALICE sweeps in and takes her head off again! Alice!!?

jason rises 2021

A coda reveals that she evidently survived the ice-pick through her head and was put into witness protection (although the file is just in a box with ‘confidential’ written on it). She then receives a call from her therapist – Dr Ginny Field! – and the cops deposit Jason’s body back into Crystal Lake.

The love for the series classics is evident, although I was confused early on as to when this was set, as two of the cops who bury Jason in 1984 look exactly like the duo in the present, and if it slots in with the Never Hike films in any way. Alice’s survival is a stretch given we saw her skeleton at the end of Part 2, but is at least explained in quasi-just-go-with-it-believable way.

jason rises 2021 young pamela voorhees

Some comedic asides circumvent the tension here and there, as different production teams opt for different perspectives of which Jason they’re going for. Here, it’s a little bit wacky as he pulls out the entire spine and skull of one poor schmuck – but these varying interpretations of the lore are all welcome while Hollywood continues to let the series rot.

Blurbs-of-interest: Vincente DiSanti played Jason in the Never Hike films; Anna Campbell appeared in Never Hike in the Snow but as a different character.

Valley of the Netflix Events: Fear Street

fear street books

 

Premier YA horror writer R.L. Stine’s Fear Street books were given a witchy Netflix slasher overhaul for a three-week, three-movie event in July of 2021 – here’s how it unfolded…

fear street 1994 2021

FEAR STREET: 1994

2.5 Stars  2021/18/108m

“Face the evil.”

Director/Writer: Leigh Janiak / Writers: R.L. Stine, Kyle Killen, Phil Graziadei / Cast: Kiana Madeira, Olivia Scott Welch, Julia Rehwald, Fred Hechinger, Benjamin Flores Jr., Ashley Zukerman, Jeremy Ford, Maya Hawke.

Body Count: 8


I read some Point Horror when I was younger, but had never heard of Fear Street – although R.L. Stine’s name was well known in the Young Adult chiller territory. Thus, I wasn’t able to comprehend the excitement when this Netflix trilogy was announced (having been shot in 2019 and intended for a theatrical release but delayed due to Covid). It’s no problem, there’s been plenty of horror I’ve been alien to that’s turned out fine. Rather big spoilers follow.

Beginning with a good throwback to 90s slasher conventions with the now-standard stalking and slashing of a teenage girl (seriously, when will it be a guy?), this time caught as she’s closing up for the night at the mall bookstore she works in. The scene is fun and nostalgic for its era, but sadly it’s also where 1994 peaks.

fear street 1994 2021 maya hawke

Credits tell us that the town of Shadyside, where the crime occurred (six other bodies are found at the mall) has a long bloody history of residents flipping out and embarking on killing sprees – from a milkman in 1950, to a girl slashing up her friends with a razor in ’63, the Camp Nightwing murders of ’78, and now this.

Downbeat local teen Deena has more important issues to deal with though. Her alcoholic father is never around and the love of her life, Sam, has defected to neighbouring town Sunnyvale, which is the Eagleton to Shadyside’s Pawnee, if you watch Parks & Rec. Pretty much a case of the haves and have-nots.

fear street 1994 2021

News of the murder is shocking but not too surprising for the teen contingent, including Deena’s friends Katie and Simon, and also her nerdy younger brother Josh. It’s all rumoured to be because of a witch, Sarah Fier, who cut off her own hand 300 years earlier before locals hanged her, possessing the minds of random locals into intermittent homicidal rages. As the local rhyme goes:

Before the witch’s final breath
She found a way to cheat death
By cutting off her evil hand
She kept her grip upon the land

But it’s all just folklore right? You’d think, but when Deena inadvertently causes a car accident trying to exact some petty revenge of Sam, the latter bleeds on the land and has a vision of the witch and, subsequently, the skull-masked mall killer who was shot dead at the scene reappears and begins slashing anew, taking out some hospital staff. 60s maniac Ruby Lane then reappears and tries to slash Simon a new one, and finally the Camp Nightwing maniac bursts into the present, swinging a lethal axe about.

fear street 1994 2021 kiana madeira olivia scott welch

The group work out the killers are all after Sam’s blood and do their best to protect her – yes, her, Fear Street serves us up two lesbian final girls. While the all-knowing local Sheriff clears up the mess left by the killers, the teens commandeer a supermarket in an attempt to temporarily kill Sam, then resuscitate her to break the curse… Remember, they’ve not seen Final Destination 2 in this reality yet.

I was sixteen in the summer of 1994 and so have strong memories associated to the sad-panda teen years. While there’s an AoL chatroom and all manner of MTV hits from the likes of Garbage, Sophie B. Hawkins, Portishead, and Bush, that’s about as nostalgic as it gets. The teens not having cellphones is the only other tell tale sign of the times. Marco Beltrami’s score does successfully lend a Screamie throwback to events though.

fear street 1994 2021

The pacing is also awkward, after the opening kill, there’s a long, long wait until anything horror-related happens again and the murder sequences come in short blitzes, leaving the film vulnerable to tedious drama, as Deena mopes about her relationship issues, and the group very slowly concoct their plan. An impressive chase-and-kill involving a bread slicer is harsh and also too little too late. But the main problem for me lay with the uninteresting or simply unlikeable characters.

I should note I was recovering from Covid the week this came out, so maybe I was tripping on meds.

*

FEAR STREET: 1978fear street 1978 2021

4 Stars  2021/18/111m

“Find the truth.”

Director/Writer: Leigh Janiak / Writers: R.L. Stine, Phil Graziadei, Zak Olkewicz / Cast: Sadie Sink, Emily Rudd, Ryan Simpkins, McCabe Slye, Ted Sutherland, Chiara Aurelia, Gillian Jacobs, Kiana Madeira, Benjamin Flores Jr., Michael Provost, Drew Scheid, Jacqi Vene, Sam Brooks, Jordana Spiro.

Body Count: 11


At the end of 1994, Deena and Josh have subdued a possessed Sam and seek out help from the survivor of the Camp Nightwing massacre, ‘C. Burman’, who lives a paranoid, secluded existence with her dog in Shadyside.

We flashback to the summer of ’78 – when I was born, coincidentally – where a summer camp unites the snobby Sunnyvalers with the born-losers from Shadyside, who are aware of the curse that hangs over them, even if they don’t take it particularly seriously.

fear street 1978 2021

At the centre of this is Ziggy (the flame-haired Sink, from Stranger Things), who is repeatedly tormented by the nasty girls of Sunnyvale, who call her the witch. Ziggy’s older sister, Cindy, is a counsellor this summer, and strives for perfection in everything she does, much to the annoyance of her younger sister, and ex-BFF Alice, who is the requisite drugs-n-sex character we’re sure will be killed off early into proceedings.

Unlike Deena, Ziggy’s unapproachable, foul-mouthed nature is excused by the treatment of her by other campers, who are unrelenting in their torment and even try to hang her from the very tree Sarah Fier was lynched from 312 years earlier. Nevertheless, she attracts the eye of Nick Goode, future Shadyside sheriff, and plots a reaction prank on nasty Sunnyvale ringleader Sheila.

fear street 1978 2021

When the camp nurse, who happens to be the mother of the infamous 1963 killer, Ruby Lane, randomly attacks Cindy’s all-American boyfriend Tommy with a knife, she is overpowered and taken away. Looking for an explanation, Cindy finds an old diary amongst the nurse’s things, which is snatched up by Alice who, with her boyfriend Arnie, leads Cindy and Tommy into the surrounding woods to find what remains of Sarah Fier’s house. There, they locate a sub-basement with a still-burning candle and stones with the names of history’s killer etched into them …including Tommy’s.

Tommy is soon possessed, buries an axe into Arnie’s face, and narrowly misses the girls, who escape through a gap into a subterranean maze of tunnels that branch off from an icky blob that beats like a heart. While they try to find an escape, Tommy marches back to camp, axe in hand, and begins offing Shadyside staff and campers (as Sunnyvalers are seemingly immune to the curse).

fear street 1978 2021

Ziggy tries to rescue Sheila, who she locked in an outhouse after dumping a bucket of bugs over her, and locates Cindy and Alice trapped in the cave below the camp. The three girls band together to try and reunite Sarah Fier’s severed hand with the rest of the body, which will reportedly end the curse for good – but of course, various killers are spewed out by the blob-thing in the caves and do their best to thwart any attempts the girls make to set things right.

1978 is a vast improvement over 1994, with more and better characters, a pace and tone that doesn’t shift as jarringly, and great realisation of the summer camp locus – which, let’s be honest, was always going to be a winner for me. The trio of final girls works as a cross-section of good girl, bad girl, and rebellious girl, who get things done while the menfolk flail or fail. The kill scenes feel more at ease with the slasher conventions than before, are brutal without being excessive, and several times they recapture that Crystal Lake early-years feeling perfectly, right down to the music cues.

fear street 1978 2021

The legend of the witch also gets the attention it lacked in the first film, where it was treated more as a bit of a convenient background element. It makes sense to ramp it up as the films head towards the origin-third, but it’s deservedly front and centre in 1978, whereas it felt like something of an afterthought in 1994.

*

fear street 1666 2021

FEAR STREET 1666

3 Stars  2021/18/115m

“End the curse.”

Director/Writer: Leigh Janiak / Writers: R.L. Stine, Phil Graziadei, Kate Trefry / Cast: Kiana Madeira, Ashley Zukerman, Gillian Jacobs, Olivia Scott Welch, Benjamin Flores Jr., Darrell Britt-Gibson, Jeremy Ford, McCabe Slye, Julia Rehwald, Fred Hechinger, Sadie Sink, Emily Rudd, Jordana Spiro.

Body Count: 17

Laughter Lines: “Little grease and these things go down easier than a Sunnyvale cheerleader.”


Deena reunites Sarah Fier’s severed hand with the rest of her remains and experiences everything she did through her eyes, waking up in 1666 as Sarah Fier – able daughter in the small settlement of Union (where Camp Nightwing and then the mall will later sit). Her attraction to the preacher’s daughter Hannah lands them in trouble when horny aggressor Caleb is rebuffed and later accuses the pair of witchcraft after Hannah’s father gouges out his own eyes and those of twelve village children, including Sarah’s brother.

She manages to flee for a while into the home of Solomon Goode and it’s revealed that he is the one who has made a deal with Satan for prosperity in return for a possessed soul every few years. After a chase, he succeeds in severing her hand and turning her over to the townsfolk, who hang her when she confesses in order to save Hannah.

fear street 1666 2021

Zipping back into 1994 and armed with the truth that the Goode family are in fact evil, Deena recruits Josh, Ziggy, and mall custodian Martin (seen briefly in the first film) to entrap Sheriff Goode and end the curse for good.

The finale takes place back where we started at Shadyside Mall with some sub-Home Alone style traps and Ziggy’s plan to “Carrie” Goode and let the reanimated killers of yore do the rest. Of course, things are complicated when a still feral Sam gets free and chases Deena into the cave system beneath the mall. But there’s a great gag with a stab-vest made from taped together YA horror books and a full, satisfying conclusion.

fear street 1666 2021

1666 lacks the slash element of the first two for the most part, but necessitates the origins of the tale to dovetail everything nicely – we only really spend about an hour in that period and actors from the other films play characters here for a neat consistency. The feminist leanings around the puritan-era’s ease in blaming a woman for the crimes of a man being exposed are great and it really is girl power that drives this train from start to finish, also allowing Deena’s character some redemption from the unpleasant attributes she was saddled with in 1994.

fear street 1666 2021 kiara madeira

1978 is the clear winner though, given the advantage of not having to yield to either a long set-up or climax, it had the larger canvas to draw over and a more fun sandbox to play in.

What is also worth mentioning is that Netflix went the extra promo step of setting up retro Shadyside Video Stores in various cities, including Brighton, where I was able to browse shelves of old VHS horror tapes and reach into the rustic toilet for a bag of freebies.

fear street shadyside video pop-up brighton 2021

fear street shadyside video pop-up brighton 2021

Blurbs-of-interest: Drew Scheid (Gary in 1978) was in Halloween (2018).

Slice Versa

freaky 2020 vince vaughn kathryn newton

FREAKY

4 Stars  2020/102m

“Basic switch. Killer new look.”

Director/Writer: Christopher Landon / Writer: Michael Kennedy / Cast: Vince Vaughn, Kathryn Newton, Celeste O’Connor, Misha Osherovich, Uriah Shelton, Katie Finneran, Alan Ruck, Dana Drori, Melissa Collazo, Kelly Lamor Wilson, Magnus Diehl.

Body Count: 11

Laughter Lines: “You’re black, I’m gay – we’re so dead!”


Where Happy Death Day would cut away, Freaky is here to provide the slashes and slits we missed in this ‘from the director of…’ recipient of the crown, which is a hop, skip and a jump from a time loop dilemma to ye olde body swap dilemma. The title should tell you as much: it was shot as Freaky Friday the 13th before being cropped down.

And of course, it being ready to go in The Year That Time Wouldn’t Fucking Pass By Swiftly Enough 2020, a big opening was screwed up and it mostly landed on VoD platforms. Sad times. It’s a good thing then, that Freaky is all kinds of fun!

freaky 2020 vince vaughn

The legend of The Blissfield Butcher, who has struck around Homecoming “every year since 1977”, is dissected by two teen couples partying at rich girl Ginny’s house and they quickly fall victim to a hulking loon in a mask not a million miles from something right outta Jason’s wardrobe. Before he leaves, the Butcher takes an antique dagger that Ginny’s collector-father had on display.

We then meet high school sad sack Millie, who is watching life go by to support her alcoholic mom, who is still not over the death of Millie’s father a year earlier. Older sister Charlene – a local cop – is all rules and discipline. But fortunately Millie has best friends Nyla and Joshua to count on. She pines for the attention of off-the-shelf dream-jock Booker, is teased by nasty rich girl Ryler, and cruelly humiliated in front of the class by her shop teacher.

freaky 2020 celeste o'connor misha oshenovich

After mom passes out and forgets to pick Millie up after the big game, the Butcher shows up and stabs her with the enchanted dagger. The moon clouds over, the sky churns, and they both receive an identical stab wound simultaneously: Millie is now inside the 6ft5 Butcher’s body, he is in that of a 5ft5 teenage girl. Hi-jinks shall ensue.

While Millie tries to stay incognito as locals recognise him/her from the composites drawn up of the killer, ‘Millie’ returns to school, all lipstick and bad-ass leather jacket. The boys drool, Nyla and Joshua write it off as PTSD, and ‘she’ starts killing ASAP, starting with Ryler, who is shut into one of the school’s cryo chambers (!?), and topples over, shattering into a gazillion pieces, when Millie-as-the-Butcher finds the body. Then goes mean Mr Shop Teacher, although he nearly makes it, as ‘Millie’ discovers the body of teen girl has its pitfalls in the brute strength department.

freaky 2020 kathryn newton

Real Millie manages to corner Nyla and Joshua and convince them that she’s stuck inside the Butcher’s body. Some research and a convenient Spanish teacher help resolve that the spiritual knife – La Dola – will switch souls and after 24 hours the spell will become irreversible. They need to capture Fake Millie to transfer things back to equilibrium.

Naturally, things aren’t that simple: The dagger is in police custody and even after successfully subduing ‘Millie’, the band of heroes – now including Booker – hatch a plan to switch things back, but ‘Millie’ clearly has other ideas.

freaky 2020 misha oshenovich

Vice VersaLike Father Like Son, It’s a Boy-Girl Thing, and however many versions of Freaky Friday are floating around: Like all of the characters stuck in their mom/dad/enemy’s body, Millie learns about herself, her suffering family, and even enjoys the lil bit of power being a huge guy affords her (the scene with the bathroom bully is great). Vaughn is good as the girl trying to operate her newly acquired huge frame, never camping it up too much, while Newton slots into the cold-hearted psycho role with ease, but it’s O’Connor and Osherovich as Millie’s BFF’s who steal most of the scenes they’re in.

Likeable through and through and, like Landon’s earlier films, it tessellates nicely over more than one genre type, proving there are still a lot or quirky variations on the teen slasher available.

freaky 2020 vince vaughn kathryn newton

Blurb-of-interest: Vaughn played Norman Bates in the 1998 Psycho remake.

A hatchet just before dawn’s wrong turn

nobody sleeps in the woods tonight 2020

NOBODY SLEEPS IN THE WOODS TONIGHT

3 Stars  2020/18/104m

Director/Writer: Bartosz M. Kowalski / Writers: Jan Kwiecinski & Mirella Zaradiewicz / Cast: Julia Wieniawa-Narkiewicz, Michal Lupa, Wiktoria Gasiewska, Stanislaw Cywka, Sebastian Dela, Gabriela Muskala, Michal Zbroja, Piotr Cyrwus.

Body Count: 12

Laughter Lines: “Fucking locals, B-class Poland – what am I doing here?”


Poland. Land of pierogi, Auschwitz, and questionable human rights for gay people. Our school took us there in the 90s to visit the aforementioned concentration camps. Heavy.

In 2020, the country joined the ranks of Euroslash with this slick looking pick n’ mix of Wrong TurnJust Before Dawn, and Hatchet. Thirty years after a mailman is dragged screaming into the cellar of a remote woodland home, a busload of teenagers arrives at Camp Adrenalina, a rehab joint to prize their cell phones and tablets out of their hands and show them there’s more to life than Instagram and gaming.

Group 4 pits girly Aniela, wannabe player Daniel, shy Bartek, nerdy Julek, withdrawn Zosia, and their guide Iza against the wilderness. They trek, camp, sit around the fire, and find a hollowed out stag. Meanwhile, whatever has been living in that cellar escapes when the old lady who feeds it takes a bad fall and it steals her keys, killing her as it vacates.

nobody sleeps in the woods tonight 2020

When Bartek disappears after a sexy night time booty call with Aniela (in a cute twist he turns out to be a virgin) and all that remains is blood on a nearby tree trunk, the others split into two groups – Iza, Julek, and Zosia to look for help or a phone, while Bartek and Aniela remain at the camp in case Daniel returns. The recon team stumble upon the house and run into the hulking deformed maniac, who manages to kill Iza, leaving the teens to save themselves.

From a hermit living in a shack, Judek and Zosia learn that there are twin killers, boys who found a crashed meteor in the woods years earlier, which leaked tar-like shit that turned them into psychotic cannibals overnight, causing their mother to lock them in the cellar and throw down animal carcasses.

nobody sleeps in the woods tonight 2020

Elsewhere, Bartek looks for help in a remote church, but finds the resident priest there has other ideas, nodding to Poland’s shitty record with LGBTQ residents, and culminating in a grisly woodchipper demise. Eventually, it comes down to Zosia, who we learn lost her family during a selfie-caused car accident – though why she’s at a camp for tech-obsessed teens is never addressed.

Lots of ideas are borrowed from other films: The sleeping bag kill is a direct recreation of that in Friday the 13th Part VII, and there’s a head-to-groin axe split that recalls Wrong Turn 2, but messier. There’s a great scene where Zosia, given the chance to run, instead creeps upstairs with a large machete and slowly tip-toes into the room where one of the loons is napping to take a gruesome revenge.

nobody sleeps in the woods tonight 2020

Nobody Sleeps gets further than a lot of its brethren by carving out nicer characters than expected. Given the need to adhere to certain stereotypes, none of the endangered group fall into assholery, revealing parts of themselves that make you feel sad for them when they meet the business end of an axe. The wheels work loose towards the end, but for a first international horror export it’s pretty damn solid.

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