Sorry for the lack of updates. I've been out of town for a week.
Following Robert Rodriguez's Planet Terror there was a flood of horror films which had been digitally aged to look like overused film prints. Efforts like Hobo with a Shotgun and Father's Day succeeded—kind of—but the charm of those older movies was rarely present. Worse, the effort to disguise digital cameras in film grain and scratches was almost always more distracting than convincing.
Dude Bro Party Massacre 3, which sounds like it's going to patronize its target material more than it ultimately does, is cut from the same cloth. Yet instead of settling for the rarely passable "film-look," it washes its faux film artifacts out with a VHS "modified to fit your television set" visual style. The effect is often so convincing you'll wonder if they ran the final cut through a dual-VCR a dozen times.
The film opens with a note: this installment in the nonexistent series was banned in several countries including the United States. The filmmakers ask us to believe the copy we're watching was taped from its only broadcast on public access television. This deceit allows the filmmakers, members of the Five Second Films comedy troupe, to squeeze in five-second short films during the hastily edited commercial breaks under the guise of retro TV ads. Although the snippets are only five seconds a piece, they're some of the funniest things in the movie, provided you remember what commercials back then looked like (think: the advertisements which aired during USA's Up All Night).
Dude Bro Party Massacre 3 uses its opening sequence to establish the story so far. We learn that in the first film, a woman "who never learned how to open doors" was trapped in a sorority house which went ablaze during a college prank gone wrong. Horribly disfigured, she exacted revenge on her victims one by one, only to predictably meet her demise by the end of the picture. In the sequel, her daughter took up the mantle and continued the killing spree until she, too, was dispatched as these movies require. The third film, which genuinely feels like the third in a movie series, opens with the sole survivor from the last picture getting himself killed five minutes in. (Can you spot all the references to previous horror films, both specific and in general?) Now there's a new killer and she's going to pick off the latest group of expendable frat boys who decide to party at a cabin in the woods.
Having recently reviewed Space Cop, I was skeptical about 5 Second Films' ability to produce a feature-length title. Many of Red Letter Media's problems with the format seemed to be a matter of length, even though they're known for some of the longest popular videos on YouTube. So how could a comedy troupe known for their five-second films make the jump to a legitimate movie? Pretty well, as it turns out.
The gore gags, although transparently and purposely cheap, are every bit as creative and distasteful as the stuff in Lloyd Kaufman's Poultrygeist. The background music sounds as if it was lifted directly from Troma's submission queue (most of the songs used in Kaufman's films are fan-submitted, garage-quality tracks). The energy and the tone of it all are admirable and because it's only a little longer than ninety minutes, it doesn't overstay its welcome. Yes, Dude Bro Party Massacre III is a pretty good movie even though I'm still not entirely on board with young filmmakers making fun of slasher films as an excuse to make one themselves.
I've been disappointed that the only standard I really had to compare these fan-funded projects to was the Angry Video Game Nerd movie, not only because it wasn't a very good film. Well, here's the new standard as far as I'm concerned. These regular joes made a movie and so can you... provided you have a humongous subscriber base on YouTube to help fill out a $200,000 Kickstarter. Nonetheless, here's the type of irreverent movie Deadpool only pretended to be: a don't-give-a-fuck gross-out spectacle that doesn't need studio approval to get made.
(Cameos include Larry King, veteran pornstar Nina Hartley, Andrew W.K., Patton Oswalt and a few familiar faces from YouTube.)