In 2004, a group of the most popular seniors in high school decide to pull a prank on horror-freak and loner Scott Rantzen that results in his expulsion from school. It's now the 10 year reunion for the class of 2004 and those who were responsible for what happened to Scott have been invited to a special party where guests are picked off one by one.
"Don't Go to the Reunion" is the first feature length movie from Slasher Studios. The company that was responsible for the short films "Teddy", "Popularity Killer" and "Blood Brothers". The studio's past films have been fun and enjoyable genre efforts from filmmaking duo Steve Goltz and Kevin Sommerfield and they made it no secret that "Don't Go to the Reunion" was going to be another homage to '80s slashers. Something that is particularly popular right now but, who knows, it could be good. Right?
It's been 10 years and the graduating class of 2004 is getting ready to gather for their reunion. However, the most popular kids of the class have been invited to a special reunion -- one that's being thrown, supposedly, by the weird horror-loving loner, Scott Rantzen. A young man who was never heard from again after he was kicked out of school after the popular kids pulled a very cruel prank on the young man, resulting in his expulsion.
I know what you're thinking, "I've lost track of how many times I've seen a slasher movie with that plot!" Same here. Specifically movies like "Slaughter High" and "The Redeemer: Son of Satan" come to mind. The kicker is that's what Goltz and Sommerfield want. "Don't Go to the Reunion" is a slasher movie about slasher movies. The self-aware genre movie is all too common now with horror filmmakers. Needlessly having their characters call out horror movie clichés, in some vein attempt at making their crappy little movie seem sophisticated. With "Don't Go to the Reunion" Goltz Sommerfield embraced everything -- homages and being self-aware -- and created a movie that reflected what a deranged horror fan would do if they were to enact some form of revenge.
In retrospect, "Don't Go to the Reunion" does fall into some of the same pit traps that other homage-based movies do. The fact that they (Goltz and Sommerfield) openly embraced that '80s slashers are a huge influence on their work and actually tied horror movies into their own story made "Don't Go to the Reunion" a bit more fun. Going beyond the wink-and-a-nod, they had the killer recreate some of the more famous kill scenes from famous movies, such as "Night School" and "A Bay of Blood" (there's even a very nerdy discussion on the similarities between "A Bay of Blood" and "Friday the 13th: Part 2"). A fun and intelligent direction to take the movie in that allowed the concept to be somewhat more than just another throw back.
While the story and plot points were good -- at least good for this type of a movie -- and the kill scenes are fun for horror fans, "Don't Go to the Reunion" can't escape the monotonous nature of the slasher sub-genre. Not entirely, anyway. And, while I hate to say it, the over all movie was a bit rough in terms of its execution. By that, I mean, the movie had a tendency to come across as amateurish at times. The reason I hate to say that is because the comment sounds worse than what I intend. While Slasher Studios has a few short films under their belt, "Don't Go to the Reunion" has some of the typical flaws you find in the early works of filmmakers: pacing, lighting, camera work, editing, etc. They're improving with each movie they make, which is always great to see, but some parts of the movie aren't pulled off as well as other parts.
With that being said though, "Don't Go to the Reunion" is good for what it is: a slasher about slashers for slasher fans. It is rough around the edges but offers a fun concept for horror fans by making horror movies a central part of the story. "Don't Go to the Reunion" is able to move past the homage-based and retro-throwback movement that has taken over genre movies these days, all while still being a bit tongue-in-cheek about the whole thing (particularly in the ending). I'd say "Don't Go to the Reunion" falls somewhere in between the likes of "President's Day" and "The Sleeper". It's good if you dig these types of flicks, but if you don't, then it might be for the best to skip over it.