College is meant to be a learning experience that opens doors for students, having fun at great parties, and making new friends. For Bobby, college will lead him down a dark path where he'll see the ugly side of the fraternity "brotherhood" that involves sex, drugs, torture, and murder. Everyone may be in for a bit of a surprise though when they realize that Bobby didn't come to college seeking a higher education, but rather for a bit of revenge.
Director Alex Pucci was kind enough to send me a screener of his latest movie, "Frat House Massacre". A movie that I really had not heard much about but after I saw the trailer it became a movie that I had to see. From the trailer, I thought "Frat House Massacre" was going to be this over-the-top slasher much like "Gutterballs" or "Home Sick", so I was almost frothing at the mouth wanting to see it. Though when I was able to finally sit down and watch the movie, what I saw wasn't what I was expecting at all, instead I got something much better.
On the surface it will seem like some standard slasher fare of an unknown killer picking frat boys off one by one, and while you're not exactly sure why or who, what you do know is that they deserve it from watching them kill a person whose importance will be revealed later on in the movie. However, there is much more to the movie than that, as it has multiple layers and gives the viewers a bit more bang for their buck. I could very well just inserting something that isn't even there, but for me, the movie seemed to draw some inspiration from Italian giallo films and thrillers in general. I am not saying this just because the movie was scored by Claudio Simonetti; its how the movie plays out is where I'm getting this from. As I already pointed out, the plot line of the movie is quite similar to the American slasher films of yesteryear, how the movie is executed, how the story unfolds is done more in tune with giallo films. Instead of a killer running around in a goofy mask and/or costume, and fills the scenes with blood, boobs, or schlock. Only the black-gloved hands of a killer are shown, and rather than scenes happening just because, we get scenes that expose the story a bit more with each twist and turn. Dropping not only hints to who the killer maybe, but doubts as well. We also get to watch as all of the characters start to head into a downward spiral and spin out of control from being involved in a world of drugs and murder.
This is what really surprised me while watching this movie, since I was expecting another gore-soaked slasher by what I saw in the trailer. Really though, the movie doesn't lose focus of the story and characters to make room for amusing death scenes that feature ample amounts of gore, or even scenes of nudity and sleaze. Don't be put off by that statement, Pucci knows when and where to appropriately place such scenes, it's just that proper character and story development isn't sacrificed for death and perversion or vice versa. There are indeed some solid death scenes, for example a woman taking a knife through the mouth and out the back of her head, there is even an elaborate trap involving sharpened farming equipment. There are plenty of other scenes, but I don't really feel like spoiling them. Just like any American slasher or Italian thriller, there is always sex and nudity to be had, and there isn't any shortage here. The actors involved in these scenes add enough eye candy that I believe the men and the women in the audience, will more than likely be satisfied. However, there is a rape scene that is featured that could be a bit of a mood killer when it comes to the sex. The scene is done well enough that it’s quite believable and isn't cheesy, which seems to be a common problem with horror movies that feature rape. It's scenes like a girl getting raped and roughed up a bit, and one where the lead antagonist Mark, flips out and nearly beats both a man and woman to death that pushes "Frat House Massacre" beyond being just another slasher into a bit of a gritty picture.
Two things that I found to be refreshing, especially after the numerous bad movies that I've watched in the past few days. One was that the movie features some surprisingly good performances from the cast. Sure, there are weak moments in the movie or moments where you'll roll your eyes but, they do a good job of selling their characters and making them believable from the emotional connections between each other to drug fueled insanity and intensity. The second thing is the wonderful score composed by Claudio Simonetti. I'm sure this is an area that the movie will be commented on frequently and rightfully so. It's refreshing to hear original music that was composed for a movie, which not only syncs well with what's playing on screen but can heighten them too.
While I may have originally expected an over-the-top slasher, what I actually got was something so much better. "Frat House Massacre" could have gone for the purely-entertaining route and made another gory slasher that at most would have gained a small following. Instead he managed to create a horror-thriller that not only has an engaging story but also a gritty tale of revenge that ends in a bloodbath. There will be the naysayers that will nit pick "Frat House Massacre", and sure it may have it's flaws but it is a movie that will reach cult-status and will be remembered long before any of the numerous remakes out there.