A group of young party goers break into an abandoned warehouse to setup one of their underground parties that includes sex, drugs, drinking, and glow sticks. Unfortunately for them, a killer hides in the shadows who is so massive he weilds a hammer that is made from an anvil. One thing is certain; this party is to die for - especially when the blood starts hitting the dance floor.
It seems like I've been waiting forever to see "Sweatshop." At the very least I know I've been waiting for almost two years since "Sweatshop" was one of the first upcoming movies I reported on when we had an active forum with an upcoming section. Thanks to the Swedish distro company Njuta Films, I was finally able to see the movie but the two years of anticipation may have killed any chance the movie had with me.
"Sweatshop" is one of those 'back to basics' movie -- it is a true-blue slasher through and through. It's about a group of annoyingly stupid drugged-out and sexed-up young adults throwing a secret party in an abandoned warehouse where a beastly man picks them off one by one with his homemade anvil-hammer. "Sweatshop" is a horror movie for horror fans; it is created for you to specifically cheer on the killer, clench with anticipation for the inevitable death scenes, jump when things pop out of the shadows, gross-out gore gags, etc. Everything that 80's slashers were built upon makes for the foundation of "Sweatshop" and unfortunately that basic nature left me dissatisfied with the movie.
I'm all for some movies going back to the basics instead of trying to reinvent the wheel since that usually leads to their downfall, and normally I enjoy the movies that go back to the genre roots. For whatever reason though it worked against the movie this time, for me, as I became bored with it before I even made it to the halfway mark. The biggest thing is that I absolutely detested the characters -- I fucking hated every single one of them to the point that even their fictitious death scenes couldn't bring me any satisfaction. The thing is though that you aren't suppose to like these characters, you're suppose to want them to die. There are no heroes or anti-heroes here; everyone is a potential victim and you the viewer want to see them meet their end from getting smashed by "The Beast." (The name the killer is given in the credits since he doesn't have one in the movie.) Since that's the case then the characters being unlikeable shouldn't be an issue, right? Yes, but since "Sweatshop" builds towards the killer making his appearence and letting the events unfold we are stuck having to spend a lot of time with this characters. Very shortly it becomes too much. So much so that even the great massacre at the end that had our killer smashing the heads of ravers clean out their assholes couldn't even bring a morbid grin to this grumpy face.
"Sweatshop" has actually made me quite conflicted as it does something that I absolutely loved and that was it didn't hold anybody's hand and try to spoon feed them information. Horror movies as of late have become horribly contrived by making sure killers have a sympathetic back-story that is usually told through piss poor storytelling methods and forced exposition. A great example of this is Lawrence Fishburn's character in the movie "Predators". But for some strange reason I actually found myself wanting to know what the deal was with "The Beast" and especially why he had the female ghouls around him who could pick the meat clean off a bone (you better believe you get an example of this). I give Stacy Davidson and Ted Geoghegan kudos to that though for being able to plant the seed of curiosity but never dumbing down the movie to give me the satisfaction of an answer, which probably would have been very silly. Plus, the simplistic nature of the story with people showing up to a location and then getting picked off one-by-one is another aspect that makes "Sweatshop" a damn good genre title. Even if I didn't appreciated it.
So where does that leave me with "Sweatshop"? I don't know. Looking at it, there isn't any reason why I shouldn't have loved the movie and had an absolute blast watching it. It's the embodiment of what made all those 80's slashers so entertaining and so good: an intimidating and unrelenting killer, memorable death scenes with great gore, degenerate group of people that you can't wait to see getting killed, a story that isn't bogged down with unnecessary elements, and a great ending. So what the fuck is my problem? Once again, I don't know. My only guess is that the anticipation ruined the movie and caused me to build the movie up in my head to the point that no matter what it did, it wouldn't live up to what I thought it would be. I'm just glad I was able to realize that my inability to like "Sweatshop" is my own fault because I definitely recommend the movie to anybody. Especially those who are looking for nothing other than a mindless gory entertaining flick that turns an 80's style slasher flick into a modern gore-smasher.