Reviewed by The Foywonder
Starring Juilianna Guill, Lauren McKnight, Chris Zylka, Matt Angel, Maia Osman, Leandra Terrazzano, Joey Nappo
Directed by Jacob Gentry
At the risk of showing how far past the age of 16 I am I can remember a time when MTV actually was a channel devoted to broadcasting music videos round-the-clock. In my lifetime I have seen MTV go from being the first music video channel to being a music video channel with some original programming mixed in to focusing more on the original programming with only the most popular music of the day getting video airplay during times of the day specifically designated for said videos to more or less transforming into BET for white suburban teens to what it is now, which is essentially VH1 for teenage girls. Of course, to make that statement requires me add how VH1 went from being originally conceived as an adult contemporary AM version of MTV to the Generation X pop culture vomitorium it is now – the E! Network for heterosexuals, if you will. I can honestly tell you that I did not have much use for MTV then and I sure as hell have no use for MTV now. By watching the premiere of the MTV original movie My Super Psycho Sweet 16 I do believe this was the longest I had watched the network in one sitting in nearly 15 years.
Now if you’ve ever seen a few snippets of footage from an episode of MTV’s “My Super Sweet 16″ series and gotten an eye and ear full of these over privileged teenage girls living the vacuous life of rampant materialism and insufferable narcissism was probably enough to leave you wishing for a knife-wielding maniac to show up and put an end to them. A tongue-in-cheek slasher flick based on this premise seems a no-brainer. A no-brainer is what we got.
My Super Psycho Sweet 16 proved to be surprisingly more watchable than I had anticipated yet was still lacking due to the satirical side poking fun at these spoiled teen princesses throwing their grotesquely elaborate egocentric birthday bashes lacking any real edge, not to mention the edge of the blades the slasher uses also not being nearly cutting enough. The script almost appeared unwilling to bite the hand that feeds it, as if MTV ordered up a slasher movie parodying one of their most popular programs while instructing the writers to pull their punches when it comes to ripping on the superficiality of that particular program.
A big problem is that birthday girl Madison (Julianna Guill, whom you may remember from the Friday the 13th remake, though more likely you only remember her “spectacular” breasts with the “perfect nipple placement”) doesn’t hold a candle to her true-life counterparts in terms of contemptibility. She’s spoiled and obnoxious for sure, but hearing her described by another character as being a monster is pushing it. More like the rich and popular mean girl nemesis in an Amanda Bynes comedy; I never wanted to see this girl die a horrible death the way I’ve felt anytime I’ve seen the real “My Super Sweet 16″ birthday girls shrieking about party plans.
Madison is determined to throw her Sweet 16 birthday bash at the Roller Dome, a roller rink that has been closed down ever since the massacre a decade earlier, fully believing given the location’s infamy that having her birthday here would be the most awesome thing ever. Ground Zero in New York City must have been all booked up that day.
The only thing spoiling bratty Madison’s plans is her ex-boyfriend Brigg flirting with school outcast Skye. Skye will end up looking more like an edgy goth chick when she gets all dolled up for the party than she does just attending school day-to-day where everyone like Madison and her two sycophants keep calling her a freak. Her outcast status stems from her father having been the maniac that went psycho at the Roller Dome and murdered a birthday boy and his teen friends for being douchebags, which she witnessed firsthand as a child.
It took me a bit to figure out what it was about Brigg that made me hate him at first sight; the actor looks exactly like Ashton Kutcher made up as Fred from Scooby-Doo. Not sure why this offended my sensibilities – possibly because the actor also displayed all of Kutcher’s pretty boy insipidness. Why Madison is still hung up on him or Skye is so enamored is beyond me since he’s as empty a vessel as you’ll ever see. We’re supposed to like him just because he prefers the allegedly plain but actually quite pretty outcast over the prettier rich bitch. Not happening.
In keeping with teen movie clichés, Skye’s best friend is the horny nerdy virgin played by a young actor clearly himself a good looking guy they’ve merely Steven Soderbergh’ed up with some nerd glasses. One of those fake nerds you so often see in post-Eighties teen movies. Together, he and Skye will crash Madison’s birthday party; she wanting to meet up with Brigg while getting over the memories of the murders she witnessed her father commit and he just determined to lose his virginity.
The masked maniac on the prowl is nicknamed “Lord of the Rink”. Her father worked there as a cheesy Burger King-like mascot before going nuts. The new Lord of the Rink that may or may not be her long thought dead daddy has upgraded his costume to more of a medieval executioner motif complete with a battle axe that does not strike me as something a roller rink would keep on its premises. The Lord of the Rink is also one of those movie slashers that always manages to be exactly where he needs to be at precisely the right moment to strike and somehow manages to get around this cramped, crowded venue completely unnoticed.
Even though the kills are bloodier than you would expect for a made-for-TV slasher flick I still suspect gorehound slasher aficionados will not be entirely satisfied with the carnage, save for one truly spectacular decapitation shades of the original Prom Night – the movie’s highlight. Too much of My Super Psycho Sweet 16 is just a regurgitating of teen movie clichés with the emphasis more on the romantic triangle and teen bullying side of the plot than the masked psychopath randomly hacking and slashing party patrons.
At times I found myself wondering if Jacob Gentry (director of “The Jealousy Monster” segment in The Signal) wasn’t secretly auditioning for the directing gig on one of the forthcoming Twilight sequels given his overuse of music video slow motion shots. Just because the movie was made for MTV does not justify showing Brigg and Skye staring at each from across a hallway in super slo-mo while generic teenage crap rock drones on.
I almost hate that my review makes the movie sound worse than it actually is. As far as recent teen-oriented horror goes My Super Psycho Sweet 16 is still far superior to the remakes of Prom Night and The Stepfather and, yes, even Twilight. One day it will make a great companion piece to the remake of Phantom of the Mall: Eric’s Revenge whenever the powers that be in Hollywood get around to remaking that obtuse yet mildly diverting slice of teen slasherdom.
2 1/2 out of 5
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