Directed by Jacob Gentry
The original My Super Psycho Sweet Sixteen (review here) was an okay made-for-MTV slasher flick about a maniac known as “The Lord of the Rink” returning to terrorize a bitchy rich girl’s elaborate “Sweet 16” party at the roller rink where he once committed a massacre; he did so as his insane way of “protecting” his emo daughter, Skye, who had been bullied endlessly by the birthday girl.
My Super Psycho Sweet Sixteen Part 2 (review here) improved upon the premise with “The Lord of the Rink” returning for Skye’s own “Sweet 16” party; more people die and she finds out she has a younger sister whom daddy also has special plans for. The sequel was not your typical slasher and had a surprisingly dark mean streak to it for a tweener horror flick produced by MTV. I wrote at the end of my review that I was more than up for another invitation to this party.
That invitation arrived. Now I have the unfortunate task of being the party pooper.
Director Jacob Gentry, screenwriters Jed Elinoff and Scott Thomas, and star Lauren McKnight (who continues to prove again why she deserves to be a bigger name star) returned for this third and final birthday slash, but I’m afraid the third time was not the charm. This time I got the sense the real killer was MTV and the biggest slashing victim was the budget. The cast is tiny and a good 95% of the film takes place in or on the grounds of a Gothic mansion. I might not have thought much of it had the first two thirds of this threequel not played out in such an uninspired manner compared to the first two.
Skye and her roommate, Sienna, are on their way to college in New York City when Skye receives a call from her estranged sister, Alex, begging her to stop by for her “Sweet 16” birthday party at a manor that looks like it came straight out of a Scooby Doo cartoon complete with doors that close and lock right on cue.
Skye is initially reluctant to attend because the two of them have never been close and haven’t even spoken in two years. You would think after recently attending two different “Sweet 16” parties that both ended in a homicidal killing spree Skye would never want anything to do with a “Sweet 16” party ever again.
History repeats itself yet again. Skye, Alex, and some other irritating invitees find themselves trapped in the mansion with a killer. Instead of having fun with these all-too-familiar slasher tropes, I found myself disappointed, waiting for the kills to maybe liven things up, and then feeling mostly let down with how unimaginative most of the deaths were.
Instead of “The Lord of the Rink” of the previous films, the killer this go-round is instead an obsessed teenage stalker who idolizes serial killers, specifically Skye and Alex’s deranged dad. The movie doesn’t even hide the killer’s identity, revealing it from the very first kill, making this perhaps one of the first slasher movies in history to reveal the killer’s identity before he ever puts a mask on. The inclusion of the mask he infrequently wears during the carnage seemed more an arbitrary nod to the previous films and not because there’s any practical reason for him to bother wearing one.
The first moment we were shown this crazed teenager with an iPad monitoring every room via surveillance cameras and controlling a mansion full of remote control doors that open, close, and lock on command, the film completely lost me. I simply did not buy any of that for even a brief second. All these high-tech haunted house trappings are introduced and abandoned so quickly it became apparent they were only ever included as a crutch needed to explain why none of these teens could just get the hell out of the house as soon as the killing started.
Without spoiling anything, I will say there’s a major plot twist that really shouldn’t come as a major surprise to anyone who remembers how Part 2 ended. I even found myself wondering how long the movie was going to hold out before finally going there. Once it goes there, the film finally snaps out of its stupor and displays the oomph you want from a fun slasher that had been mostly missing from the previous hour of lame characters in a generic spooky house getting killed off by mostly underwhelming means.
There is a climactic battle in the rain between Skye and her tormentor that displays more growling bravado than any grudge match you will ever see in World Wrestling Entertainment. At least this horror franchise can say it ended with a bang.
2 out of 5