Starring Katy Brand, Lee Latchford-Evans, and Robert Portal
Written by Chris Regan
Directed by Darren Berry
Reunions can be a pound of many painful pasts coupled with a ton of judgment of your present. Faced with the fear of losing control of their youth and, for the men, their masculinity, someone decides to have some form of recreation to promote some superficial bonding between former classmates. These excursions can result in drama that tears open old scars and regrets of terrible pasts.
In Uncork’d Entertainment’s newest microbudget excursion Paintball Massacre, we enter not only into the wrenching pain of a student reunion, but the evolution into something much more sinister.
Jessica Bentley (Cheryl Burniston) gets roped into a Mass Acre Woods Prep School reunion by her fiancée Simon Hughes, the most popular boy at Mass Acre, who then becomes a no show. As she is about to leave, Jessica is confronted by Sara Ryan (Aoife Smyth) who recognizes her. Badly trapped and made uncomfortable by the former classmates (along with being locked out of her car) she meets more of Simon’s old classmates in Lauren Bryce (Natasha Killip), Tommy Atkins (Lockhart Ogilvie), Rob Addington (Tony Banham), Nathan Campbell (Lee Latchford-Evans), Aiden Jones (Joe Hallett), Ben Hayes (Nathan Clough), and Matt Wilson (Ryan Winsley) at a local pub. The barman named Somerset (Nicholas Vince) spins a bizarre tale about the quarry where the group is partaking in a paintball game the following morning.
When they arrive at the quarry the following morning to engage in a paintball game with an opposing group, the game turns deadly as Aiden and their competition are slaughtered at the hands of a concealed killer. Jessica and the school reunion crew are trying to ascertain who the unknown assassin is while opening up old sores from their school years. While they attempt to put the pieces of the puzzle together about the identity of their liquidator, it becomes a race against time as the living population at the quarry begins to evaporate.
Directed by Darren Berry and written by Chris Regan, this film sports an intriguing story coupled with an economic visual style as it uses the two environments that surround the characters (the pub and quarry) to good use. With its horror-comedy elements, Mr. Berry displays terrific visual montages throughout to balance the story’s suspense and dark humor to great effect. With the limited budget, the film keeps us engaged with plenty of action and strong subtext.
The ensemble cast plays their grown-up prep school archetypes to perfection. The actors let us know the character they are playing upon their entrance which gets you invested in them from jump. As they reveal their pasts in the film, you come to the realization that, even though they have become adults, their adolescent personas still linger.
Paintball Massacre could be paired with similar survival films such as Battle Royale and The Hunt. If watching uncomfortable, mind-numbing reunions paired with a testosterone enhancing contest that turns lethal with dark humor that keep you off balance, give this film a view. It has a lot of bang for the buck.
With Paintball Massacre‘s horror-comedy elements, director Darren Berry displays terrific visual montages throughout to balance the story’s suspense and dark humor to great effect.