When I first thought of this movie, mainly through the press release, I did roll my eyes, letting out a groan however 4/20 Massacre touted by many as the first stoner slasher movie with some equally attractive action sequences, truly contains some seriously fun entertainment. While stoner characters existed in films long before this adventure, for example Marty in The Cabin in the Woods or even Cheech and Chong, but none have it surrounding the slasher subgenre. This entertaining movie from Dylan Reynolds who wrote and directed it, his first horror film feature and is distributed by All Channel Films, shines in a vivid display far above Full Moon’s Evil Bong (2006).
Five women go camping to celebrate (Jamie Bernadette, from All Girls Weekend (2016)) Jess’s birthday also April 20th, which is a day of celebration for pot smokers as everyone clearly knows. This actually marks the official start to the movie with the usual slasher cliché and adds in some measured political references. During their hike to the campsite, they meet Ranger Rick (Jim Storm) who’s presence freaks out Donna (Stacey Danger (The Neon Demon (2016))) in the stoner chick. It’s quite funny as it references both a stoner scene and ‘Higgin’s’ from Friday the 13th, Part III, the movie at times tests your knowledge of the wacky characters in horror films. He warns the women to watch where they go in the woods because there are illegal marijuana growers (not the hippy type) hiding in the area, of course they ignore the warning and still venture onward to have a great weekend. Reynolds pens very good characters, with believable interactions among them, Marissa Pistone (Raze (2013)) as Michelle, Vanessa Rosa Parker (Aubrey) and Justine Wachsberger (Sorority Row (2009)) including the character of Donna (Stacey Danger), who tries to sell the comedy even if the jokes don’t. While the content contains some of the women in same-sex relationships, no lesbian scenes spill out on the screen, a bit of passionate kissing, but nothing sleazy. Jim Storm does incredibly well mixing his badass attitude and some light-hearted comic lines, he battles not to overtake the scenes he stars in, and clearly aided by a competent (not always found in indie horror flicks) cast members. The main killer referred in the credits as The Shape (a hint to Michael Myers, from Halloween (1978), portrayed by James Gregory (Carnival of Souls (1998) who does some very bloody killing, with some assistance found in the twist of the film.
A movie always becomes more entertaining when the cast generates natural chemistry and it fits with increase of production values. The kills have uniqueness especially one of them, (wow, very cool) but the effects run from practical to CGI, and sadly not all the CGI works as well one hopes for, but for an independent project, seen a lot worse. The comedic lines do help to break tension, however this movie definitely not a comedy driven vehicle the horror oozes, spills and splatters all over the place. Reynolds’ movie never outstays its welcome, rather keeping a quick pace for all to enjoy, especially if you’re willing to overlook a few editing and continuity issues.
I personally never found myself as fan of the stoner characters, or of the weed themed counterculture, but decided to give the film try, and actually happy I did, it held my attention and delivered on the gore and gave the viewers some serious passion to the cinematic craft to enjoy. A few movies touch the weed concept before such as The Coed and the Zombie Stoner (2014), didn’t see it, not to fret, while 4/20 Massacre appears as a standard slasher flick, think again this is a fun b-movie with some grade A moments.
IMDb Rating: 5.3/10
Baron’s Rating: 5/10