REVIEW: VARSITY BLOOD / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: JAKE HELGREN / SCREENPLAY: JAKE HELGREN / STARRING: LEXI GIOVAGNOLI, WESLEY SCOTT, DEBBIE ROCHON, BLAIR JACKSON / RELEASED: AUGUST 18TH
As fans of disposable teen-filled slashers, we were hoping for something breezy, fun, gory and a tad sinister from Varsity Blood. The film centres on a group of jocks and cheerleaders who are a year removed from a dark accident that took the life of one of their friends. Just in time for the anniversary of this incident, people start to get offed by a masked figure. All sounds promising for throwaway slasher fans, right?
To be blunt, Varsity Blood is an atrocity of a movie. Everything about the film ranges from poor to embarrassing. A paper-thin plot is explored by a cast who seem to struggle with even the simplest of tasks. As well as the bad acting on show, the actual ‘horror’ when it does come is horrendously choreographed, without genuine emotion, and the film seems to spend a lot of its time seemingly ticking off a checklist of bad horror clichés. But the biggest drawback of Varsity Blood is the characters on show. Yes, these are disposable stereotypical slasher fodder-types, but not a single one of them is appealing in any way. These highly unlikeable characters aren’t helped any by dialogue that is obnoxious, grating and that offends on a whole host of levels.
Varsity Blood is a film that has a premise that feels at least two decades too late, although even if it was released in the '80s or '90s it would still be a dull, draining and soulless experience that is trying to pass itself off as an actual movie. Helgren’s story is nowhere near strong enough to maintain your attention, the film’s gore isn’t plentiful enough to appeal to horror fans who dig the splatter, and you have literally nobody to root for. As well as a bunch of victims that you’re happy to see offed, Varsity Blood doesn’t give you a strong killer either. There’s a kill in the opening scene, then there’s not even a sniff of danger until a further 45 minutes into the movie’s 80 minute running time.
If you like cocksure jocks, bitchy sluts, and horror-less horror films, this effort may be for you. For the rest of us, Varsity Blood is a genuine struggle to watch. The only slightly redeeming feature is Troma vet Debbie Rochon, who does well as the mother of Lexi Giovagnoli’s lead girl Hannah. When all is said and done, Varsity Blood churns out a formulaic effort that not even the biggest fans of the slasher subgenre will enjoy. The only thing equal to the struggle of watching the film in its entirety is trying to think of a movie in recent memory that has been quite so bad.