There is always a risk in titling your film in a way that prompts easy review. Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s Superbad is a clear example, so with Wtf! co-writer and director Peter Herro has offered up an obvious, easy, lazy joke. Rest assured, here at Starburst we pride ourselves on rising above the obvious, easy and lazy. Promise.
The thing is, the title in many ways distracts from what is an enjoyable, if largely tongue-in-cheek, entry into the slasher genre. The premise is simple: several largely unlikeable teens head off to a remote cabin in the woods – where (in)conveniently there is no Wi-Fi or phone signal - for some spring break fun and frolics, and slowly they are picked off in a series of inventive ways by an unknown assailant. All pretty formulaic, but there is a fun element to Wtf! that is missing, or simply forgotten about, in so many similarly themed films.
Firstly, there are the teens themselves. Yes, they are irritating but they are caricatured to such a point as to be unbelievable. Joker, jock, slut and prude; they’re all here, but portrayed in such a way as to almost make Wtf! feel like a spoof; a self-parody masquerading as a serious horror film. Then there are the murders. A removed testicle here, a flambéed face there; Wtf! contains a nice line in originality that is both funny and moderately scary.
The problem is that the script doesn’t contain enough depth to sustain a feature length film. The gags begin to become a little tedious, and the characters, while interesting at first, lose their appeal the umpteenth time they conform to the same stereotypical responses. The final act is intriguing, in that it plays out in a manner you might not expect, but it isn’t enough to salvage the film from becoming just too generic.
As cheeky Friday night fare, with a few friends, a pizza on order and a beverage or two, Wtf! is undoubtedly entertaining and worth checking out. But if you partake in one too many of said beverages, and you struggle to remember just what happened in the film the following morning, worry not. For sober or otherwise, this is not a film to live long in the memory.
WTF! / CERT: 18 / DIRECTOR: PETER HERRO / SCREENPLAY: ADAM BUCHALTER, PETER HERRO, CHRISTOPHER LAWRENCE CENTANNI / STARRING: CALLIE OTT, NICHOLAS JAMES REILLY, ANDREA HUNT / RELEASE DATE: 1ST AUGUST