Saturday, July 24, 2010

[Review] Bloody Birthday

A 1970-set prologue starts the film off vaguely, but ominously, as three babies are born during a solar eclipse. Flash forward ten years later to a dark cemetery where a young couple are getting hot and heavy, unaware that the evil kiddies are lurking about in the shadows. Taking precautions so they don't get caught, the dumb couple  decide to jump into an open grave to ensure privacy and soon enough are dispatched by a shovel to the face and jump rope strangulation.

After the bodies are found, along with a handle from the jump rope, the suspicious town Sheriff interrogates a classroom full of kids and asks if anyone knows what the word "murder" means. One of the kids replies that it's when people get killed, "like on TV." Another whispers to a friend, "What does he think we are, babies?"

Children are far more intelligent than we give them credit for and certainly cunning enough to get away with murder, but do they really understand what murder is? Do they understand the seriousness and finality that comes with it? Intelligent, but not untouched by the innocence of age, children have the ability to be quite dangerous when you really think about it, and Bloody Birthday surely knows it.

When classmate Timmy Russel stumbles upon the killer tykes after taking another victim, he isn't too quick to believe them when they try to pass it off as an accidental death that they had nothing to do with. This of course means that poor little Timmy needs to be "silenced" before he decides to be a tattletale. Even his older sister Joyce ends up on their hit list when she begins to notice their odd behavior and uses astrology to back up her claims. You see, because there was an eclipse the day they were born, both the sun and the moon were blocking Saturn, which just so happens to be the planet that controls our emotions. So according to the laws of astrology, these three kids were born as apathetic a-holes.

...Or something.

Okay, so this whole astrology thing doesn't really make any sense. I don't get why they even felt the need to include it in the first place. Like I stated earlier, children are pretty effing creepy on their own, so explaining away their murderous tendencies with some vague astrological bullcrap seems fairly redundant. It was a mistake, for sure, but a forgivable one.

The casting choices for the three evil children couldn't have been better. Debbie is obviously the mastermind of the group and actress Elizabeth Hoy does a wonderful job making her stand out as a malicious leader who even I wouldn't dare mess with. She looks like a sweet little angel one minute, then a devil the next, all the while staying collected and authoritative as she carries out her bloody work.

The other two children, who seem sort of like her henchmen, work well in their own regard. Curtis (played by Billy Jacoby, little brother of Bad Ronald's Scott Jacoby) is especially irritating, coming off as a bit too blood-hungry, reckless and somewhat uncontrollable. He's the kind of bratty kid who actually enjoys being a jerk and I could barely stand him.

With really nothing new to offer, Bloody Birthday can't exactly be considered a great slasher. The astrology stuff is pretty lame and it does borrow a bit from Halloween (as most 80's horror movies did), but when you're watching a movie about killer children, any and all flaws suddenly don't seem to matter much. Acting as thought it were all just a fun game to pass the time, these children were actually somewhat creepy at times as they slashed their way through the town, trying to make Joyce and Timmy their latest victims. Bloody Birthday may not be perfect, but it's a surprisingly well made movie that's far more entertaining than it should be, keeping the pace moving briskly with fun action and thrills, and I absolutely loved the living crap out of it.

I guess my love for this movie is just like the power children have over adults. No matter how bratty or evil, even if they're killing people, you'd say "Oh, they're just kids! It's not their fault! They don't know any better!" And you'd love them anyway and they would get away with it, squeaky clean.

Bloody Birthday totally gets away with it.

And I'm not gonna lie...it may have helped that Beverly was played by Julie Brown and spent a good five minutes dancing around to a super groovy song while wearing nothing but a boa.




RATING:


1 comment:

Thomas Duke said...

Jacoby and the evil blonde girl both showed up in the beginning of Hospital Massacre the next year, although Jacoby was stalking her instead of them being a team. They should have carved careers as children doing inappropriate stuff in slasher films of the 80's, but I guess it wasn't meant to be. I