Friday, November 16, 2012

One A Week Reviews #46: Shredder

I know I saw a trailer for this in the theater but I don't recall it ever actually coming out. After finally watching Shredder, I'm surprised even that trailer didn't go straight to video. Evidently, there must've been some culture war of skiers versus snowboarders going on a decade ago, and this is it's ugly byproduct.

Starring the voice of Aladdin, a gal from Guiding Light, and a buncha kids I've never heard of, this is a slasher for the snowboarding set. At least the killer has a decent motive for a change: bad manners. Right from the beginning, he's taking people out because they show bad etiquette on the slopes. We even get cutaways to the posted rules and regs to let us know what's a no-no. This sort of moralizing is more Serial Mom and Student Bodies than it is the basis for a real slasher flick.

We follow up a decapitated snowboarder with a nudity-free shower scene with a "killer's perspective" angle. Stealing from Halloween, The Funhouse, and Psycho, at five minutes in this film is stating "I am derivative crap." Our aforementioned "buncha" head up to a closed ski resort to shtup, drink, and "Shred." By 9 minutes in, even with a moment of "Girls Gone Wild"-type behavior that, while wasted on me, should still spark things up a bit, I had pretty much checked out. As these kids, who make the random counselors in a Friday the 13th seem like fully-fleshed out character studies, continue to drive through some admittedly beautiful Pacific northwest-type environs, I decided I wasn't going to bother to learn anyone's names.

This is one of those tongue-in-cheek "humorous" slasher flicks. Shovel-foreheaded Scott Weinger grew up to vaguely resemble Wings Hauser, and when they arrive at the camp has to go through a bunch of comic methods to get the chain off the gates (including torching it with a road flare). This is intercut with scenes of the pouty, unfaithful girlfriend in the front seat, and a couple of snowboarders, all scored to a song with the recognizable chorus "I wanna get laid."

(More reasons why you can read this review and never watch this flick, after the break...)

A prelude to a) murder, b) anal, or c) both
Quickly, the fully-black-clad skier who decapitated a 'boarder in the opening of the film shows up, and starts taking out our snowbound cabin-in-the-woods kids. In fact, every detour from this, be it the kids detour to a ridiculously ominous bar (where everyone's a plot-exposition-dropping "Crazy Ralph" type) to the visit from the "It's not safe up here with the murders and all" Sheriff - is downright torturous. The Sheriff, (who's quickly distracted by a girl in a bra) even accepts a bribe and gropes a gal on video camera - practically insuring they'd never get arrested.

There was some girl, a Jasonetta Voorhees, who was chased to her death by a pack of no-goodnik snowboarders at this lodge, so now someone must kill off all these dumbass teens. I'm all for having a good time when on vacation, but don't be such a one-dimensional movie stereotype character when you're doing so, okay? There's some red herring characters and plot contrivances, which doesn't much matter. There's a tortured mystery with the dead girl and it quickly becomes clear the slutty girlfriend and European hitchhiker have a subplot going on. The killing starts up soon enough, though this is a shame, since most of the killing gets done off-screen. Even an Eighties slasher usually showed us the weapon in the body, not some cut away to, say, shaking hands while it's implied the character's getting skewered outside the frame. There is one good good in-the-frame bit later in the film though - in fact, it's the best part of the movie - where the killer makes a shish-kebab of a door and a decapitated head while trying to do in the lead skank. Catch this scene and skip the rest.

The characters do start dropping. The Sheriff gets done in outside the frame. There's a stoner who gets done in with an icicle while muttering "Karma... bad" and his board gets hacked up with an axe. The good time gal shares a ski-lift with the killer and nearly gets it but she goes and chucks him off for trying to get her to follow the ski rules. He gets his revenge though, using her own scarf to hang her with. The faux-Eurotrash gets a snow shovel to his (admittedly purdy) puss. The dork who never puts down his video camera gets a ski pole through it and his head, but only after righteously pointing out it's an unacceptable breaking of rules as he's still a virgin. Skanky girlfriend gets skewered, but helpfully still finds time to put her man down. The tomboy chick gets it in an unspecified way... but this'll be more important later on.

In the end our lead must lure out the killer by pointing out just what an irresponsible shovel-headed douche he is. It's not the wisest choice as he winds up a sitting duck on the ski lift. There's a red herring killer in the Crazy Ralph guy, who loses his head in a wire decapitation just like in the beginning. real killer (yeah, I'll spoil this, you don't need to be wasting time watching it anyhow) turns out to be his hot daughter. She gets done in with a giant snowplow when tomboy chick comes back to save the day and prover her previously questioned heterosexuality with the lead.

How they explain coming into town and killing off their friends and a couple of locals before leaving isn't touched on.

Oy, at least these kids drink some decent beer, with some front-and-center Sierra Nevada product placement action. This is such a throwback that if it didn't include the recent (for 2003) craze of snowboarding, I'd assume this was shot in the 80's then left on the shelf for 15 years. The low production values don't help either. They exploit the ski lift, lodge, and snowy vistas, then plug in a scene of hot-tub exposition that clearly was shot in someone's backyard.  From what I understand this "slasher of the ski lodge" idea is explored to better effect by a more recent movie, Cold Prey. I'll have to do the old compare-and-contrast and get back to you. Surely they can't run the winter-sports-related crap into the ground as heavily as this flick does.

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