Directed by: Colin James
Written by: Colin James
Genre: Campy horror, Comedy
Length: 17.5 minutes
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It's really hard to believe that what "Birthday Bash" tries to copy was once 'not' done to be funny, but with the intention of being scary. There are titles that alongside "Birthday Bash" would look right at home, even though they were censored or outright banned for being overly graphic. Take the original couple "Friday the 13th" films, "Sleepaway Camp" or even "Slumber Party Massacre" as examples. These titles were meant to be scary, and maybe at the time were, but now are laughable. Now realize that many people 'love' watching these classics simply for shits and giggles. Nostalgia is a powerful thing, but for those that can actually sit through one of these classic titles in today's world, "Birthday Bash" is for you. Everything you remember has been thought of, and crammed into this sixteen plus minute short film; that attempts to pay tribute to the old school slasher flick. But are you really ready for this? Sometimes a memory should be left alone. Don't believe me? Just go back and watch some of your old favorite splatterfest movies. They're probably not as cool as you remember them being. Unless however, you're one of "those" people. Those people who know exactly what they're getting into, and love every second of it. For this group, writer/director Colin James and his cast of merry men and women may just hit pay dirt. Nostalgia is a powerful thing, and playing on peoples thirst for all things from their youth is a fun little gamble. Myself? I'm somewhere in the middle. No doubt I love giggling at an 80s splatter film, but the sensation only lasts a short time. Having "Birthday Bash" as a short film was the right call in my eyes. Long enough to trigger those old feelings, short enough not to kill me with camp.
So what's the deal you ask? The story is simple. It's Jennifer's (Shay Guthrie) birthday. Being the popular girl in school, the one we love to hate, things are 'expected' to go perfectly. If they don't, there will be hell to pay. Natalie (Carla Duval) and her cousin Kristin (Mallory Roach) are in attendance. Natalie being the required nerdy type and Kristin, as luck would have it, the out of town girl who wonders just what her cousin sees in these people. She's completely on point considering the personalities of everyone else who showed up. The character profiles for this type of film are spot on. You know the crowd almost right away and begin the death countdown. Most of these people deserve what they get right? This isn't real life, it's a movie. Game on! Things go as expected and people start to drop off. You know the story here ladies and gentlemen, so the success of "Birthday Bash" comes down to presentation alone. Are the characters cliche and hokey enough? Yup. Is there blood and gore? You bettcha. Are your ears going to be bombarded with a synth-y backing track? Hell ya! Truth be told? Colin James does manage to pull it off. This title looks like it came out of the 1980s! Maybe a little crisp for the movies of the time, but the sensation remains intact. Quick. Bloody and yes - funny in a cheap kind of way.
So when the time comes, and you're in the mood for a classic horror and gore flick, "Birthday Bash" may be just the ticket. It's not a serious thing, rather a fun time. Perhaps the real joke is just how popular these titles were back in the day. Maybe the bigger joke is the amount of people who 'still' love this questionable genre. It all comes to personal taste. You're either going to love it or not get it at all. For what it is, "Birthday Bash" was a fun little title to take in. Favorite prop? The Chia Mr. T for sure.