Think back to when you were in high school. Was there ever a time that you just wanted to ditch class? Or maybe your friend convinced you it was a great idea to skip? Exactly. And this is the same situation we see our protagonist Jenny Bilson facing. She’s a senior in high school and working really hard to keep her grades up so she can get into a good college. The day her parents leave town to attend her father’s law enforcement-related conference is a great day to play a little hooky, as convinced by her boyfriend. She’s been pretty wound up, and only alcohol and the company of some good friends can truly help her relax a little. Right?
Unfortunately for her, the title of the movie alone tells us this ditch day is going to be anything but relaxing. Without revealing major plot spoilers the kids are faced not only with the challenges of perfecting beer chugging and spin the bottle, but saving themselves from the murderous rage of a mad man bent on revenge. Bill Oberst Jr. plays the aforementioned mad man (Vick) and out of all the cast in this film, truly nails his role. From the opening scene until his final moment in the film he never once gives off any other vibe than seriously creepy and seriously pissed. He even takes out a poor lonely housewife who offered him coffee and a good time. How evil. The rest of the cast and crew have their own moments, but lack of overall character development does not allow them to steal the film from the antagonist.
Although several of the scenes are slow and could have been utilized better to further the story or build characters, the practical gore effects are fantastic. This is one incredibly bloody movie and if you were worried about not seeing it all? Fear not. Every gut ripping axe-wielded moment culminates in a serious amount of fake blood and brilliantly placed appliances. Kudos to the effects team on this one, even I cringed a bit.
For what it’s worth if you’re looking to catch a film that does a decent job at homaging 80’s slasher films and are willing to sit patiently through a few slow moments and some iffy acting? Ditch Day Massacre should absolutely be on your list. It delivers a great moral message (surprisingly enough) and also reminds you of the good old times when 90% of a movie could be filmed in one area and still manages to be creepy as hell.