REVIEW: 4/20 Massacre
– By MovieCritic NextDoor
A lot of people may not realize that even in states like Colorado where marijuana is legal there are still plenty of restrictions as to how it can be used, who can grow it, and how much they can grow. So even in California they have what are called ‘guerrilla growers’, who plant and tend their crops in various hidden spots, keeping well off the beaten paths and sometimes even acting violently to protect their crops. I know, this isn’t the sort of thing you expect from a movie reviewer, but I am going somewhere with this — it’s all useful background information for watching 4/20 Massacre.
The action centers around a camping area in a state forest in California at a place called Higgins Creek. There’s some gorgeous scenery, but the real attraction for Buddy (Mark Schroeder) and Dug (Drew Talbert) is one very specific kind of green and leafy plant, which they happily steal. When trouble strikes, their take ends up in the hands of a group of campers. Jess (Jamie Bernadette) and Aubrey (Vanessa Rose Parker) visited the forest often as kids and now they’re back with three friends for a birthday camping trip for Jess.
Rachel (Justine Wachsberger) is hoping to get closer to co-worker Michelle (Marissa Pistone), who she invited along, just as Aubrey, who’s always had a crush on Jess, is hoping to tell her how she feels at last. Donna (Stacey Danger) wants to celebrate a different way since Jess’s birthday happens to fall on 4/20, so Donna has her own stash of the green stuff. But apparently the crop grown in these woods is much better, really prime stuff, and Donna plans to smoke her way through as much as possible over the weekend.
But Ranger Rick (Jim Storm) — and yes, he asks to be called that — is keeping a close eye on the campers since he seems to believe there’s a lot of trouble in the woods that they might stumble into. The guerrilla growers around there can be mean, he says, and it’s a bad idea to get in their way. But even the biggest state forest can be awfully small sometimes and it isn’t long before everyone starts colliding in the worst and most gruesome ways.
And gruesome is the word for many of the scenes as the body count rises, and I’m not entirely sure it’s physically possible to kill people in some of those ways. I tried not to look too closely. But while it’s a standard slasher movie in many ways, it also has well-developed characters that (shockingly) are mostly sensible, and the antagonist, while formidable, doesn’t have the usual slasher movie ability to do and survive absolutely anything, which was refreshing. I’m not usually one for the over-the-top gore, but despite that I found the movie enjoyable and, yes, even funny. It’s a weirdly, wildly entertaining take on the counter-culture with a satisfying ending and a final scene that made me laugh out loud. You may never look at 4/20 the same way again.