WrestleMassacre is a badly booked horror film with a wrestling theme. It takes the film 85 minutes into its 100-minute run time to be the insane over the top wrestling horror extravaganza it should have been all along.
Those final 15 minutes feel like a pay per view with an all-time terrible undercard that’s mostly forgotten by a ridiculously entertaining main event. For modern wrestling fans the film is like watching a WWE Network Special and then someone turns to AEW for the main event.
Getting there is a real struggle though.
Screenwriters Matthew Furman and Director Brad Twigg try to do more than just have a psycho wrestling fan kill a bunch of people Jason Voorhies style. This was a mistake.
Instead of leaning heavy on either the wrestling or massacre aspects they focus on an extremely lame plot about a preppy dude trying to settle a debt with a loan shark.
They try to make the script funny, but most jokes land like a thud to the ring apron. Not surprisingly, the script works best when Twigg and Furman throw out random wrestling references. Most of bad guys are named after 80s era mainstream stars.
Groundskeeper Randy (Richie Acevedo) wants to make something of himself after a lifetime of being humiliated by everyone he encounters. Inspired by a TV commercial, Randy enrolls in a wrestling school only to get embarrassed once again.
Humbled and with no chance to win over his crush Becky (Rosanna Nelson), Randy makes a deal with a demon to create a massive body count so long as he gets to be infamous.
Like a lot of low-budget films, WrestleMassacre can’t afford quality actors. Most of the cast seems like this is their first role and in lieu of a script are just told to wing it.
The results are predictably terrible as this crew is not suited for ad libbing or able to stay in character through some of the scenes. Most of the “script” is awful, but the cast makes it worse. The biggest offender is Julio Bana Fernandez, who also contributed to the script. His performance is abysmal. Hopeful his script contributions came in the latter part of the film to justify his involvement.
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WrestleMassacre might lure some viewers in with cameos from old school wrestling stars like Jimmy Valiant, Tony Atlas, The Sandman, the late Nikolai Volkoff and Rene Dupree.
I’ve got a soft spot for these old school wrestlers but it’s probably not a good sign when they’re the best performers. Valiant basically cuts a basic wrestling promo, but in five minutes he shows more believability and charisma than the rest of the cast.
It doesn’t help that the script makes no sense going from randomly connected scene to the next. That gets worse midway through as Randy starts going on his murder spree and no one seems to care.
Twigg and Furman don’t suggest the police are even looking for a nutjob in tights peeling away people’s faces — and other body parts — or that anyone is missing these massacred victims. This is the kind of thing that would not go unnoticed in a small town.
The sound is shaky with the levels fading in and out from one edit to the next. Editing overall is choppy and slapped together with disjointed transitions.
Twigg doesn’t miss any opportunity to randomly throw in some female full frontal nudity. There’s no effort to make it alluring or sensual and is just portrayed in a sleazy, skeevy manner as if the internet doesn’t exist.
At least the action scenes are well done with some impressive commitment to going as gory as possible. The killings play out too slowly, but the effect work is exemplary given the budget.
Acevedo benefits the most from the final act as he goes all in with the carnage and wrestling-focused kills.
Twigg deserves a little credit for throwing in actual wrestling moves during some of the death sequences complete with bad puns. If more of WrestleMassacre focused on this aspect instead of the boring plot and lousy acting this could have been as fun as the premise.
The first three-quarters of the film are some of the worst I’ve seen this year. WrestleMassacre is best viewed highly distracted early on until the very enjoyable finale act. It’s not enough to salvage the experience but is entertaining enough in the end to make the time invest moderately worthwhile.
Rating: 4 out of 10
Photo Credit: Wild Eye Releasing