GHASTLIES * Canada 2016 Dir: Brett Kelly. 75 mins
After a prologue featuring a sacrificial ritual interrupted by an alien invasion, a quartet of ageing sorority sisters (average age: 35) prepare for a weekend getaway to a cabin in the woods. The characters are familiar archetypes (a bitchy one, a dorky one, etc.) and one is introduced performing aerobics accompanied by music on a cassette player. The girls banter about periods, boys and beach bodies, some dopey guys show up and a “found” video tape warns about aliens preparing to take over the planet “just like they said in sci-fi magazines”. Naturally, the girls end up harassed by a trio of giggling alien puppet creatures who appear to be on loan from low-budget childrens’ TV with their multiple eyes, garish colours and cartoonish sound effects. Another movie that mistakes being merely naff for hilarity, this fizzled horror comedy from the director of RAIDERS OF THE LOST SHARK fails to find any real humour in its protagonists, so relies on cutaways to a silly couple across the way moaning about “damn college kids” and lots of self-conscious dialogue (“Who goes there?”). The characters are obnoxious, the nudity is unwelcome and it moves at a remarkably slow pace for something that barely scrapes an hour and a quarter. Even the inevitable coitus-interruptus moment is fudged. Among the heavy handed 80’s homages is a parody of Phoebe Cates’ justifiably famous “Why I hate Christmas” speech from GREMLINS.
Review by Steven West