Friday, October 5, 2012

Sweet Sixteen

Sexy jailbait Melissa (who even has her own theme song!) moves into a new town shortly before her 16th birthday. But soon after her arrival, some of the locals who have crossed paths with her start turning up dead. Could this young girl have something to do with the murders?

Poised somewhere between classic murder mystery/thriller and tawdry slasher, Sweet Sixteen doesn't really succeed as either. The mystery is a non-starter that trudges it's way along to an arbitrary solution, building no suspense along the way. It's just another generic whodunit that climaxes with the umpeenth thousandth riff on Psycho. As far as the trash goes, the lead actress does get naked a few times, and that was appreciated (I feel fairly certain she was much older than 16 at the time). The violence, however, is completely unimaginative, which is a big problem considering it tends to come out of nowhere without much of an attempt at buildup/suspense. It has the kind of kills where all you see is poorly lit extreme closeup of a knife going into a shirt repeatedly.

I have certain affection for the low-budget early 80's slasher movie aesthetic. There's a certain spooky, offbeat vibe to it that taps into a primal part of my brain. Sometimes it was done deliberately, but more often it was just an accidental side effect of the cheapness, but either way it kinda works for me. Yet whatever mild mojo this one manages to summon, there's just not much here for me to recommend. Two of the main characters, the teenaged son and daughter of the town sheriff, have a goofy, teasing repartee that rings true, and they brighten up the scenes they are in. Otherwise, this is as uninspired as these things come, if not as horribly unwatchable as the bottom of the barrel.

Rating: D

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