A contender for the “Could Be Woise” prize among this year’s dogs of late summer, “Jersey Shore Massacre” is a kinda-sorta comedy slasher faintly affiliated (via exec producer JWoww) to MTV’s popular reality skein. Several beneficiaries of silicone and steroid enhancement hook up for a fatal party weekend in this knucklehead exercise, which is somewhat better crafted than it is written or acted. It has a few more brain cells than, say, “Zombie Strippers”; too bad they’re mostly owned by the tech contributors. Still, as willfully lowbrow dumb fun goes, it’s pretty painless. Home-format prospects will rapidly outpace any theatrical hopes in the pic’s multi-platform release Aug. 22.
After a de rigueur bloody prologue, we’re introduced to the central bimbette sextet, half of whom are employed at Brooklyn’s Touch of Class hair salon with the inevitable mincing-gay-stereotype figure. Teaming up with three pals, they head off for an all-girls’ beach weekend that’s briefly delayed when it turns out their rental house has been double-rented by pothead landlord Ron Jeremy (always a guarantor of quality cinema). Fortunately, somebody has an “Uncle Vito” whose nearby luxe cabin in the woods lies empty while he’s under house arrest for, uh, “being Italian.”
Once ensconced in this handsome abode, the principals promptly get bored, traipsing back to the shore, where they pick up a matching set of what the press materials aptly dub “obnoxious fist-pumpers.” All are promptly thrown out of a local club, repairing back to Chez Vito, where they rapidly pair off and get pared down by an elusive hairy assailant.
It’s not until the pic reaches the 50-minute mark that there’s any gore, and then Cat Bernier’s f/x are rather too gruesome, taking way too much pleasure in graphic breast gouging and such for such a deliberately silly film. Hectic progress may occasionally seem uncertain whether it’s “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” for real or for foolin’, but it’s nonetheless shot and edited with more care than the very random screenplay required.
By the end, “Jersey Shore Massacre” has become a more straightforward horror movie than its cheaply farcical buildup suggests, though that shift seems more a matter of haphazard accident than design. Passing satirical nods to Vanilla Ice, “Final Destination” and “Friday the 13th” feel like arbitrary whims, while meaningful early references to the Jersey Devil legend — far more usefully deployed in Dante Tomaselli’s little-seen 2006 surreal horror-thriller “Satan’s Playground” — go nowhere.
Beyond JWoww lending her personal prestige as executive producer, the feature (publicized as “JWoww’s Jersey Shore Massacre”) appears to have scant connection to actual “Jersey Shore” personnel. Whether we should be grateful or not is open to debate.
Traitorously, the pic was partly shot in Florida.