Paintball Massacre Movie Review
Written by Joel Harley
Released by 4Digital Media
Directed by Darren Berry
Written by Chris Regan
2020, 92 minutes, Rated 15
DVD released on April 5th 2021
Katy Brand as Marshal Shelly
Lee Latchford-Evans as Nathan Brown
Cheryl Burniston as Jessica Bentley
Robert Portal as Marshal Eddie
Old classmates attending a school reunion take off to the woods for a friendly paintball match. Suddenly - tragedy! - things go terribly wrong when they learn of a killer in their midst. Jessica (Cheryl Burniston) doesn’t even want to be there, forced into a fight for survival against pro-paintballers and a murderous psychopath. Only the killer is firing more than just paintballs. From For Sale signage to industrial excavators, this one has more gimmicks than most slasher villains acquire in a whole franchise. But who is it that's killing off the old friends, one by one? Jessica's absentee fiancee, or the kid they used to bully at school? In this case, it's not always better the devil you know...
Thankfully for reluctant player Jessica, the paintballing part of Paintball Massacre is over and done with by the thirty-minute mark. At this point, the paintball guns become largely decorative, and it turns into a traditional stalk-and-slash in the woods. Paintball Massacre does for paintball what Jason Takes Manhattan did for Manhattan; fun while it lasts, but not the real focus of the movie. Darren Berry’s comedy horror film is far more interested in laddish banter and very British swearing than high-concept action sequences. It’s the sort of British horror film Danny Dyer would have made during his early noughties genre phase (see also: the underrated Severance).
With Dyer currently propping up the Queen Vic, Berry populates the film with a vast array of cockney wide-boys and even wider girls. Oh, and comedienne Katy Brand and Lee from Steps. While Katy Brand delivers largely what one might expect from Katy Brand, Lee Latchford-Evans is the film’s biggest surprise, stealing the show as nerdy Nathan. The cast largely irritate, but Latchford-Evans and Burniston prevent it from getting too bogged down by childish banter. Writer Chris Regan’s characters are well-drawn, but the writing confuses swearing for wit, and is too one-note to be funny (its brilliant 2 Fast 2 Furious asides, uh, aside).
Unfortunately, it’s not particularly horrible or scary either. The splatter is too restrained for its own good, the shocks too reliant on cliché to be surprising. Most of the death sequences occur offscreen, and its big gore gags are telegraphed well in advance. Anyone who’s played paintball will know that you have to get up close and personal to inflict any real damage, and this one simply lacks the balls for it.
Like a game of paintball, Paintball Massacre is colourful fun, but it’s a waste of time – ultimately toothless and tame, in spite of its macho posturing.
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